Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Robespierre is a particularly interesting figure of the French Revolution, since 'Maximilien Robespierre, lawyer and delegate from Arras' has become so conflated with the propagandistic reinterpretations of his work, his speeches and his person. Despite all this, Robespierre has always remained very popular with women. The Amateur Historian is not well-versed enough in Robespierrist academia to venture a guess as to why this is, but his female fanbase has a long and respectable legacy.
For example, the famous feminist and playwright Olympe de Gouges appears to have written Robespierre a fanletter around the time of Louis XVI's trial and execution. She suggested that they drown themselves together in the Seine as an act of extreme patriotism.
It is not unsurprising that Robespierre preferred to express his patriotism in a less damp and deadly fashion.
Sunday, May 16, 2010
In the spirit of the past few posts, discover anew youtube's intriguing interpretation of 19th century literature, in the form of "Brontë Sisters Power Dolls". Never have the gender paradigms of the 19th century publishing industry been so epically or oddly dismantled.
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Gentle Readers, please be forewarned that this was an actual, serious tourism video for the Lake Countries of England. Why they decided that a giant squirrel named "MC Nuts" rapping Wordsworth would be the best testament to their attractiveness as a tourist destination is somewhat puzzling. However, as Ponpon from ArmJoe a few days ago taught us, nothing improves 19th century literature like a random animal doing anachronistic things.
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Les Miserables has, as yesterday's post proved, a strange and powerful effect on people. When the novel first came out, for example, there was a great and powerful backlash against the digression Hugo included on the battle of Waterloo. Hugo had the audacity to include what he considered "perhaps the finest word ever spoken by a Frenchman," the defiant cry of "Merde!" by General Cambronne to the English during the battle.
This was not only excluded from several early translations of Les Miserables (most notably, the English one) but also caused a debate over General Cambronne's exclamation so virrulent that a sergeant (Deleau) who insisted that no such vulgarity had passed from General Cambronne's lips, despite the temptation to do so, won a medal.
Hugo was incredibly flattered: "To get a man the croix d'honneur, all I have to do is say merde."
Monday, May 10, 2010
The Amateur Historian makes no secret of the fact that her favorite novel is Victor Hugo's Les Misérables, an epically long novel that at once presents the serious social problems of 19th century France and mythologizes them. Les Misérables has many interpretations (i.e. the musical, the multiple films and TV series) but the Amateur Historian finds that the Japanese have created by far the most absurd.
The Japanese company Takase has created a free downloadable 2D fighting game based on Les Miserables called ArmJoe, after the novel's Japanese title, Aa Mujou (ああ無情). The game features most of Victor Hugo's major characters, such as Jean Valjean, Enjolras (spelled Enjorlas, for whatever reason), Marius, Cosette, Éponine, Thénardier, and Javert, but also adds the characters Hugo was so negligent as to forget to include in his manuscript. These new additions consist of a policeman, a robotic clone of Valjean called RoboJean, an embodiment of Judgement, and, the Amateur Historian's personal favorite, a tea-drinking rabbit named Ponpon.
Enjoy, Gentle Readers. Everyone should have the experience of letting a tea-drinking rabbit run over Inspector Javert in a green Mini.