Symbol and Satire in the French Revolution

Symbol and Satire in the French Revolution

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Symbol and Satire in the French Revolution

Symbol and Satire in the French Revolution

Read FREE!

Excerpt

Has sufficient attention been paid to the fact that, apart from all its horrors and injustice, the French Revolution was a beautiful dream? Imagination ran riot as never before. People seemed utterly unable to speak or to think in plain language. In what period of the world's history do we meet with so many fables and personifications, symbols, satires, and emblems? The dawn of French liberty is like the dawn of the world's religion; there is the same conflict between great shapeless monsters that forms the legendary basis of every modern creed. The war of liberty against slavery is one of Titans against gods; the favourite symbol for despotism is the many-headed hydra. The number of these hydras that were slain, of the chains that were broken, of the yokes that were cast off, is simply appalling. The cap of Liberty, the carpenter's level to denote Equality, the scales of Justice, the eye of Vigilance, the bundle of fagots to denote Unity and Indivisibility: all these and many more recur literally thousands of times. Thrones totter, tyrants bite the dust, Liberty accomplishes wonderful feats of prowess and agility, while even the mountain . . .

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