Sights and Sounds of Revolutionary Paris

A Future Full of Large Names
Revolutionary Tradition and Les Mis
Revolution 1789
--The Monarchy
--Tennis Court Oath
--Fall of the Bastille
--October Days
--Declaration of War
--Palace Invaded
--Louis XVI
--Reign of Terror
-- Fall of Robespierre
--At war
1789 in Les Miserables
--The Terror
--The People
--The Students
--The Monarchy
--Place de Concord
--Notre Dame
Daily Sites
--Street Names
--Children's Names and Games
Works Consulted


  • Generational influences

Along with the nominary revision of the streets the revolution also influenced the names of subsequent generations. The intense political atmosphere of the time lead people to break away from traditional names for their children and venture into new creative territory. Children began to be named after everything implying revolution from its heroes to its virtues even after its calendar. The common heroic names were those of Franklin, Voltaire, Ami du Peuple and Brutus. Virtues like Liberte were given as first names along with calendorial influences like Floreal. Combinations could be detected like Brutus-sans-culotte-marche-enavant. The evidence of the revolution had made its way into common language, every time a child's name like Voltaire was spoken memories of the revolution would be evoked. Revolutionary values and political ideologies had influence over every aspect of Parisian life.(Ferguson 25)

  • Influence on Peoples Entertainment

Revolutionary influence could also be seen in the entertainment of the time. Political awareness was even plastered on the playing cards of the day. One particular set had Voltaire as the king of diamonds and Rousseau as the king of clubs. It had the four virtues of Justice, Temperance, Prudence and Force as the queens and the jacks were a variety of other well-known heroes. Chess games were not an exception; the popular game sometimes had a tyrant for the king and an adjutant for a queen. The rules of the game also changed blockades were made instead of checkmates as castles gave way to cannons. (Ferguson 25) This demonstrates the over arching political feeling of the time and emphasizes that everyday people were very aware of the changes that were taking place around them. They were often involved in revolutionary events and integrating its ever-changing value system into their own.

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