Posts Tagged ‘Paris Commune’

  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. 31st March 2016: Children and Socialism series, Marx Memorial Library, London

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    March 8, 2016 by Lydia Syson

    MML6

    New Ways to Tell Old Stories: putting the political into historical fiction for today’s young readers

    Lydia Syson and Meirian Jump in conversation at the home of the International Brigade archives.

    Lydia, a former BBC World Service radio producer, is the author of three critically-acclaimed novels for young adults. A World Between Us (2012) tells the story of three British volunteers in the Spanish Civil War. Sparked by research into the anthem of the International Brigades, Liberty’s Fire (2015) brings the 1871 Paris Commune dramatically to life for a new generation. That Burning Summer (2013) is set during the Battle of Britain in small rural community where spyfever is infectious and pacifism a dirty word. Lydia and Meirian will discuss hidden histories, unexpected heroes, archives and sources, and the ethics of turning real lives into fiction.  All welcome.  No need to book. £3 on the door.

    March 31st, 2016 7:00 PM 
    Marx Memorial Library
    37A Clerkenwell Green
    London
    EC1R 0DU
    United Kingdom
    Phone: 020 725 31485

  3. Gingerbread Pigs

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    December 13, 2015 by Lydia Syson

    gingerbread pigs uncooked

    My kitchen is heady with the scent of cloves and ginger and muscavado and cinnamon.  The biscuity part of our gingerbread house is ready to be stuck together with icing, and adorned with sweets. We will eat it on New Year’s eve.  Having managed to burn a few trayfuls during supper last night, we’ve still got more hearts and stars and snowflakes for presents and tree-hanging and emergency fuel to cut out and bake, and also, this year, pigs. keep reading


  4. ‘Resist the attempt to construct an argument’

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    October 19, 2015 by Lydia Syson

    Kentridge - Notes Towards A Model Opera - Dada on chinese text_1

    This slogan flashed by while I sat enthralled by William Kentridge’s video installation Notes Towards a Model Opera at the Marian Goodman Gallery in Soho, London.  It made me smile because I now spend two days a week as a Royal Literary Fund Writing Fellow at the Courtauld Institute for the History of Art encouraging students to construct an argument.  Yet when I’m writing fiction, arguments are something I know I have to resist, despite my political themes. keep reading


  5. ‘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


  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


  7. Can I get there by Candlelight?

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    December 7, 2014 by Lydia Syson

    Tis Pity 002

    If you head over to The History Girls, you’ll find some seasonal thoughts on candlelight through time, how light can affect plot, and the magical experience of watching ‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore from the Musicians’ Gallery of the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse.


"an outstanding debut novel for teenagers" THE GUARDIAN

"a fantastic historical fiction debut" THE BOOKSELLER

"a novel of extraordinary resonance and power" ARMADILLO

"a compelling story of politics and passion, bravery and love" BOOKTRUST

'the writing is powerful, the events terrifying' THE BOOKBAG

'Highly recommended' BOOKS FOR KEEPS

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