Diabolic Beauty of the Mind
(Part 7 of 8) Letter from Charles Jeanne to his sister, from prison, December 1833

tenlittlebullets:

pilferingapples:

tenlittlebullets:

tenlittlebullets:

Une seconde fois le canon cessa de se faire entendre. La ligne et la garde nationale s’avancèrent ; arrivées à deux cents pas de nous, elles commencèrent le feu en marchant toujours au pas de charge. Nous étions tous baissés derrière la barricade, nos fusils passés dans des meurtrières formées par l’écartement des pavés. L’élève de l’École courait de l’un à l’autre en répétant à chacun : ne tirez pas, mes amis, ne tirez pas ! laissez approcher !.. à dix pas ! à dix pas mes amis !.. & pas un seul coup de fusil ne fut tiré de notre part qu’alors que le commandement feu !.. poussé d’une voix forte et assurée par l’Élève, nous instruisit que le moment de vaincre ou de périr était arrivé.

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And finally, the translation! This part is the fall of the barricade, including Jeanne accidentally escaping death by the most suicidally brave and improbable charge ever… also, pianos. Falling on people’s heads. I will never be over it.

-

A second time, the noise of the cannon stopped. The line infantry and the National Guard were advancing; when they were within two hundred paces of us, they started firing, still marching at a charge. We were all crouched low behind the barricade, our guns placed in the firing-holes formed by gaps in the paving stones. The Polytechnic student ran from one man to another, repeating to each, “Hold your fire, my friends, hold your fire! Let them approach..! At ten paces! At ten paces, my friends..!” & not a single gunshot was fired on our side until the command “Fire!”, shouted in a loud and assured voice by the Polytechnician, informed us that the moment to vanquish or perish had arrived.

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Oh WOW. That house that takes them in is amazing! And ACTUAL PIANOS?  Every one of these letters makes me want a film about the actual uprising more, because geez, what a story.

The respect given to the Polytechnic student is really interesting, too.  I feel like there’s a certain perception shift in modern notions of ‘students’ in a revolt; certainly I’ve seen a lot of commentary on the lines of “why would a bunch of students expect workers to listen to them” with a sort of assumption that student meant immature and removed from the world of practicality—certainly not someone to be listened to for combat instructions. But apparently the fighters actually THERE felt otherwise.   I’m still not super okay with Hugo inverting the student-worker ratio, but it seems like the common concept of Student Radicals in the early 1900s was VERY different to the idea of student radicals in by the tail of the 20th Century. And now I’m wondering if maybe *some* of that ratio shift wasn’t an attempt  to deal with similar perceptual issues between occurrence and publication?

Back to the subject at hand though:  that bayonet charge has to be one of the history’s top I CAN’T BELIEVE THAT WORKED moments. Actual History is SO BIZARRE.

(And a thousand thank yous for the continued translations!)

The respect for the Polytechnic student is, I think, reserved for that particular school—it was and is a prestigious best-and-the-brightest military engineering school, and the presence of Polytechniciens in revolts (usually after putting varying amounts of ingenuity into evading a school lockdown due to the unrest) was part of the iconography of the period. They tended to wind up in leadership positions because, well, attending a best-and-the-brightest military engineering school actually gives you qualifications for the task at hand. There are a handful of law students in a preceding section and Jeanne doesn’t seem to view them as more or less capable than the others, just notes that they’d had difficulty getting over from the Left Bank and that they could recognize and vouch for each other as Not Police Spies.

And yes. ACTUAL PIANO.

What I’m taking away from this is that depictions of the barricades need fewer barrels and giant wheels, and more pianos!

What was that street near the location of the FIeld of the Lark (I think it was?) where there was a street named in honour of Polytechniciens who fell in 1830? I have a photo of the street sign explaining the name somewhere.

I'm pretty the gilet à la Robespierre refers to the oversized lapels rather than the color. I've seen references to them being white, red, or pink. I did a project on lapels/collars for grad school two years ago, but stopped in the 1790s. This would have been such an interesting continuation!

histoireinsolite:

needsmoreresearch:

edwarddespard:

pilferingapples:

needsmoreresearch:

I hope you don’t mind me publishing this?

But yeah, wide lapels would make the most sense—and in fact, looking again at Grantaire’s gilet à la Robespierre, it’s scarlet and he shows off its pointed lapels. 

And I guess Hugo and Gautier have a bit of a squabble about whether Gautier had a Robespierre waistcoat…?

There seems to have been a lot of debate about who wore what in general. Romantic Fashion Statements were  apparently SRS BSNS— I wasn’t joking about Gautier having AN ENTIRE CHAPTER about his waistcoat in the memoirs.

…It seems like there should be a joke there but that’s it, that’s the joke, I don’t know what I could possibly add. ACTUAL ROMANTICS ARE THE MOST RIDICULOUS.

I’m leaning towards lapel shape being the key factor. Certainly from fashion history texts, it indicates they are high and turned down. Not as sure about size of the lapels, although there were certainly oversized lapels in the era. The fashion dictionary source is more about them being 1.) high and 2.) turned down, which I suspect relates to the Robespierre collar women wore in the Edwardian period.

You’re probably right.  Regarding the size—there was that spell with the Incroyables and their exaggerated, oversized lapels, and I have the sense that that got popularly mixed into a general image of Revolutionary Fashion (…ironically, I guess).  I wonder to what extent that image persisted into the 19th century?

Can’t be high and turned down without being oversized for the period! 1830s men usually had small shawl-collar like lapels on their waistcoats. The whole deal with the Robespierre waistcoat was that the lapels were big enough to fall outside the coat! Obviously calling it after Robespierre is a bit arbitrary considering the range of collars that got labeled as such, and the Incroyable look certainly got mixed in there without considering their politics… Oh, the 19th century.

I can see it being one of the larger types of lapels that fall outside the coat …I’ve illustrated some of them in the past (attaching illo

…am afraid I don’t have the original source to hand, but it was drawn from a late 1820s/early 1930s original illustration). I have found a few illustrations of smaller turned down collars on waistcoats, with or without lapels of various sizes as well…most of the collars on this style are stand up, but some are turned down. All I have to hand I’m afraid as a quick reference is John Peacock’s book on men’s fashion (if you take Peacock as a source!).

pilferingapples:

ellevante:

let’s give it our 1000%!!!!

Is that a BARRICADE in his HAIR? Is he Carrying The Whole Barricade In His Head?:D

Perfect picture and perfect comment. Now I’ll think of this whenever I read that line!

pilferingapples:

ellevante:

let’s give it our 1000%!!!!

Is that a BARRICADE in his HAIR? Is he Carrying The Whole Barricade In His Head?:D

Perfect picture and perfect comment. Now I’ll think of this whenever I read that line!

sovinly:

Okay, but why don’t I see more people talking about how it’s Grantaire who is the last voice on the barricades to speak for the republic.

Like, Enjolras doesn’t feel the need to speak up or over him, he just smiles.

And it’s Grantaire who has the last “Vive la république.

That’s a very interesting thought! Indifference has warmed to action, and it foreshadows the fact that the torch has been passed - the fight that he did not participate in is still shining in his eyes, as it will shine in the eyes of others not there that day, who did not participate, or who are yet to be born. Enjolras’ part is done - it is for others to take up the cause.

I see Enjolras as already having said and done all he feels he needs to say or do - save for to die. People sometimes characterise him as ranting or rambling about his cause in fic…he typically doesn’t. For the most part he’s remarkably economic with words and with gestures, which makes it all the more powerful when he launches into either. Enjolras has no words for his executioners, save for to fully own his actions. He will not justify or evade.

That’s why the final interaction with Grantaire, while I can see it as Enjolras in his symbolic function (the Republic smiling upon the transfigured man who has embraced the cause) strikes me as so much more about an intimate and personal gesture. The thing Enjolras has been lacking in his aloof austerity, the touch of Anacharsis Cloots, has been developing…and this is its final manifestation. The man who, when we meet him, would not recognise the human plight and appeal of Rousseau’s children or of Evadne’s supplication develops at the barricade to be deeply affected by the plight of an elderly woman praying by candlelight. That same man who disdained Grantaire comes to embrace him and all his humanity - including but, I would suggest, not limited to the fanned spark of belief - with a smile. 

I'm pretty the gilet à la Robespierre refers to the oversized lapels rather than the color. I've seen references to them being white, red, or pink. I did a project on lapels/collars for grad school two years ago, but stopped in the 1790s. This would have been such an interesting continuation!

pilferingapples:

needsmoreresearch:

I hope you don’t mind me publishing this?

But yeah, wide lapels would make the most sense—and in fact, looking again at Grantaire’s gilet à la Robespierre, it’s scarlet and he shows off its pointed lapels. 

And I guess Hugo and Gautier have a bit of a squabble about whether Gautier had a Robespierre waistcoat…?

There seems to have been a lot of debate about who wore what in general. Romantic Fashion Statements were  apparently SRS BSNS— I wasn’t joking about Gautier having AN ENTIRE CHAPTER about his waistcoat in the memoirs.

…It seems like there should be a joke there but that’s it, that’s the joke, I don’t know what I could possibly add. ACTUAL ROMANTICS ARE THE MOST RIDICULOUS.

I’m leaning towards lapel shape being the key factor. Certainly from fashion history texts, it indicates they are high and turned down. Not as sure about size of the lapels, although there were certainly oversized lapels in the era. The fashion dictionary source is more about them being 1.) high and 2.) turned down, which I suspect relates to the Robespierre collar women wore in the Edwardian period.
needsmoreresearch:

edwarddespard:

For when too much Robespierre Collar Fun Is Never Enough!
Rock Island Argus August 10, 1912

Holy smokes, it’s the neckwear of the moment.  We gotta get on that!
(Interesting that some of them seem to be really emphasizing the frilly jabot over the strong lapels.)


It it wrong of me to think that they’re totally going on about necks (one of the descriptions even says ooooo…can’t wear this one if your neck is too thick!) in a way that seems…odd…when they’re named after Robespierre? Like, we’re being totally unintentionally gallows (or guillotine) humour about this whole thing? “Robespierre Collars: ALL ABOUT THE NECK!”

The general shape, though, can be related back to the popular portraits of Robespierre, which is where I’m going with the waistcoat. I’m looking through past auctions to see if I can find a 19th century waistcoat that loosely fits the look.

needsmoreresearch:

edwarddespard:

For when too much Robespierre Collar Fun Is Never Enough!

Rock Island Argus August 10, 1912

Holy smokes, it’s the neckwear of the moment.  We gotta get on that!

(Interesting that some of them seem to be really emphasizing the frilly jabot over the strong lapels.)

It it wrong of me to think that they’re totally going on about necks (one of the descriptions even says ooooo…can’t wear this one if your neck is too thick!) in a way that seems…odd…when they’re named after Robespierre? Like, we’re being totally unintentionally gallows (or guillotine) humour about this whole thing? “Robespierre Collars: ALL ABOUT THE NECK!” The general shape, though, can be related back to the popular portraits of Robespierre, which is where I’m going with the waistcoat. I’m looking through past auctions to see if I can find a 19th century waistcoat that loosely fits the look.
1820’s Velvet Waistcoat Monogrammed John Richards Esq. and Men’s Low Brim Hat by De Pinna, 5th Ave, New York, sold through Liveauctioneers

1820’s Velvet Waistcoat Monogrammed John Richards Esq. and Men’s Low Brim Hat by De Pinna, 5th Ave, New York, sold through Liveauctioneers

For when too much Robespierre Collar Fun Is Never Enough! 

Rock Island Argus August 10, 1912

For when too much Robespierre Collar Fun Is Never Enough!

Rock Island Argus August 10, 1912

Here’s a Robespierre collar (April 27 1913, The San Francisco Call).

Here’s a Robespierre collar (April 27 1913, The San Francisco Call).

Robespierre collars

"Robespierre: a high turn-down coat collar worn with a frilly jabot and a draped neck-piece finished with a bow. Worn by the French statesman Robespierre about 1790"

- A Dictionary of Costume and Fashion: Historic and Modern, Mary Brooks Picken