The fattened clergyman and the well–bedecked nobleman go off unbothered while the figure in the foreground assesses carefully the value of a commoner. This complex image also includes a pig—likely a symbol for Louis XVI—with the cleric and the noble. Thus the print clearly attacks the upper classes and likely the monarch. But there is more. Specifically, the National Assembly had set a means... Read More »
The writer Louis–Sébastien Mercier recorded in his Portrait of Paris detailed and witty commentaries on many aspects of life among the common people. In this article on the Saint–Marcel neighborhood, he comments on the difficulties faced by urban workers.
Having found Damiens guilty, the judges ordered him punished in a gruesome public spectacle, with the intention of repressing symbolically, through his body, the threat to order that the judges perceived in his attack on the King. Such punishment, characteristic of the Middle Ages and early modern period was much opposed by the Enlightenment view that crime would be better handled by... Read More »
In late summer 1792, news reached Paris that the Prussian army had invaded France and was advancing quickly toward the capital. Moreover, rumors circulated that the Prussians would find ready support from Parisians who secretly opposed the Revolution, especially refractory priests. On September 3 and 4, inflamed by radical propaganda, ongoing food shortages, and fear of the invasion, crowds... Read More »
Upon returning to City Hall, the now heavily armed crowd stormed that building as well, arresting the "Provost of Markets" (or mayor) and his son–in–law, another municipal official. Both men were beheaded and their severed heads were placed on pikes and paraded around, graphically illustrating both the power and the danger of popular insurrections like that of July 14th.
Many adult voices advocated the need for a good moral upbringing as part of a rigorous education for children during the later Ming and Qing dynasties, an aspect seen in the primers that were repeatedly published during this period. Yet other realms of popular literature caught the attention of a broad class of educated elites. Here we also find rich descriptions of childhood that complicate a... Read More »
This depiction of a sugar plantation in Saint Domingue emphasizes the grinding mill and refining vats. An overseer with a gun supervises the enslaved labor. By 1789 Saint Domingue excelled at sugar production, outpacing other French colonies and the British alike.
"The Taoist Priest of Lao-Shan" is a folktale with a moral lesson. The tale uses religion as a device to instill in children the traits desired by upstanding citizens within the culture at that time. "The Taoist Priest of Lao-Shan" comes from a collection of stories called Strange Stories from a Chinese Studio written by P'u Sung-ling. The stories derive from an oral tradition and were first... Read More »