Posts Tagged ‘Louise Michel’

  1. The Red Virgin and the Vision of Utopia: book review

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    May 8, 2016 by Lydia Syson

    red_virgin_mary_bryan_talbot_cape_cover-628x886Regular readers of this blog will be familiar with Louise Michel, teacher, poet and revolutionary heroine of the 1871 Paris Commune, but she’s not exactly a well-known figure in the English-speaking world.  Yet.  If The Red Virgin and the Vision of Utopia, the new graphic biography by Mary M. Talbot and Bryan Talbot, has anything like the success of their remarkable first collaboration, Dotter of Her Father’s Eyes – and it certainly deserves to – that could be about to change.

    Michel is hardly obscure.  In fact she’s legendary.  She’s iconic.  In France (and indeed New Caledonia) there have been schools and streets and squares named after her, not to mention two International Brigade battalions and a Metro station.  She romanticised her own life in her keep reading


  2. In the footsteps of Communards

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    July 6, 2015 by Lydia Syson

    Int Schl Prospectus 1890(2)

    What happened to the revolutionaries who managed to escape Paris after the bloody fall of the Commune? Over three thousand ended up in London, men, women and children too. I’ve blogged about following the trail of some of those exiles today at The History Girls.  Follow the link to find out more about what I found, including ’bloody foreigners’, police spies, chemistry lessons and Louise Michel’s International School in Fitzrovia.


  3. ‘The Red Virgin’

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    June 23, 2015 by Lydia Syson

    Louise_Michel_home later years

    There is a character in Liberty’s Fire who is not named, but can be easily identified as Louise Michel, the best known of a number of impressive citoyennes featured in this blog post last month. Michel was one of many Communards who took refuge in London, and Fitzrovia in particular, to escape political repression in France in the aftermath of the Commune – even after the ‘Amnesty’ – and it was here that she met my great-great grandmother, N.F.Dryhurst, a member of the English Anarchist group. keep reading


  4. Citoyennes: women of the Paris Commune

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    May 5, 2015 by Lydia Syson

    LouiseMichelNatGuarduniform

    The mythical figure of the pétroleuse, hideous or heroic depending on your point of view, has now almost been forgotten. For decades it was the most abiding image of the 1871 Paris Commune, and undoubtedly helped to hide the true history of real women’s involvement in France’s last nineteenth-century revolution. Edith Thomas broke new ground in uncovering this history with Les Petroleuses (1963), angry yet almost apologetic about the need for a corrective to misogynistic accounts of events coming from both sides of the political divide. I’ve written about the ‘women incendiaries’ for The History Girls keep reading


  5. Coming up…

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    April 12, 2015 by Lydia Syson

    annefrank2

    Lots of good things happening this month and next…

    On Tuesday 14th April the Anne Frank Trust will be at the British Library launching a new campaign called #notsilent to mark the 70th anniversary of the death of the world’s best known diarist. The organisation was set up twenty-five years ago with the aim of using Anne Frank’s life and her diary to encourage young people everywhere to combat prejudice and challenge hatred and discrimination, working through educational projects with young people in schools, prisons and communities throughout the UK. The idea behind the campaign is that instead of remembering Anne Frank with one minute’s silence, we all spend time talking about her as much as possible. keep reading


  6. Find out more about about the history behind Liberty’s Fire

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    March 2, 2015 by Lydia Syson

    PCBookshelf

    ‘What is the Commune, that sphinx so tantalizing to the bourgeois mind?’ (Marx:The Civil War in France)

    Simply put, the Paris Commune was the radical municipal government elected to run the French capital in March 1871, immediately after the Franco-Prussian War and the Siege of Paris – not to be confused with the first French Revolution in 1789, or the July Revolution of 1830, or indeed the small uprising of 1832 featured in Les Miserables, or even the 1848 revolution which brought in the short-lived Second Republic. It lasted for 72 days, and historians have been debating exactly how to define it ever since.

    keep reading


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