Welcome to the eighth annual Bastille Day Quiz of “A Revolution in Fiction”! (published a bit early because we all need a reason for cheer these days, and this way, you yourself can use this little-known information about France in witty repartee when Friday arrives!). Brought to you for free again this year, in solidarity!
Vive l’amitié franco-américaine!
Aristocrat, Bourgeois, or Sans-culotte: Which are you? Do you know the social codes of revolutionary France?
1. Music. Which kind of music do you like?
a. “Ça ira!” sung in the streets
b. a performance of Gluck’s opera, Iphigénie en Aulide, at Versailles
c. an opéra-bouffe on rue du Temple, Paris
2. Entertainment. Where do you go to have fun?
a. rue du Temple, for the automaton shows and the drames larmoyants on stage
b. Out to Versailles, hopefully for a performance at le Théâtre de la Reine, au Petit Trianon: what a thrill!
c. in the neighborhood, at a veillée (communal reading) or a political club meeting
3.Costume. What clothes do you wear?
a. long trousers and wooden clogs
b. brocade riding coat, lacy shirt, silk breeches and stockings, leather shoes with silver buckles
c. dark-colored day coat, breeches, leather shoes, and silk stockings
4. Newspaper. Which paper do you read?
a. Le Journal de Paris
b. Le Père Duchène
c. L’Ami du Roi
5. Residence. Which part of Paris do you live in?
a. la rue Saint-Antoine, 6e étage
b. un hôtel particulier in le Faubourg Saint-Germain
c. la rue Saint-Honoré, au 2e étage
6. What books do you likely have at home ?
a. L’Almanach de l’année 1789 and the Bible
a. a novel by Restif de la Bretonne and the Bible
c. un petit livre noir about close friends and acquaintances at court, just in case
7. If you’re an enterprising woman, you likely dream one day of …
a. attending a masked ball at Versailles
b. having enough to eat, every single day!
c. opening a bigger shop, on a busier street
Famous people from revolutionary times: think you know everybody?
8. What Catholic bishop of the revolutionary period inspired later leaders to prohibit regional languages in French public schools? This policy was spear-headed by Jules Ferry, Minister of Public Education for the Third Republic (1879-1883).
a. Abbé Henri Grégoire (1750-1831)
b. Abbé Emmanuel Joseph Sieyès (1748-1836)
c. Abbé G. Grand-appétit (1766-1822)
9. What former speculator, who made a fortune selling confiscated real estate in the 1790s, was later living in such dire poverty that people called him “Le Grand Seigneur sans-culotte”?
a. Marie-Joseph-Louis de Cuissac, le marquis de Cocagne (1768-1846)
b. Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord, Prince of Benevento (1754-1838)
c. Claude Henri de Rouvroy, comte de Saint-Simon (1760-1825)
10. What American group cited Mme Marie-Jeanne Roland in their 1946 newspaper?
a. the League of Women Voters
b. the League of Angels from the Hood
c. the League for Sanity in Poetry
** Bonus Question!
What book was once affectionately known as “le petit livre rouge de la République”?
- Le Tour de la France par deux enfants (1877)
- La Chute (1956)
- Les Misérables (1862)
If you answered the following, you are bourgeois at heart:
1c.; 2a.; 3c.; 4a., 5c., 6b., 7c.
If you answered like this, you are an aristocrat at heart.
1b.; 2b.; 3b.; 4c., 5b., 6c., 7a.
If you answered these items, you are down with the people, a sans-culotte.
1a., 2c., 3a, 4b.,5a., 6a., 7b.
- a. Abbé Henri Grégoire (1750-1831) advocated that step in Rapport sur la nécessité et les moyens d’anéantir les patois et d’universaliser l’usage de la langue française (Report on the necessity and means to annihilate the patois and to universalise the use of the French language) which was presented to the National Assembly in 1794. It is controversial today for extending to Arabic and other immigrant languages.
- c. Henri, comte de Saint-Simon. BTW : Saint-Simon was more of a libertarian than a socialist, despite the disciples who called themselves « Saint-Simoniens ».
- c. In The Pinnacle, the newspaper of the League for Sanity in Poetry (Corpus Christi, Texas, ca. 1946), Mme Roland is quoted in an article about “The Slovenly School of Verse” by Donald Parson: “It is an age of free spending, free thinking, free verse. It is a time of unrestraint, when the experimentalists are trying to ride Pegasus without halter or bridle. Well may the judicious grieve as they echo Madame Roland’s words, “’Oh Liberty, what crimes are committed in thy name!’” (found in the University of Notre Dame Rare Books Collection, Hesburgh Library).
1. Le Tour de la France par deux enfants. Augustine Fouillée (née Tuillerie) is the name behind the pseudonym G. Bruno, and she wrote Le Tour de la France par deux enfants (1877) which has sold over 9,000,000 copies to date. Between 1880 and 1945, nearly every French schoolchild learned about France from reading this book, affectionately referred to as “le petit livre rouge de la République.” See Dana K. Lindaman, Becoming French (2016), chap. 4.
Thank you for reading and Vive l’amitié franco-américaine!