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As 200th Anniversary Nears, French Still Fret Over Revolution
[Home Edition]
Los Angeles Times (pre-1997 Fulltext) - Los Angeles, Calif.
Author: Meisler, Stanley
Date: Oct 13, 1987
Start Page: 12
Section: 1; Foreign Desk
Abstract (Document Summary)

Moreover, images of the revolution abound in Paris: the enormous Place de la Concorde, where the guillotine beheaded Louis XVI and 1,118 other prisoners of the revolution; the Conciergerie, where Queen Marie Antoinette was held prisoner before her execution and where patient women knitted the time away while watching prisoners board the carts that would take them to the guillotine; the gardens of the Palais Royal, where orators harangued mobs to rise up against a tyrannical, absolute monarchy. Almost every palace of Paris keeps its reminders of the revolution.

In their search for symbols to counter those of the revolution, many critics have latched on to the Vendee, a western region that lies between the Loire Valley and the Atlantic coast. The Vendee, in their view, reflects all that went wrong with the French Revolution. Historians, trying to lay the revolution bare, have been delving deeply into the terrifying and depressing story of the Vendee.

During World War II, French Resistance fighters came into the main square of [Cholet] in the middle of the night and dynamited a monument to the martyrs of the Vendee uprising, decapitating several of the figures. Cholet was anti-revolution but not pro-fascist; approval of the monument by the Nazi German occupiers and the collaborationist Vichy government had sullied the monument even though it honored the heroes of Cholet.

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