Answers to Thermidor Fun Facts game (June 14 – July 28, 2014)
minus 1-5: excellent!
minus 6-10: good job
minus 11-20: not bad
minus 21-43: keep reading!
1. d. Adultery. Although guilty of many other acts, Robespierre Sr. seems to have been a faithful husband. The misdeeds of Maximilien-Barthélémy-François de Robespierre (1732-77) are recounted in Max Gallo, Robespierre: Histoire d’une solitude (repr. 1994), pp. 29-31.
2. b. Pillow (because he was prone to nose bleeds). Robespierre’s biographer Ruth Scurr notes a servant’s claim that “every night he bathed his pillow in blood” and explains: “Perhaps Robespierre had nosebleeds (people with high blood pressure and fiery tempers often do). These certainly would have left him anemic and contributed to the unusual pallor of his skin that many contemporaries noted” (Scurr, Fatal Purity, 2006), p. 112.
3. c. Sister Charlotte Robespierre (1760-1834) was author of Mémoires de Charlotte Robespierre sur ses deux frères (1835).
4. True. His concerns were outnumbered by colleagues in the Convention; his proposal did not make it into the law.
5. d. Snake, as in La Queue de Robespierre (1794). See Baczko, Comment sortir de la Terreur or Douthwaite, Frankenstein of 1790, ch. 4.
6. b. Mme de Genlis, author of Adèle et Théodore and many other edifying tales, dramaturgy, novels, and memoirs. See Lesley Walker, A Mother’s Love.
7. a. A mob invaded the Tuileries palace on June 20, 1792.
8. d. The orator Georges-Jacques Danton does not feature in La Nuit de Varennes. He is played by Gérard Depardieu in the 1983 film, Danton, by Andrzej Wajda.
9. b. The two “reigns of Terror” in religious history were 1792-94 and 1797-98, as detailed in Aston’s book and Victor Pierre, La Terreur sous le Directoire. Histoire de la persécution politique et religieuse après le coup d’état du 18 fructidor (7 septembre 1797). (Retaux-Bray, 1887). Other historians, however, speak of the “White Terror” (Terreur blanche) which erupted in spring 1795, especially in the South-East, and which incited royalist gangs to attack Jacobins or those associated with Jacobinism.
10. b. It is Charles-Henri Sanson, the Royal Executioner of France during the reign of King Louis XVI and High Executioner of the First French Republic, and he seeks atonement for regicide in Balzac’s story.
11. d. All of the above. The Constitution was the ushered through the legislative process by the Montagnards and by popular referendum under the First Republic.
12. b. Lobster Thermidor, a dish consisting of a creamy mixture of cooked lobster meat, egg yolks, and brandy (often cognac), stuffed into a lobster shell. Lobster Thermidor was created in 1894 by Marie’s, a Parisian restaurant near the Theatre Comédie Française, to honor the opening of the play Thermidor by Victorien Sardou. Due to the expensive and extensive preparation involved, Lobster Thermidor is usually considered a recipe primarily for special occasions (or the 1%).
13. c. Georges-Jacques Danton spoke those words.
14. c. Fructidor is the twelfth month of the republican calendar; it means “fruit” and “present or gift.”
15. b. General Napoléon Bonaparte pulled off a successful coup d’état on the day known as Brumaire. Brumaire is the second month of the republican calendar; it comes from the French word brume or fog.
16. a. In February 1793, the revolutionary government declared war against England and Holland; in March 1793 the war was also directed against Spain. (War had already been declared against Austria in April 1792).
17. d. hot. The earth was too hot to tread upon, according to Wordsworth in Book Nine of The Prelude (1804).
18. c. Thomas Paine (born English, naturalized American). A decree was passed at the end of 1793 excluding foreigners from their places in the Convention; Paine was thus arrested and imprisoned in December 1793. A chalk mark, supposed to be left by the jailer to denote that the prisoner in this cell was to be collected for execution, was left on the inside of his door, rather than the outside, as the door happened to be open. But for this quirk of fate, he would have died the following morning. He was finally released in November 1794.
19. a. The marquis de Sade, Justine, was allegedly a favorite book of the Committee members, due to its graphic portrayal of violence against innocent victims.
20. a. In May 1794, a young woman named Cécile Renault was caught near Robespierre’s dwelling with two knives in her possession. She was executed a month later.
21. e. all of the above. Vive l’amitié franco-américaine!
22. d. “Les cheveux à la Titus. Women who were wore this style were considered quite bold. Source: L’Art et les artifices de la beauté, 6 ed. (Paris: Uzanne, Octave, 1902), 88.
23. b. D. W. Griffith in Orphans of the Storm (1921). Two thumbs up for that film!
24. a. started hugging and kissing each other, thus Le baiser Lamourette, featured in Robert Darnton’s classic book, Kiss of Lamourette (1989).
25. d. Madame Roland said those famous words.
26. d. poisoning their bodies with intravenous injections of chemicals. To be technical, b. is also correct: chopping off their heads with repeated blows of an ax. I confused French with English methods here. As Susanne Alleyn notes in her comment, the executioner in France had victims kneel and sliced off their heads with a sword, instead of using axes as in England. (Bungling did happen, however, with both methods.) Thanks to Susanne for the keen attention to detail that makes A Revolution in Fiction so much fun! “Thermidor Fun Fact Day Twenty-Six: The Humanity of the Guillotine” (7/09/14).
27. e. all of the above
28. b. great anxiety and concern. This was outrageous, and dangerous for the country! Necker’s dismissal on 11 July 1789–provoked by his decision not to attend Louis XVI’s speech to the Estates-General–made the people of France very angry. Soon rumors spread that the king meant to attack Paris or arrest the deputies. This tumult eventually provoked the storming of the Bastille on 14 July. The king recalled Necker on 19 July.
29. c. Toussaint Louverture
30. d. absent; Charlotte Corday is not seen in David’s painting.
American trivia Bastille Day quiz. Answers published at the bottom of the quiz on July 14, 2014.
31. a. Victor Hugo in Les Misérables (1862). The quote is by Bertrand Barère (de Vieuzac), presented on 23 messidor An II (July 11, 1794).
32. b. the king’s confessor, the Irish non-juror priest Abbé Edgeworth, is one of the co-narrators of Le Cimetière de la Madeleine.
33. c. the Chapelle Expiatoire is on the site of the original Madeleine Cemetery.
34. d. 1832 is the date of the revolution in Hugo’s Les Misérables; he witnessed the killing in person and called it “a folly drowned in blood.” 800 people died or were wounded during the June uprising.
35. a. Leïla Sebbar, Le Pays de ma mère: Voyage en Frances [sic](Bleu autour, 2013); illus. Sébastien Pignon. This is in Sebbar’s chapter on “La République,” pp. 16-21. It is a bewildering (or uncoherent) chapter. On the one hand, Sebbar takes a militant stance about women’s rights; on the other hand her book features pen and ink drawings of nude women wearing the bonnet rouge of the Republic but displayed with legs wide open, in ways that utterly lack dignity. What was she thinking?! Sebbar is describing the life of young Muslim girls in France here, and she ends on an equivocal point:
“Les grandes sœurs sont musulmanes, elles le disent, elles ne sont ni putes ni soumises, elles sont françaises, elles défendent la République laïque française.
Que diront les héritières aux jeunes filles au hijab?
Elles diront que la liberté n’est pas négociable,” 20.
36. b. “Oublier n’est pas pardonner.” Not intended to suggest that Baudelaire was royalist, just an interesting echo of an emotion in the air.
37. d. At Quiberon, along the Côte sauvage of Brittany.
38.. b. Victor Hugo, Les Misérables. This image is found in Book II, Cosette, 1, Waterloo, chapter XVII.”Faut-il trouver bon Waterloo? / Should We Approve of Waterloo?”
39. c. Marie-Thérèse (born 1778), who became la Duchesse d’Angoulême by marrying her cousin who was the son of le Comte d’Artois. For twenty minutes in 1830, she was Queen of France, and her tombstone reflects that fact by calling her “Reine douairière.”
40. a. they were the same person. The Comtesse allegedly replaced Marie-Thérèse, who suffered from nerves, at the public life in the court of King Louis XVIII.
41. c. Jules Michelet (1798-1874). Michelet was born in the disused chapel formerly owned by the sisters (religieuses) de Saint-Chaumont, on the rue de Tracy near Saint-Denis (Paris 1e-2e).
42. d. Shades (les mânes) are not usually seen to wear a pointed beard, a black beret, or to be smoking a Gauloise. That would be existentialists.
* See Schechter’s essay in Martyrdom and Terrorism, ed. Dominic Janes and Alex Houen (Oxford, 2014), pp. 152-178.
43. a. Robespierre was born on May 6, 1758, and so in July 1794 he was 36 years old at death.
44. July 28. THE DAY KNOWN AS THERMIDOR! Answer to Thermidor Fun Facts! END OF ARTICLE. (whew! what was I thinking?!)
Hope you enjoyed it!