#jacobin Tumblr posts

  • usergreenpixel
    15.05.2022 - 9 hours ago

    Hi, Citizens!

    I have a new Jacobin Fiction Convention review planned for Tuesday, but since it’s going to be a review that has to do with a topic that also interests the Neighbors… The Neighbors are invited too!

    In fact, this review will be dedicated to a Neighbor, @mamelukeraza ! He does really cute art, mostly of Roustam Raza (Napoleon’s bodyguard), but other Napoleonic people too!

    And speaking of Mamelukes… The Tuesday review will be “Napoleon’s Pyramids”, an adventure story by William Dietrich.

    Apparently it takes place during the Egyptian campaign and so we still have the Directory in power, hence this review being in my Frev category.

    For the Neighbors: The Daughter of the Regiment is also coming out on Tuesday.

    Will these media pieces be any good? We’ll see about that. Stay tuned!

    #frev#french revolution#history #jacobin fiction convention #malmaison media salon #egyptian campaign #the daughter of the regiment #napoleonic art#napoleonic media#napoleonic opera#frev literature#frev media #obscure frev media
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  • usergreenpixel
    12.05.2022 - 3 days ago

    JACOBIN FICTION CONVENTION MEETING 28: THE GLASS-BLOWERS (1963)

    1. The Introduction

    Hi, Citizens! Welcome back to the Jacobin Fiction Convention!

    So, today’s the day we review yet another media piece! Will it be a hidden gem? A shitty Thermidorian-sponsored pile of lies? One of those modern perceptions of Frev that paint the warmongering rats called Girondins as the innocent moderates again? Let’s find out!

    (I swear, the Girondins may haunt me after this… but I don’t give a fuck!)

    Anyway, I usually don’t trust authors who are anglophone. Not on the topic of Frev, at least, as our community has been burnt on that front far too many times.

    However, what interested me about Daphne du Maurier’s novel is the fact that it’s based on the story of her ancestors, the titular glass-blowers from France, so she definitely had much more accurate material to work with than most authors do.

    Also the foreword throws a ton of shade at The Scarlet Pimpernel (which is a pleasant bonus in my book) and promises readers a private story - the tale of one specific family - instead of same old, same old sensationalist Frev stuff usually shown in media. So, naturally, I was interested to see if this would be the one time an Anglophone book wouldn’t spout propaganda.

    In order to find that out, let’s begin!

    P. S. The book is available online in PDF and EPUB formats so it shouldn’t be hard to find the entire thing.

    P. P. S. This review is dedicated to @fireortheflood and @edgysaintjust

    2. The Summary

    The summary comes from Goodreads:

    “The world of the glass-blowers has its own traditions, it's own language - and its own rules. 'If you marry into glass' Pierre Labbe warns his daughter, 'you will say goodbye to everything familiar, and enter a closed world'. But crashing into this world comes the violence and terror of the French Revolution, against which the family struggles to survive.

    Years later, Sophie Duval reveals to her long-lost nephew the tragic story of a family of master craftsmen in eighteenth-century France. Drawing on her own family's tale of tradition and sorrow, Daphne du Maurier weaves an unforgettable saga of beauty, war, and family.”

    Okay, the summary is coming off as having a bit of propaganda, but genuine atrocities did happen during Frev too so let’s not jump to conclusions just yet and unpack this.

    3. The Story

    First of all, I loved the framing device of one family member (Sophie Duval) writing a letter to another (Louis-Mathurin Busson, her nephew) to help the latter uncover important truth.

    I will get into why Sophie is doing that in the “Characters” section, but I like this “excuse” for telling us this story, as it really feels like the reader is let in on the secret along with the character of the nephew.

    Also, I like the fact that the primary focus is on the Busson family and multiple prospectives within it, as this makes the reader more attached to everything that’s going on. Honestly, reminds me of “One Nation, One King”, a movie in which ordinary people are the main characters, not historical figures. Also this approach is refreshing!

    The pacing is generally pretty good, and, while at first I felt like Sophie’s decision to start with the story of her parents was a bit unnecessary, it proved to be the opposite. See, that backstory actually sets up a lot of things that will happen later on and, again, make for a more personal story where the reader is actually invested in the lives of the characters, their trade (glass making), etc.

    However, be warned that some time skips can be a bit confusing and the pace is not fast, which definitely isn’t for everyone. Also the story isn’t exactly linear - no big goals or high stakes to drive the narrative here, so it’s probably not a book for you if you prefer something more linear and goal-oriented with high stakes.

    Finally, I love the touch of pointing out that certain events in the family happen right before/right after the important historical stuff. Only serves to make Frev more personal in the long run, which is nice!

    And, while the narrative doesn’t idealize Frev, we’re meant to see it as a good thing, with Royalists and Girondins being the bad guys (yay) and here’s the excerpt that brought me joy specifically because it doesn’t sugarcoat Girondins (they don’t deserve it):

    So yeah, when it comes to the story, I haven’t seen any major issues. Moving on.

    4. The Characters

    (Spoiler alert!)

    To be honest, I found Sophie Duval a bit bland at first, but her character grew on me later on. She is initially against Frev and thinks it’s just radical fanaticism because she sees riots personally and fears for her family, but later becomes disillusioned by the old laws and embraces the Revolution.

    Of course, with the Revolution come atrocities as well, so she doesn’t view it through rose-tinted glasses in hindsight, but she doesn’t really buy into most of the propaganda. There is a tidbit of Law of 22 Prarial where she thinks that this is going too far, but this is not an unreasonable fear, more like fear of the side effects of this law and not being able to know the full context anyway, since she lives in a more rural area, away from Paris.

    In the end, Sophie just looks out for her family and her views change throughout the story. Very realistic, and I love it.

    I also love her siblings, two of whom are revolutionaries, and I love the fact that one of the revolutionary siblings is female (her name is Edmé). See, revolutionary women should get more credit and representation, so I’m ecstatic that we got a republican action girl who participates in riots and even kills a Vendean rebel!

    She isn’t afraid to take action. Love it!

    Pierre, yet another one of Sophie’s siblings, is a secondary character but I love the fact that he does his best to help the poor as a lawyer and also actively tries to change things.

    The only one out of the Busson siblings whom I hated is the oldest, Robert. Basically, since he was born when his parents were pretty wealthy (running a glass-house) and his mom was on good terms with the owner of the business (a marquise), Robert naturally visited the château of this marquise a lot as a child because that was his mother’s friend.

    Unfortunately, this environment made him dream of high society and become too ambitious and irresponsible for his own good. He bankrupts himself multiple times and one bankruptcy results in the sale of the glass-house where his father was apprenticed, yet Robert doesn’t give a fuck.

    He generally doesn’t give a fuck about anyone except himself or the consequences of his actions, to the point that he abandons his kids! Twice!

    First time, he loses his first wife and does raise his son for a bit, then Frev comes and he sides with Duke of Orléans. Then he realizes that France isn’t going to be a monarchy and flees with émigrés to London, abandoning his son completely and dumping him onto Madame Busson like a sack of potatoes! Oh, and before leaving he remarries without telling anyone.

    Second time, Robert completely deceives his second wife, pretending to be an impoverished aristocrat who was never married and never had kids, knowing she will believe it because she is a young and naïve orphan. Then they flee to London, have a bunch of kids (he never remembers his first son), Robert finds out that French émigrés aren’t welcome and he can’t make it big and be in high society like he hoped. So what does he do? Correct, he fakes his death and returns to France, abandoning his second family too!

    Sorry for the rant, Citizens, it’s just that Robert made my blood boil. What a charming fucking guy… It’s really no wonder that, after his return, his first son wants nothing to do with him.

    By the way, the nephew to whom Sophie is writing about her family is one of the children Robert had with his second wife, so he grew up believing the lies that his father was an aristocrat whose château was burned down by revolutionaries, so the reason for this letter is Sophie telling him the truth, as she rightfully believes that it’s her duty and that her nephew should know said truth.

    I also liked Magdaleine Busson, Sophie’s mother. She is a caring, strict and wise woman who looked after ledgers and workers at the glass-house where her husband was managing things. She takes no bullshit from Robert at all and is absolutely furious the bastard left behind his son. Okay, actually she takes no bullshit from anyone, which is pretty cool.

    As for historical figures, most of them are merely namedropped. Duke of Orléans makes a cameo, but others are mentioned in passing (like Marat, Robespierre and Napoleon). Also we have more obscure people being mentioned, like General Kléber or Pierre Choderlos de Laclos (if you know Dangerous Liasons, that should ring a bell). But that’s about it, and I’m okay with it because it’s not a story about them.

    5. The Setting

    Du Maurier really has a way of bringing the story to life with just the right amount of description and action balanced out. Love her approach to that.

    6. The Writing

    There is some outdated vocabulary used, but most of the time it’s really easy to understand for those who’re fluent in English and French words have just enough context clues for the audience to figure out what they mean.

    The style also doesn’t dive into annoying habits like absurdly long descriptions, which is a big relief after that awful Madame Tussaud book.

    Also it’s one of the few times I’ve seen where the first person point of view avoids the trap of the main character becoming the author’s surrogate in the universe or a self-insert.

    7. The Conclusion

    I’m pleasantly surprised to report that there’s very little (if any) lies here. All in all, this is an excellent read that takes a dive into family history of the author and the events unfolding before the eyes of the characters.

    It has well-written characters, a compelling story to tell its audience, a first person POV done right and, for a change, a narrative that focuses on regular people.

    I definitely recommend this novel (but trigger warning for child death, still births, death, blood, pregnancy and an ableist word towards the end). If you feel like reading a story offering lower stakes and more personal conflicts, then this is a novel for you.

    But, with that out of the way, we must conclude today’s meeting. Stay tuned for future updates and reviews!

    Love,

    - Citizen Green Pixel

    #frev#french revolution#frev art#frev media #jacobin fiction convention #daphne du maurier #the glass blowers #robespierre#marat#duc d'orleans #pierre choderlos de laclos #napoleon bonaparte #jean baptiste kleber #literature review
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  • usergreenpixel
    11.05.2022 - 4 days ago

    Hi, Citizens! Forgot to mention but tomorrow’s meeting of the Jacobin Fiction Convention will be in the evening because I will be a bit busy beforehand.

    But it will be a special review indeed and hopefully I can entertain you! Some university studying is not enough to deter a true Revolutionary! Stay tuned. There’s a lot to talk about.

    #jacobin fiction convention #the glass blowers #review update#frev literature
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  • usergreenpixel
    11.05.2022 - 4 days ago

    Hi, Citizens! The review of “The Glass-Blowers” is coming out tomorrow! Stay tuned!

    #frev#french revolution#frev art#frev literature#frev media #jacobin fiction convention #review update#update #daphne du maurier #the glass blowers
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  • usergreenpixel
    09.05.2022 - 6 days ago

    Hi, Citizens and Neighbors!

    Sooo… hope everyone enjoyed my comeback reviews! I already know which media pieces I’d like to tackle next.

    Here they are:

    For the Jacobin Fiction Convention: “The Glass-Blowers”, a 1963 novel by Daphne du Maurier (of “Rebecca” fame).

    For the Malmaison Media Salon: “The Daughter of the Regiment”, a 1839 comedic opera by Gaetano Donizetti.

    Stay tuned!

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  • usergreenpixel
    09.05.2022 - 1 week ago

    JACOBIN FICTION CONVENTION MEETING 27: ANDREA CHÉNIER (1896)

    1. The Introduction

    Hello, Citizens! Welcome to the Jacobin Fiction Convention!

    Sorry for the long as fuck wait, but hopefully I can prove that this review was worth it. Fortunately, I’m feeling a bit better so it’s time to post!

    Anyway, opera. A classic form of art that is around to this day. Not my cup of tea most of the time, but I’m honestly not surprised that there is at least one opera about Frev and that, dear Citizens, is “Andrea Chénier”.

    What is this opera about? Well, it’s a highly fictionalized story that’s very loosely based on the story of a real poet who lived during Frev, André Chénier. We’ll get back to the “loosely based” part later, but please keep it in mind for now.

    As for the way I found out about this opera, I basically got lucky because it was going to be performed in my area (or rather, a performance would be broadcast at a movie theater) so I did some digging, found out what it’s about and decided to give it a try because why not?

    I also did some research on this opera to try and find it with English subtitles and, unfortunately, there is almost nothing except this. Better than nothing, I suppose, but please hit me up if you manage to find an actual performance with English subtitles.

    Alright, with that out of the way, let’s pick this opera apart and find out if it’s worth watching and just how loosely it is based on the life of the titular poet. Let’s go.

    2. The Summary

    Here’s the summary of the opera that I found on the website of the Royal Opera House (the one in Covent Garden, London):

    “The poet Andrea Chénier attends a party at the Countess di Coigny's mansion. He expresses outrage at the corruption in King Louis XVI's government and the poverty of many Frenchmen. This moves the Countess's daughter Maddalena, and inspires the footman and revolutionary-in-the-making Carlo Gérard to quit his servitude. Soon after, the French Revolution begins.

    Five years on, Louis XVI has been executed, the Jacobin party are in power, and their leader Robespierre has imposed 'The Terror'. Gérard has become a leading Jacobin, but Chénier has fallen out of favour with the authorities and is in danger. He delays his flight from Paris to meet a mysterious woman who has written to him. She reveals herself to be Maddalena, and the pair quickly realize they are in love. However, Gérard also desires Maddalena. When Chénier is arrested by the authorities, Gérard realizes that he has the power to destroy the man who once inspired him. As his conscience is tested, so too is the love of Andrea and Maddalena.”

    Okay, love triangles and all that jazz are not my thing at all, but this could make for an interesting story. Let’s see what it’s all about.

    3. The Story

    Here’s something I liked: the idea of basing your story on the life of a relatively obscure figure. That I can get behind.

    But, as I already said, love triangles and tragedies aren’t my thing! I get that many operas are tragic but I also think there’s enough tragedy in real life ™️, which is probably I usually avoid this genre.

    As for love triangles, I understand that this is a story from the 19th century so this trope was probably fresher back then, but good Supreme Being is it getting tiring to see yet another love triangle by this point.

    Also, this opera is, unfortunately but not surprisingly, laced with propaganda!

    Maddalena is in danger only because she is a noble, for example, and (while he doesn’t personally appear) it’s basically stated that Robespierre is responsible for the deaths of the main couple and he refuses to save them stating in a letter that “even Plato eliminated all poets from his republic” (approximate quote).

    Like I said, I like the idea of having an obscure historical figure in the spotlight for a change. I can also understand the importance of showing tragedies that befell people during Frev. It’s important to talk about! Unfortunately, the ideas are the only things that I liked about this opera because the way it twisted the real story of André Chénier rubbed me the wrong way.

    More on that in the next section though.

    4. The Characters

    (Spoilers ahead!)

    Andrea Chénier himself… oh boy. Remember how I said that the opera flipped his story on its head? Here’s why.

    See, I don’t usually tackle accuracy, but here I may as well say it. The real Chénier wasn’t a poor unfortunate poet in love who was executed for loving a noble. He was a royalist and was against the Revolution, so much so that he wrote an entire ode to Corday. Yes, you heard that right. Not that I condone death penalty, but suddenly his demise doesn’t sound so unreasonable, does it?

    In the opera, however, he is a tragic hero who is smitten by his love interest and, honestly, a character who is flatter than a sheet of paper so, other than my frustration with the complete twisting of the real him, his character caused no strong emotions in me.

    His love interest, Maddalena, is a pretty stereotypical female love interest you would expect to see in the media from the 19th century, but she has moments hinting at her hidden depths ™️ , like pleading for Andrea’s life and bribing a guard to take the place of another noblewoman.

    The latter happens both so she can die together with Andrea and to at least spare one person from execution. It’s a shame that ultimately Maddalena isn’t that interesting as a character because she could’ve been that way.

    So, the leads just made me apathetic, but you know who I hated with a passion? Gérard! Motherfucking Gérard. Why?

    Well, for starters, he is basically the stereotypical Childhood Friend Hopelessly in Love ™️ (he desires Maddalena, hence the love triangle). A tired trope, but he also does everything to ruin Andrea and then… he does something horrible.

    (Tw: attempted r*pe)

    When Maddalena comes to Gérard to plead for Andrea’s life and he realizes that he can use this situation to have power over Maddalena, he basically wants to assault her in exchange for Chénier’s life. I… I really wish I was making that up. He also confesses that he used to watch her dance in the past, which also has extremely creepy implications.

    Luckily, the bastard recoils at the last moment, realizes that Maddalena loves Chénier and tries to save the guy but… by this point Gérard was basically irredeemable in my eyes so I still hated him. By the way, apparently Gérard is loosely based on Tallien…

    The only sans-culotte we see, Mathieu, is basically a walking Thermidorian propaganda piece so… yeah. We’re once again lacking in the positive revolutionary representation, but that’s nothing new.

    I liked one minor character though, and that character is Bersi. She is a biracial (although she is whitewashed in the adaptation I watched) servant girl who is Maddalena’s most loyal friend and confidante in the story, hiding her from the authorities and even becoming a s*x worker to support both Maddalena and herself despite the fact that she was risking her life the entire time. Now that’s the loyalty I can get behind.

    5. The Setting

    Actually, the setting was pretty good when I watched this opera, but there were questionable choices in character designs here and there. For example, Mathieu wears The Joker’s makeup, complete with a Glasgow grin. I guess it’s an attempt to villanize him, but it just looks so anachronistic that it’s silly. Hopefully other adaptations don’t do that. Also some women don’t cover themselves up with fichus (shawls worn on the shoulders), which would not be considered appropriate at the time.

    Other than said choices (which are probably unique to that particular performance), I don’t have any major complaints.

    6. The Music

    The music didn’t blow me away, if I’m being honest, but it was good and a tiny tidbit of “Ça Ira” (a revolutionary song) being included in the soundtrack was a much appreciated bonus for me.

    7. The Acting

    Pretty solid, but since I’m not a fan of operas I’m not the best person to pass judgment here.

    8. The Conclusion

    Honestly, I don’t know whether to recommend this opera or not. It has all the usual propaganda, makes up so much shit about Chénier that it crossed the lines of historical fiction for me and it’s just not my cup of tea as a story.

    But, if anyone in my audience wants to check it out, more power to them. Just please be aware of the Thermidorized narrative and of what the real Chénier was like.

    With that out of the way, allow me to announce the conclusion of today’s meeting.

    As always, please stay tuned for updates, Citizens!

    Love,

    - Citizen Green Pixel

    #frev#french revolution#frev art#maximilien robespierre #tallien the loser ™️ #frev opera#andrea chénier #jacobin fiction convention #review#frev theater #obscure frev media #frev media
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  • usergreenpixel
    07.05.2022 - 1 week ago

    Hi, Everyone!

    Reviews (and a few surprises) are dropping tomorrow! Stay tuned!

    P. S. Yes, I’m healthy! Yay! Thanks for your patience and support!

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  • drunkwytch
    03.05.2022 - 1 week ago

    Never trust anyone with hammer and sickle in their name/bio

    #and stop reading jacobin
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  • living-history-lesson
    02.05.2022 - 1 week ago

    Article on anti-jacobinism in US

    https://daily.jstor.org/jacobin-hating-american-style/

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  • saint-jussy
    30.04.2022 - 2 weeks ago

    I’ll never forgive Rousseau for ditching his five (5!) kids at the orphanage

    I mean fine if you know you’re not fit to be a parent BUT AT LEAST HAVE THE DECENCY TO PULL OUT????

    #jean-jacques rousseau #can't believe maxime stanned this dude #jacobin problematic fave
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  • jessepinkmanfanblog
    29.04.2022 - 2 weeks ago

    Omgggg Robespierre was 5’3”??????

    #i am literally 7 in taller than him haha #also if anyone knows any good books/movies/whatever ab him i decided i was going to move on from Stalin to nicer revolutionaries #jacobins r way more fun than bolsheviks. no offense to the Russians
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  • chuiejiwoo
    27.04.2022 - 2 weeks ago

    Imagine if the Jacobins play Roblox Mimic book 2: Jealousy lmfao it would probably scare the shit out of them btw Mimic is a survival game. In total it has 4 books consists of  Rebirth, Jealousy, Rage and Control. In the first book you go back to your old high school to find your missing friends. Source: https://themimicroblox.fandom.com/wiki/The_Mimic_(Roblox)_Wiki#:~:text=The%20Mimic%20is%20a%20Survival,your%20missing%20group%20of%20friends.

    #mimic#roblox#french revolution#frev#jacobin club #aahahahahahahhahahhahaha im so creative #yes i do play roblox superstar jyp isnt the only game i play
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  • chuiejiwoo
    27.04.2022 - 2 weeks ago

    Robespierre and his club on there way to rule the revolution

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  • pallanophblargh
    26.04.2022 - 2 weeks ago

    Completing my 36th orbit around the sun with a celebratory ballpoint pallanoph, and of course it’s Qiara and her ridiculous mane.

    Almost tried to do something new, but in the end, old habits won out.

    #pallanophs#Qiara#ballpoint pens#traditional art#personal character#personal art#creature design #grey grey grey GREY #sketchbook #cumulonimbus cloud with knives for feet #she is looking a bit like a jacobin pigeon but it’s okay #each year gets harder but despite it all I’m still here #age hits me like a ton of bricks now #saw my parents this weekend and it was intense #things are complicated and I haven’t thought the way they do for half my life now #despite that I’m proud of the progress I’ve made
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  • if-you-fan-a-fire
    18.04.2022 - 4 weeks ago

    April 17, 1942: the communist French Resistance fighter Jean Quarré was executed by the Nazis at Mont-Valérien, aged 23. On the way to his firing squad, he stuck out his tongue at the German cameraman making a propaganda film.

    #mont-valérien#french resistance#execution#firing squad #world war II #occupation of france #german occupation #parti communiste français #la résistance#communists#young communists #text lifted from Jacobin
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  • usergreenpixel
    25.04.2022 - 2 weeks ago

    Dear Citizens and Neighbors, I’m sorry to inform you that I’m feeling worse today so I can’t post the review or the surprise I promised.

    I know it’s annoying but I unfortunately developed a fever last night and it seems to be becoming worse so... I’ll post everything when I’m a bit better.

    Sorry for yet another reschedule, I’m really upset about it but I guess it can’t be helped.

    So far my body temperature is 37.5 Celsius and I feel like shit.

    If you’re still interested, stay tuned, I guess... but you don’t have to stick around if you’re too tired of waiting.

    So, yeah. Sorry.

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  • thoughtportal
    20.04.2022 - 3 weeks ago

    It’s impossible to get inside Musk’s head to know what he’s thinking — I’m not sure I’d even want a peek at what goes on in there. There’s certainly a possibility this is serious, and that his offer letter is a display of hubris by a man with virtually limitless wealth and few people around to contradict him. But there’s also a chance this has already gone wrong and he’s getting tired of it, so he’s presented an offer he knows the board will reject that will allow him to say he was turned down. And in the meantime, he can keep railing against the platform, instead of backing off with his tail between his legs.

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  • usergreenpixel
    20.04.2022 - 3 weeks ago

    Hi, Citizens! So, tomorrow I will attend the Frev opera I mentioned a while back - Andrea Chénier.

    So, that’s what the next review topic will be, but I will post the review itself on Friday (tomorrow I’ll probably be a bit too tired after the performance because I’m going in the evening) so stay tuned for that!

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  • bloodstreak
    20.04.2022 - 3 weeks ago

    tagged by @toadstool to post quarterly book recs!both of these are nonfiction but they’re incredibly good if anyone is interested :)

    tagging: @romancepdf @parasocialz @matchacrepe @xoparrish (if you want!) + anyone else who wants to do this

    #tysm for the tag fay! <33 #the black jacobins sounds sooo interesting... #mine
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  • usergreenpixel
    17.04.2022 - 4 weeks ago

    JACOBIN FICTION CONVENTION MEETING 26: MADAME TUSSAUD: A NOVEL OF THE FRENCH REVOLUTION

    1. The Introduction

    This review is dedicated to @maggiec70, @tairin, @pobodleru and @xiranjayzhao .

    Greetings, Citizens, and surprise!

    Don’t worry, I didn’t call an emergency meeting because the pesky Thermidorians are plotting against us (although we are going to make fun of them because of course we will), but rather because this is a special surprise review I for all you!

    Oh, and Happy Easter to those who celebrate it.

    Anyway, we’re back at roasting analyzing Michelle Moran’s books. Much like The Second Empress, Madame Tussaud offers a lot to talk about, but while the former book was suggested by @maggiec70 , this one I decided to review on my own accord.

    Boy was that a wild ride, but we’ll get to that later. Once again, I managed to find an ebook online because, especially after the rodeo with The Second Empress, I didn’t feel like paying for this shit and it turned out to be a wise decision.

    Those who are curious can find the online version here. But for now, let our surprise meeting begin!

    2. The Summary

    The summary comes from Goodreads and it is rather lengthy, but here we are:

    “The world knows Madame Tussaud as a wax artist extraordinaire... but who was this woman who became one of the most famous sculptresses of all time? In these pages, her tumultuous and amazing story comes to life as only Michelle Moran can tell it. The year is 1788, and a revolution is about to begin.

    Smart and ambitious, Marie Tussaud has learned the secrets of wax sculpting by working alongside her uncle in their celebrated wax museum, the Salon de Cire. From her popular model of the American ambassador, Thomas Jefferson, to her tableau of the royal family at dinner, Marie's museum provides Parisians with the very latest news on fashion, gossip, and even politics. Her customers hail from every walk of life, yet her greatest dream is to attract the attention of Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI; their stamp of approval on her work could catapult her and her museum to the fame and riches she desires. After months of anticipation, Marie learns that the royal family is willing to come and see their likenesses. When they finally arrive, the king's sister is so impressed that she requests Marie's presence at Versailles as a royal tutor in wax sculpting. It is a request Marie knows she cannot refuse - even if it means time away from her beloved Salon and her increasingly dear friend, Henri Charles.

    As Marie gets to know her pupil, Princesse Élisabeth, she also becomes acquainted with the king and queen, who introduce her to the glamorous life at court. From lavish parties with more delicacies than she's ever seen to rooms filled with candles lit only once before being discarded, Marie steps into a world entirely different from her home on the Boulevard du Temple, where people are selling their teeth in order to put food on the table.

    Meanwhile, many resent the vast separation between rich and poor. In salons and cafés across Paris, people like Camille Desmoulins, Jean-Paul Marat, and Maximilien Robespierre are lashing out against the monarchy. Soon, there's whispered talk of revolution... Will Marie be able to hold on to both the love of her life and her friendship with the royal family as France approaches civil war? And more important, will she be able to fulfill the demands of powerful revolutionaries who ask that she make the death masks of beheaded aristocrats, some of whom she knows?

    Spanning five years, from the budding revolution to the Reign of Terror, Madame Tussaud brings us into the world of an incredible heroine whose talent for wax modeling saved her life and preserved the faces of a vanished kingdom.”

    While the summary itself already has traces of propaganda, I think it’s still too early to pass judgment so let’s move on, shall we?

    3. The Story

    I have to say that the concept of telling the story of a real person, especially a woman like Madame Tussaud, is a cool concept. Someone who isn’t really a Royalist or a Revolutionary, but rather an ordinary businesswoman doing what she can to survive in a turbulent epoch and keep her business afloat.

    We already have a shortage of Frev stories about women of the era, after all, let alone ordinary ones like Madame Tussaud who weren’t prominent fighters for a specific cause. Unfortunately, this attempt at telling such a story fails worse than me when I try to play Just Dance. Let me explain.

    First of all, the pacing is all over the place. At first (about 10 or so chapters in the beginning) it’s extremely slow, with each chapter taking up about a day. After the events of Frev begin to pick up, however, there are pretty big time skips (several months in between chapters) and the pacing flashes by like a fucking cheetah on a hunt, which is definitely annoying to say the least!

    Also, much like The Second Empress, this book takes this infuriating and oversimplified “black vs. white” approach to history. Revolutionaries are all evil (except Desmoulins and Danton), royals are all saints, Frev is bad... you get the idea, Citizens.

    There’s no nuance that would allow readers to form their own opinions and all the usual Thermidorian propaganda is almost spoon fed to the audience. It gets so absurd too! For example, at one point doctors show up to check Marie’s virginity because they suspect that she has a lover abroad and could therefore be a spy.

    Next, I find it a bit unrealistic that all the future prominent revolutionaries (or at least Camille, Marat and Robespierre) just happen to hang out with Marie (that’s the future Madame Tussaud) and her family and be buddies with them. Maybe I’m wrong, but I just find the setup hard to believe, especially considering the fact that Marat (apparently) didn’t even know Robespierre personally at that point (late 1788) so it’s also inaccurate as fuck.

    And, as was the case in The Second Empress, things get quite predictable, even if it’s a given that Marie will survive (her real counterpart did), so it’s not really interesting to watch her story unfold.

    But hey, at least we don’t have annoying flashbacks and letters breaking the immersion now! Yay!

    4. The Characters

    I don’t like Marie herself as a protagonist. Or rather, I don’t like the way she is written here. We do see that she is an ambitious, stubborn businesswoman but it’s not enough to sympathize with her and she is pretty bland otherwise. In fact, due to the opinions she expresses throughout the story, I sometimes get the feeling that she is acting as the author’s avatar/self-insert who is there to regurgitate the author’s bias, because this goes beyond what could be excused as the character being biased.

    Henri Charles, Marie’s probably fictional love interest, is also bland so I don’t have much to say about him either.

    Madame Élisabeth (the king’s sister) is a pretty pleasant woman but she is portrayed in a “too good for this sinful world” kind of way, as is the rest of the royal family, so she unfortunately lacks even a semblance of complexity that most real people have.

    The royal couple is the same way and their flaws are barely touched upon. They’re poor misguided saintly figures ™️ and that’s about it.

    Robespierre... whoo boy. This book goes with the classic “he went mad with power and became paranoid” narrative, which is what LRF did. He is portrayed as a dictator who is ready to murder everyone, condones the massacres in Lyon and the elimination of all religion (which is all kind of inaccurate), publicly breaks up with his (implied) lover and humiliates her only to cultivate his image as the Celibate Incorruptible... Oh, and there’s absolutely no mention of the fact that he tried to rescue Madame Élisabeth (yes, the sister of the king).

    Marat is treated like a paranoid madman from the beginning and his assasination is implied to be a good thing. Here he is also dirty, disgusting and has no table manners apparently.... Oh and also Marie questions how could Simone be married to him, which gives me unpleasant flashbacks to The Second Empress (the way that shit treated Caroline Murat is atrocious), which is never a good thing.

    Can’t judge Jefferson or Lafayette’s cameos, but they’re heroic here, especially Lafayette... By the way, Moran is from the USA, so that probably explains a lot!

    Camille and Lucile are heroes and Camille’s siding with Danton is framed as them taking a brave stance against Robespierre. Ugh...

    Danton is, predictably, also a hero.

    Okay, let’s move on before my sanity leaves the chat.

    5. The Setting

    Versailles is described with at least surface level accuracy but otherwise the author tries to drive home the point that Paris during Frev was Hell.

    Unfortunately, there’s not enough descriptions of places other than the palaces, which really doesn’t help my already nonexistent immersion. At all.

    6. The Writing

    Oh god, the annoying first person present tense again! Here it makes even less sense than in The Second Empress because the prologue takes place AFTER the main story, yet present tense gives the impression that the main character just narrates everything she is doing in real time, which... *broken computer noises*

    Also, some of the French terms aren’t translated which made me scroll through google.

    Next, there’s the same “Mistress of the Robes” mistake as in The Second Empress! For those in the back, that position existed in the British court but not the French one! The French have Dame d’Honneur as the equivalent position.

    Oh, and also the word “lesbian” is used once in its modern meaning, which apparently wouldn’t be a thing until the 20th century, so there are also (possible) anachronisms.

    And there’s at least one incorrect date, like Marat beginning to publish his newspaper on September 7th, 1789 and calling it L’Ami du Peuple (The Friend of the People) right off the bat. But in reality he began to publish his newspaper on September 12th and at first it was called Le Publiciste Parisien (Thé Parisian Publicist) before being renamed several days later.

    I know some people might think these anachronisms are no big deal, but they actually are because they demonstrate the author’s attitude to research and the audience. And if these things are an afterthought, then what else did Moran get wrong in possible hopes her audience will just eat up anything she spouts without question?

    Readers aren’t idiots and researching even what seems like small details is extremely important as it’s on the author to stay as close to the truth as possible since audiences tend to believe those authors! And this is what concerns me the most: the fact that there are people who will believe Moran and form inaccurate opinions based on Thermidorian propaganda.

    *sigh*

    But I guess, c’est la vie...

    7. The Conclusion

    Alright, Citizens, as you may have guessed, I would never recommend this book.

    The pacing is inconsistent, the characters are mostly one note like we’re in a damn cartoon, the inaccuracies are through the roof and it’s basically the rehashing of the same propaganda the Frev community is trying to debunk.

    But, with this review out of the way, let’s conclude the 26th meeting of the Jacobin Fiction Convention. Happy Easter to those who celebrate it, Citizens!

    Oh, and please stay tuned for updates. They’re coming soon.

    Love,

    - Citizen Green Pixel

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