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Unruly women of Paris : images of the commune

Author: Gay L Gullickson
Publisher: Ithaca : Cornell University Press, 1996.
Edition/Format:   Print book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
In this vividly written and amply illustrated book, Gay L. Gullickson analyzes the representations of women who were part of the insurrection known as the Paris Commune. The uprising and its bloody suppression by the French army is still one of the most hotly debated episodes in modern history. Especially controversial was the role played by women, whose prominent place among the Communards shocked many commentators
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Genre/Form: History
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Gay L Gullickson
ISBN: 0801432286 9780801432286 0801483182 9780801483189
OCLC Number: 34704995
Description: xiii, 283 pages : illustrations, map ; 24 cm
Contents: Introduction: Rereading the Commune --
Synopsis: La Commune de Paris --
1. The Women of March 18 --
2. Remembering and Representing --
3. The Symbolic Female Figure --
4. The Femmes Fortes of Paris --
5. Les Petroleuses --
6. Women on Trial --
7. The Unruly Woman and the Revolutionary City.
Responsibility: Gay L. Gullickson.

Abstract:

In this vividly written and amply illustrated book, Gay L. Gullickson analyzes the representations of women who were part of the insurrection known as the Paris Commune. The uprising and its bloody suppression by the French army is still one of the most hotly debated episodes in modern history. Especially controversial was the role played by women, whose prominent place among the Communards shocked many commentators and spawned the legend of the petroleuses, women who were accused of burning the city during the battle that ended the Commune.

In the midst of the turmoil that shook Paris, the media distinguished women for their cruelty and rage. The Paris-Journal, for example, raved: "Madness seems to possess them; one sees them, their hair down like furies, throwing boiling oil, furniture, paving stones, on the soldiers." Gullickson explores the significance of the images created by journalists, memoirists, and political commentators, and elaborated by latter-day historians and political thinkers. The petroleuse is the most notorious figure to emerge from the Commune, but the literature depicts the Communardes in other guises, too: the innocent victim, the scandalous orator, the amazon warrior, and the ministering angel among others.

Gullickson argues that these caricatures played an important role in conveying and evoking moral condemnation of the Commune. More important, they reveal the gender conceptualizations that structured, limited, and assigned meaning to women as political actors for the balance of the nineteenth and well into the twentieth century.

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