Category Archives: French History

How the Revolution exposed the dark side of the art of Johann Zoffany

A few weekends ago I went to the Royal Academy of Art’s exhibition (sadly now closed) on 18th century painter Johann Zoffany (1733-1810). Zoffany is largely known for his ‘conversation pieces’, intimate family portraits created for his noble and royal patrons, with his subjects engaged in lively, charming interaction with each other. This sort of […]

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Madame Jeanne Guyon: The Accused Witch Who Defied King Louis XIV

Culture&Stuff’s very first guest post, by Nancy Carol James, PhD French culture in the 17th century demonstrated an amazing energy for spiritual and religious questions. One great genius from this time, the mathematician Blaise Pascal, pondered the question, what is a human being in the infinite? In other words, what is a human being who […]

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Théroigne de Méricourt: ‘The fatal beauty of the revolution’. Part Two.

When we left Théroigne de Méricourt at the end of part one, she was beginning to sense a new energy in the streets of Paris in the spring of 1789. Like so much of social and political life at the time, this energy seemed to coalesce and find its fullest expression at the heady Palais Royal, where Théroigne […]

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Théroigne de Méricourt: ‘The fatal beauty of the revolution’. Part One.

If the Austrian Emperor’s interrogator, François de Blanc, hadn’t already heard so much about the revolutionary prisoner, Théroigne de Méricourt, it’s unlikely a man like him would have believed much of the story she spun him. Stripped of the myth and legend that already surrounded the key events of her life, even the version of […]

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Dolly Wilde, a Ghost in Paris

In 1920s Paris, pained, fuzzy-headed morning afters must have been as defining a feature of life as the sparkling night befores that brought them on. On some of these grey mornings there were some unfortunates, still hours away from achieving verticality and spooling the evening’s events through their minds trying to fill in the blanks, […]

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