I was delighted to find an adorably morose postcard waiting for me at home last month, after Garth's visit to Brussels. You know you've got good people on your side, when someone picks out Jaques Louis David's "Death of Jean-Paul Marat" as the picture on which to tell you how he finds the difference between Brussels and Amsterdam to be similar to San Francisco versus New York: "Amsterdam, like NY has become a tourist-attraction-immitation of itself, but still has the culture to make it worthwhile." Nothing says culture like a dead french doctor/journalist/revolutionary murdered in his bathtub by a floppy hat-wearing woman.
But, thinking back to Charlotte Corday and her hat that started quite a fashion trend in 1790's Europe, I realized how long it's been since I spent time pondering the French Revolution, which was a pretty regular pasttime for me in high school. Now, since falling in love with "Marie Antoinette", not only have I begun to (finally) start gaining an appreciation for my German heritage via the Hapsburgs and their Austro-Hungarian empire, but I have a whole different perspective on what happened before the Reign of Terror. I mean, not that anyone views the Jacobins or Girondists as inncoent freedom fighters, but I just can't join them in demonizing the monarchy that was. It's not like Louis XVI had anything to do with ruling the country anyway.
Now when I hear the word Versailles, I get a little giddy. So what does this mean for my old friends the Anglo-Saxons? Will I stop memorizing the dates and names of all the Plantagenet, Lancaster and Tudor monarchs? No, I think it just means that France was a lot more interesting in the 18th century than England was.
What's your favorite historical regime change?
Currents, May 2017
2 days ago