Tag French history

A Personal Canon: Katie Hornstein on Five Influential Texts

My recent book, Picturing War in France, is ostensibly about war imagery produced during the first half of the nineteenth century in France.  It is also a book about questions of taste, quality, and the hallowed canon of art history.  The subject of war imagery allowed me to challenge my

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Parameters of Marie-Antoinette’s New Reign

John Hardman— The diary entry of the new king is succinct:  10 [May 1774]: Death of the King at two in the afternoon and departure for Choisy.  This château was 9 kilometres to the south of Paris. Infection hung about Versailles and the royal family lost no time getting out.

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A Personal Canon: Patricia Mainardi on Five Influential Texts

In thinking about writing that has been important to me, I chose publications that did not simply tell me something previously unknown but rather shaped my conceptual framework by opening new ways of thinking about issues. These stand out: Maurice Merleau-Ponty, “Eye and Mind”, translated by Carleton Dallery, in The

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1919: A Poilu Comes Home

Edward M. Strauss— Mobilized in August 1914 at age 35, infantry Corporal Louis Barthas spent almost four years in the trenches. After his health collapsed in early 1918 he served in rear echelons, guarding German POW’s and training young French conscripts in Brittany. He remained in uniform after the November

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Stepping Back from the Front

Louis Barthas; Translated by Edward M. Strauss— In March 1918, after more than forty months on the front lines, under daily threat of violent death, disease, or dismemberment, French infantry corporal Louis Barthas succumbs to exhaustion and earns an evacuation order from a cynical, reluctant medical officer. He’s shunted out

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Louis Barthas: Eyewitness to the French Army Mutinies, May-June 1917

Edward M. Strauss— “On May 26 [1917] the first American combat troops arrived in France…. “The arrival of the first American troops coincided with a dramatic change on the French sector of the Western Front, where the growing number of desertions turned, on May 27, to mutiny.  At the Front

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Happy Birthday, Louis Barthas!

Louis Barthas; Translated by Edward M. Strauss— Poilu author Louis Barthas was born on Bastille Day, July 14, 1879. In honor of his 137th birthday, here are two letters that Barthas wrote in 1916 to Pierre Brizon, a Socialist member of the French legislature. One asks for the deputy’s help

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A Volcano in Constant Eruption: Surviving the Hell of Verdun

One hundred years ago, in May 1916, the costliest, bloodiest battle of World War I’s Western Front – Verdun – had raged for three months without slackening. French and German troops marched resignedly into what they cursed as “The Furnace.”  300,000 lives would be lost in the 300-day ordeal. One

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The Life of Louis Barthas

Louis Barthas kept vivid journals of his service as a French corporal in World War I. In honor of his birthday today, July 14th (which is also Bastille Day!), the following is an excerpt from the 1978 introduction to Poilu, his collected notebooks. Rémy Cazals— Louis Barthas was born on

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Celebrating the Centennial of Swann’s Way, by Marcel Proust

Visit the Proust-Ink website for more centennial news and events from Bill Carter! William C. Carter — With today’s centennial date, November 14, of the original publication of Swann’s Way, I thought I would share some of my thoughts about this important literary event. What we are celebrating, of course, is

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