The popular perception of Versailles and the 18th century French aristocracy holds that they showed a casual disregard for the the struggles of the poor. This surely has truth to it, but the famous "let them eat cake" anecdote quite likely never happened – so can you point me to any other evidence (letters, anecdotes, trial proceedings, etc) of how the French ruling class actually regarded the poor?
In The Discovery of France: A Historical Geography, the following sentence has prompted much speculation: "There were rebilhous, who called out the hours of the night, 'cinderellas', who collected and sold ashes used for laundering clothes, men called tetaires, who performed the function of a breast-pump by sucking mothers' breasts to start the flow of milk, and all the other specialists that the census listed under 'trades unknown' and 'without trade', which usually meant gypsies prostitutes, and beggars." So, uh, tetaires? [more inside]
need some pointers as to research strategies/leads to find out about the state of the art knowledge about the moon in 1878, with particular reference to things arising in or popular in the French scientific community. First thoughts are Times digital archive and to look for an encyclopaedia of similar date. Any leads appreciated.
I'm in the middle of In Search of Lost Time. It's interesting me in French history. It's better to learn about it from non-fiction, though, since Proust mixes real figures and facts with ones he made up. What good books are there about any period of French history between 1789 and, say, 1939? Popular or academic books are fine, and they don't have to concern themselves with wars, arms races, and treaties, either. Cultural histories are good.
This envelope with a letter inside was found inside a large decaying bound edition of Shakespeare auf Deutsch in a junk shop in Bushwick that was only apparently open for a few months before disappearing. The letter, postmarked 15 March, 1939 - was sent to Paris by a Mr. Henri Wolf. The contents of the letter appear to be German shorthand. Included was small piece of what looks like code, there's nothing else on the back.The letter, envelope, postcard, etc in question are at this imgur album. Hivemind: What the hell is this?
I need help with a book suggestion! All my particulars found within, within, within.. [more inside]
My late grandfather painted an interpretation of one of Maurice Utrillo's depictions of the "Maquis" of Montmartre, in Utrillo's time a very poor area of the well-known Paris neighbourhood. Which Utrillo work did my granddad use as a blueprint, and where exactly was Utrillo's vantage point? [more inside]
I'm looking for a documentary on French history. Something similar to Simon Schamra's BBC series "A History of Britain". [more inside]
You live at Versailles in 1658. You're nobility of the blood. You know the King. What drugs, drinks, or other ways of getting totally fucked up are available to you? How often could you partake before people started to Have A Problem with it? [more inside]
I'd appreciate help with some terms from 14-16c (apx) France. The translations don't tell me about the social hierarchy or give any context. Thanks for any help you can give here. Or point me to an English-language explanation. Here goes: guidon, marechal, chevalier, seigneur, ecuyer. licencie en droit, chatellenie. sieur, chambellan, sire, noble homme. Sorry for lack of accents.
What are some good books in English about French history and culture? [more inside]
Tété-Michel Kpomassie: where is he now? Whatever happened to him? I can't find other books by him after An African in Greenland; I've read he eventually received French citizenship and lives there now - but what does he do? He must have written other books or articles, right? Anyone know?
How do I found out about books, museums, exhibitions, and artifacts relating to Buddhism in Paris in the 1920s? [more inside]
I'm looking for some books on European history during the 1800s. I'm specifically interested in Russia from the Decemberists to the 1917 revolution, and the French student revolution of 1848. [more inside]
'The Flâneur': What fascinating titbits can you add to my knowledge about this concept? Art, history, philosophy and literary theory links all welcome. [more inside]
Follow-up to a question I asked earlier : Has anyone read any "short" histories of France that they would recommend? [more inside]
Anyone know of any good books, plays, or other material about Suzanne Le Peletier de Saint-Fargeau, a.k.a. "Mademoiselle Nation"? She was an eleven-year-old girl adopted by the French revolutionaries after her father's murder by a royalist. Her portrait by Jacques-Louis David is currently on display at the Getty in Los Angeles, and as the book blog Romancing the Tome says the story of her life would make for excellent reading. Surely she's found her way into print by now?
I've just reduced my book queue to a puny six or seven, I'm looking to pile a little something on, and a bookstore just opened within walking distance. I'm in the mood for a good history of the French Revolution. Any recommendations?