my occasional musings on life, love, art, perfume ... what else is there?

8.11.2005

Unlikely Heroines: First In A Series


Imagine being a poor but well educated idealist ... a woman exhilarated by all the French Revolution portended ... dedicated to the success of the upheaval that would so greatly advance all human rights.

But then imagine the disillusionment as one witnessed the knee-deep bloodbath of The Terror ... and became fixated on the architect-of-the-Revolution as the individual one felt was most responsible for trashing a utopian outcome with indiscriminate atrocities, beheadings.

Charlotte Corday was this idealistic murderer, the Girondist who took it upon herself to kill the Jacobin Jean-Paul Marat in his bath.

At her trial Corday said, "I killed one man to save 100,000." Four days after his death, her effort was repaid by a guillotine beheading.

Unfortunately, his killing resulted in Marat's martyrdom and a wave of anti-female activity within the highest ranks of the Revolution. Some think it may have hastened the death of Marie Antoinette.

Time is the ultimate revisionist historian. Within another two years, Marat had been declared bête noire and Corday posthumously rehabilitated: a heroine who advanced a cause by killing one of its most powerful leaders.


source material: wikipedia, of course.

9 Comments:

Blogger Laura said...

Very interesting, Ms M! I'm on pins and needles to see who's next!
So hurry, could you--the pins and needles are sharpish.

3:12 AM

 
Blogger Bela said...

Charlotte Corday is very dear to my heart in the shape of Glenda Jackson in The Marat/Sade by Peter Weiss, directed by Peter Brook. I saw the film (missed the play) when it came out in Paris and fell in love with the whole cast, i.e. the Royal Shakespeare Company.

That film literally changed my life: it's partly because of that film that I dropped out of my Psychology course (after nearly teo years) and read English instead. A few years later, when I lived in Stratford-upon-Avon, I stayed in Marat's (Ian Richardson)house - the gruesome bath used in the play/film was at the bottom of the garden. It's because of that film that I live in London now. (Oops, sorry about the autobiography.)

Charlotte Corday was a very young and naïve provincial girl. She couldn't know that hers was a futile gesture.

Have you seen The Marat/Sade?

6:23 AM

 
Blogger cjblue said...

Fascinating! I too, eagerly anticipate the next in the series! Course, I'll have to stay right on top of it, cause you're a writing machine, but I've no doubt I'll enjoy every tasty morsel.

Sushi twinkies, LOL!

7:00 AM

 
Blogger Tan Lucy Pez said...

Oh, I like this idea for posting.

Wasn't she brave? Wow.

7:22 AM

 
Blogger Kyahgirl said...

Thank you M! I once read an interesting history book from a a feminist bookstore. The premise was that most history books/records have been created by men, so the famous and infamous women of history are often overlooked or downplayed. Thanks for bringing Mme. Corday to light!

7:34 AM

 
Blogger schnoodlepooh said...

Wow. what a woman. This is a very interesting subject. Good idea.

8:02 AM

 
Blogger still life said...

oh this is wonderful...kinda like cliff notes!

9:13 AM

 
Blogger Campaspe said...

Bela: I read the play Marat/Sade a long time ago, and was blown away by it. I haven't seen the film, however.

Corday inspires a lot of pity but she had courage, didn't she? I read that when she was in the tumbril, the executioner remarked to her that it was a long journey, and she said calmly, "We're bound to get there in the end."

9:42 AM

 
Blogger actonbell said...

I'm embarrassed to say that most of what I've read about the French Revolution was contained in A Tale of Two Cities. My history education has been sadly wanting, because this is intriguing stuff!

5:52 PM

 

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