Children of the Revolution: The French, 1799-1914 by Robert Gildea

By Robert Gildea

Nineteenth-century France used to be one of many world's nice cultural beacons, popular for its astounding literature, philosophy, artwork, poetry and know-how. but this used to be additionally a tumultuous century of political anarchy and bloodshed, the place every one iteration of the French Revolution's 'children' could adventure their very own wars, revolutions and terrors.

From squaddies to monks, from peasants to Communards, from feminists to literary figures equivalent to Victor Hugo and Honoré de Balzac, Robert Gildea's magnificent new historical past explores each point of those quickly altering instances, and the folks who lived via them.

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La Harpe, Correspondance litteraire ... (Paris, 1801-1807), IV, 266; Hardy's. manuscript journal, Bibliotheque Nationale, fonds fran\ais, 6684, May·l, 1784, p. 444 (Hardy paid much less attention to mesmerism than did most nouvellistes); Mhnoircs secrets, April 9, 1784, p. 254; Grimm's Correspondance litteraire, XIII, 510; Courier de l' Europe, October 5,1784, p. 219; Journal de Bruxelles, May 22,1784, p. 179. MESMERISM AND POPULAR SCIENCE societies, and publicized by a flood of pamphlets and books.

Meister, another perceptive commentator on Parisian fashions, concurred. " Parisians flocked to public lecture courses on science, which were adve~tised in the newspapers, and scrambled for membership in the scientific lyceums and museums established by Pilatre de Rozier, Condorcet, Court de Gebelin, and La Blancherie. The excitement that animated these adult education courses can be judged from a letter from a provincial gentleman to his friends at home on the latest vogues in Paris (see Appendix II); and the tone of the lectures can be appreciated from an article in a journal published by the Museum of La 12.

It illustrates the gadgeteering aspect of the enthusiasm for popular science and shows the ancestry of modern fantasies about travel through space. The "aeronauts" have left their airships and are landing by means of their "aerostatic clothes," which also help them to navigate in water. The two balloons, full of inflammable air, follow a set direction, while the third, destitute of its gas and sustained by the immense surface it exposes to the air, is directed with the help of a rudder to a favorable place.

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