Bastille Day Anti-Quiz: Answers!

Answers to the daily mini-quizzes published as “From Prairial to Pop Culture: The French Revolution in 2015” (June 12 – July 13, 2015)

  1. June 12. No. 3. “Prairial” is the name of a popular revolt in Paris on May 20, 1795 against the policies of the Thermidorian Convention; widely considered the last popular revolt of the French Revolution begun in 1789.
  2. Jun 13. No. 2. “Those minorities” signifies members of the government, teachers, intellectuals and journalists, according to an angry flyer found nearby the Sorbonne in late May 2015.
  3. June 14. No. 1. Judging from the décor in this ad for Audible books, Le Rouge et le Noir / The Red and the Black by Stendhal would make the most sense.
  4. June 15. No. 2. “Fête Nat” is the name of the character played by Abdoulaye Diop in Coup de torchon (1981).
  5. June 16. No. 4. L’Assignat is the name of a restaurant near the Monnaie de Paris (the Paris Mint).
  6. June 17. No. 3. Le culte théophilanthropique was all the rage in the 1790s, including among statesmen such as La Revellière.
  7. June 18. No. 4. All of the incidents occur in the story “Robespierre et les deux orphelins, ou Histoire secrète des derniers jours de Robespierre.” (No wonder he stayed out of sight for so long!)
  8. June 19. No. 2. Jason Schwartzman, of Moonrise Kingdom, played Louis XVI in Coppola’s film.
  9. June 20. No. 3. “Hoppy” is the equivalent of Messidor.
  10. June 21.

No. 1. “We do not comprehend why Camille Desmoulins, who was so openly protected by Robespierre, is crushed in the triumph of this dictator,” are the last words of A Place of Greater Safety by Hilary Mantel.

No. 2. ” But I do not. I do not,” are the last words of Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly.

No. 3. “Surely, before the expiration of half a century, since the return of Louis, France will congratulate herself on another restoration,” states Anthony Trollope at the end of La Vendée.

No. 4  “It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to, than I have ever known,” are the final words of A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens.

  1. Jun 22

No. 1. “‘Remember me, but forget my fate'” echoes Patrice Higonnet at the end of Goodness beyond Virtue.

No. 2. “But that, as they say, is another story,” are the last words in Marisa Linton’s Choosing Terror.

No. 3. “The French Revolution ended with the triumph of Hobbes over Rousseau,” notes Howard Brown in closing Ending the French Revolution.

No. 4. “Old and strong forces were woken by the Revolution, they began to know themselves in a new way, and they changed the world,” announces James Livesey at the end of Making Democracy in the French Revolution.

  1. June 23. No. 1. Jean-Jacques Rousseau is the author of the shocking quote, “Pectore si fratris gladium,” in his Discours sur l’origine et des fondements de l’inégalité parmi les hommes (1755).
  2. June 24. No. 1. The Constitution de l’An I / Year One was adopted today in 1793.
  3. June 25. No. 3. Françoise de Graffigny is the innovative author of the best-selling Lettres d’une Péruvienne (1747), where you’ll find that interesting early usage of classe to denote economics, not taxonomies.
  4. June 26. No. 4. The Conciergerie prison remains almost as ghoulish as in Marie-Antoinette’s day. You can easily imagine the large river rats scurrying down the halls.
  5. June 27: No. 4. Louis-Antoine de Saint-Just declared that happiness was a “new idea” in March 1794. Thanks to Laurent Loty from bringing this to light in his excellent article, « Des Lumières à la Révolution : le bonheur en Constitution », Les Cahiers de l’Observatoire du Bonheur, 2, numéro spécial « Bonheur et petits bonheurs » dirigé par Michèle Gally, 2011, pp. 12-15. You can also read his article on this blog, posted on September 24, 2011.
  6. June 28: 3. Abbé Barruel, author of Memoirs Illustrating the History of Jacobinism full of virulent charges of conspiracy: he claims the Revolution was the result of a long-term plot hatched by philosophes, freemasons, Illuminati, anarchists, and économistes. Notre Dame own three titles by Barruel, including the five-volume Mémoires pour servir à l’histoire du jacobinisme (1798-99); and the 1798 English translation in four volumes. It sounds like a lot, but that is a small fraction of his output.
  7. June 29: 4. All of the above. In other words, lots of people made profit out of the Revolution, but in the short run, things did not go better, they went worse, for the weak, vulnerable, and the poorest urban dwellers. It was not until the Third Republic that France would become the amazingly supportive state it became (at least in American eyes).
  8. June 30: No. 3. Les Enragés is the name of a political group. I like the way they describe it on Wikipedia: “la réflexion enragée d’une critique de la représentation nationale s’appuie sur une méfiance permanente envers les représentants du peuple.”  Hmm, sounds like some of my friends in Paris.
  9. July 1: No. 4. La mauvaise mère pardonnée par l’état is the correct answer, that is, an imaginary title. All the other books are real titles one can see on WorldCat.  Pierre Augustin de Beaumarchais, L’Autre Tartuffe ou la mère coupable, Paris, 1791. Pigault-Lebrun,  La mère rivale. Paris, 1791. Nicolas Thomas Barthe, La mère jalouse, Bruxelles, 1792.
  10. July 2: No. 1, Soupe Jacobine (actually “Jacobin sop”) is a medieval dish: a kind of French potage with cheese.  For a recipe and a great explanation of its history, see http://www.coquinaria.nl/english/recipes/08.1histrecept.htm
  11. July 3: No 4., le traître or traitor, has been in existence since 1080, acc. to Le Grand Robert de la langue française.  The other three words were coined during the 1790s.
  12. July 4: No. 2. There was no république sœur named “La République deutsche.”
  13. July 5: No. 5, the Loire River, is in the names of the following six departments: Loire Atlantique (called “Loire-inférieure” until 1957); Maine et Loire; Saône et Loire; Indre et Loire; Haute-Loire; and Rhône et Loire.
  14. July 6: No. 4. All of the above. I don’t know about you, but I’m glad to finally know that.
  15. July 7: No. 4, a cherry, cerise. Seems fitting for this sweet, luxuriously green summer in South Bend.
  16. July 8: No. 1, Olympe de Gouges’s claim to fame is a rather humble little place near the old Bourse du travail in the 3rd arrondissement. You can get there by metro Filles du calvaire or Oberkampf, or bus Jean-Pierre Timbaud. While in the neighborhood, why not have a bite at the Caffé Soprano 2, rue Dupetit Thouars? possibly under the platane trees…. right across the street from the old Temple prison where the royal family awaited their fate! At least they put her in an interesting neighborhood!
  17. July 9: No. 3 Hoppy took the place of Messidor (June 20-July 19).
  18. July 10: No. 2, the poissarde or fishmonger, a fascinating figure in French literature. Check out the article on this blog entitled “How to Translate a Poissarde?” in homage to Sonja Stojanovic’s amazing translation of “Le Falot du peuple.”
  19. July 11: No. 3, “Madame Guillotine” will soon cut off their heads, said the mean Jacobin in Simon Bruté and the Western Adventure, by Elizabeth Bartelme (1959).
  20. July 12: No. 3. In fact, Camus writes that: “The Catholic Church, for example, has always admitted the necessity of the death penalty . . . not only as a means of legitimate protection, but also as a powerful means of salvation.” This comes about, Camus writes, because “even the worst criminal examines his own conscience when faced with the actuality of execution.” As a Swiss councilor wrote in 1937 and Camus cites:  “He repents, and his preparation for death is made easier. The Church has saved one of its members, has accomplished its divine mission.”  Albert Camus, “Reflections on the Guillotine,” 1st ed. 1957, repr. in Evergreen Review Reader, 1957-1967, ed. Barney Rosset (New York: Grove Press, 1968), 88-106.  Citation from p. 103.  That was news to me!
  21. July 13: No. 2. The Left was furious with Lennon’s revised “Revolution” because he withdrew his support for violent action. Watch the interviews about Lennon & Yoko Ono’s honeymoon where he explains why. (All you need is love.)

33:  ANSWERS PUBLISHED!   Happy Bastille Day!

From Prairial to Pop Culture. Day Thirty-One. On Albert Camus’s “Reflections on the Guillotine”: can you spot the faulty logic?

Albert_Camus,_ United Press International
In his powerful essay, “”Réflexions sur la guillotine” (1957), the French philosopher Albert Camus denounces capital punishment.* Remember that capital punishment in France was carried out by the guillotine from 1792, when the beheading machine was first used during the French Revolution, right up until 1981.
Let’s test your instincts on existentialism and the guillotine.

All of the following reasons, but one, are part of Camus’s rhetorical assault on the death sentence. Remember the continuum in Camus’s thought as seen in The Stranger: he admits human frailty and irrationality, all the while stressing the essential freedom of humans to chart their own course in life.
OK, knowing all that, it is your turn to pick. I falsified one of the answers below to make it look like a quote by Camus.
Which of the following arguments feels wrong here?
1. Capital punishment cannot provide a meaningful deterrent to crime because “many honest men are criminals without knowing it,” given the passionate, spontaneous character of murder, especially.
2. The fright factor is ineffective because “the State conceals the circumstances and even the existence of its executions,” by conducting such ceremonies at dawn and far from the public gaze.
3. The Catholic Church has always fought such punishment and has “never admitted the necessity of the death penalty.” The French people should follow the lead of this great spiritual force and submit to the Lord through their savior, Jesus Christ.
4. To decide that a man is to be definitively punished means denying him “any further opportunity whatsoever to make reparation for his acts.”

* Albert Camus, “Reflections on the Guillotine,” 1st ed. 1957, trans. Richard Howard. In Evergreen Review Reader, 1957-1967, ed. Barney Rosset (New York: Grove Press, 1968), 88-106.

From Prairial to Pop Culture. Day Twenty-seven. Women worthies

street-in-le-marais Paris

Which of the following noteworthy women of revolutionary France has a square named in her honor in the chic Marais neighborhood of Paris?

  1. Olympe de Gouges: playwright, author of Déclaration des droits de la Femme et de la citoyenne(1791), who was executed for seditious behavior and conspiring to reinstate the monarchy in November 1793.
  2. Queen Marie-Antoinette of France, who was executed for treason in October 1793.
  3. Marie-Jeanne Roland: diarist and author of vast political correspondence, and salonnière, who was executed for seditious speech and conspiring against the republic in November 1793.
  4. The Princesse de Lamballe, wife of the Prince de Lamballe–heir to the greatest fortune in France–who was member of an ancient family of Savoy and an intimate of Queen Marie-Antoinette at Versailles. She was beheaded during the September Massacres of 1792.
  5. All of the above.

From Prairial to Pop Culture. Day Twenty-five. What is the difference between a Jacobin and a Jacobite?

Recruiting for the Prince L_tcm4-566104 JacobiteJacobin-club Lesueur

If a Jacobin is a French revolutionary, member of the increasingly radical Jacobin Club (1789-95; pictured on the right), what is a Jacobite (pictured on the left)?

  1. A person belonging to a movement called the Jacobites. They took their name from Jacobus, the Renaissance Latin form of Iacomus, the original Latin form of James. Adherents rebelled against the British government on several occasions between 1688 and 1746.
  2. A member of a political movement in Great Britain and Ireland that aimed to restore the Roman Catholic Stuart King James II of England and his heirs to the thrones of England, Scotland and Ireland
  3. A Catholic who hoped the Stuarts would end the ostracism of Catholics (or recusancy). Since 1593, Catholics were subject to penalties and called “Popish recusants.” The Jacobites hoped to repeal such laws.
  4. All of the above. Now we can see how important it is to know the difference!

From Prairial to Pop Culture. Day Twenty-two. Word!

Lioncel103356 Dat a new word New Orleans

Slang terms and popular idioms are endlessly fascinating. Just think of the street smarts of the US, expressions like “Who dat?” and especially, “Word dat” (heard punctuating dialogue in the soulful New Orleans-based show, Treme), and the latest, “That’s dope” (featured in the gritty and likeable film, Dope). Not to mention the heavily charged words from our political scene: “Change,” for example, or “Life.” And then there are the new words that appear, “factoid,” “emoticon,” “meme.”  Incredible to see words rise and mutate into new meanings right before our eyes!

The revolutionary period also witnessed an explosion of new words and new meanings. And there were people like us witnessing it happen, and writing dictionaries and novels expressing their opinion about those words.  It was controversial then as it is now.

In Lioncel ou l’émigré (1795, 1800), a writer named Louis de Bruno provides a fascinating example of commentary on Jacobin speech. We know when he considers the revolutionaries ironically, because he puts their words in italics! (“Tu es un insigne menteur, un modéré, un honnête homme.”)

But words were also coined out of thin air or built on existing roots, as in our day. Which word from the following list was not invented in the 1790s?

  1. le terroriste
  2. la gauche / la droite
  3. la guillotine
  4. le traître

From Prairial to Pop Culture: Day Nineteen. Anger Management

pict99 indignes
The Occupy Wall Street movement was called Les Indignés in France. What revolutionary-era group shared a similarly exasperated name?
1. Les Fâchés
2. Les Colériques
3. Les Enragés
4. Les Furieux

From Prairial to Pop Culture. Day Sixteen: Who declared that happiness was a “new idea” in Europe in 1794?

Young doomed deputyCamille-DesmoulinsGeorges_DantonRobespierre

In March 1794, when he was just 26 years old, this deputy gave hope to the working man by declaring: “Le bonheur est une idée neuve en Europe” [Happiness is a new idea in Europe]. By making it a common value, he suggested that the pursuit of happiness should apply in France as well as in the young United States, and he proposed a redistribution of wealth –by confiscating émigré property–to alleviate the suffering of the poor.

  1. Maximilien Robespierre
  2. Georges Danton
  3. Camille Desmoulins
  4. Louis-Antoine de Saint-Just
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