Poetry and Song in the French Revolution

2543 Words11 Pages
Poetry and Song in the French Revolution The French Revolution is perhaps one of the most confusing, illogical and fascinating period of modern European history. The origins of the decade long revolution are complex and interconnected between the economic, social, religious, and intellectual. The French Revolution in many ways was a product of the Enlightenment Era gone awry. To understand how this complex series of factors affected people of the time it is crucial to understand the texts directly from that period. One of the richest forms of text and primary sources available to historians is propagandistic literature. Though propaganda is mainly used to vilify the opposition, it can also be useful to understand the needs and concerns of both sides by reading between the lines of the literature. Some of the most important forms of propagandistic literature come in the form of poetry and song. It is through this medium of communication that aided the spread of the French Revolution not only through Paris, but also throughout the entire French nation. Verse is useful not only as a source as to understand the events of the French Revolution, but also to analyze them as a way to understand the emotions and causes of certain events. It is through analyzing and understanding the propagandistic poetry and song of the French Revolution that historians can understand the emotional, political, social and philosophical aspects of the Revolution. In order to understand the songs and poetry of revolutionary France it must be understood as to why revolutionaries used this medium of communication. Poetry and songs carry with them an inherent value and accessibility that made it an ideal propagandistic tool to spread revolution. Songs have t... ... middle of paper ... ...nd poetry stand as the last true vestige of self-expression, as a cathartic expression to which no other medium of communication can better. The French Revolution’s poetry proves, in a certain way, the importance of language. The French Revolution’s literary works also express the importance of modern literature and poetry in order to understand the problems with culture and society and as a way to contemplate how to solve the problems. Works Cited 67. P. Gaveaux and J.-M. Souriguieres, “’The Alarm of the People’ (January 1795),” in the French Revolution; a Document Collection, ed. Laura Mason and Tracey Rizzo (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1999), 268-9. 62. Lebrun, “Republican Ode to the French People on the Supreme Being,” in the French Revolution; a Document Collection, ed. Laura Mason and Tracey Rizzo (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1999), 248-252.

More about Poetry and Song in the French Revolution

Open Document