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Carnival in Romans (1979)

by Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie

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326265,469 (3.73)1
The city of Romans, in what was once the province of Dauphine in southern France, was the scene each year of a colourful and animated Mardi gras carnival. In 1580, the winter festivities were especially lively; they degenerated into a bloody ambush. While costumed craftsmen and peasants mimed and danced their uprising in the streets, and notables and bourgeoisie hurried from banquets to balls in their ostentatious finery, Jean Serve-Paumier, master craftsman, draper, and leader of the popular party was assassinated and his friends and supporters beaten and pursued by the hired mob of Judge Antoine Guerin, leader of the most reactionary and inflexible part of the ruling party. More than a cruel incident, this particular Carnival night marked the intersection of an urban movement and even larger rural stirrings. Perhaps it even presaged the Revolution of 1789. Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie marshals a wealth of evidence and reveals the town of Romans as a microcosm of the political and religious antagonisms that were tearing through 16th-century France. First published in 1979.… (more)
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A slog. As befits an annaliste, Le Roy Ladurie is more interested in long-term structure than he is the personalities which drove the popular revolt in a small town in sixteenth-century southern France. He explores the ways in which rising discontent with the minimal taxes paid by the nobility, rising prices, tensions between Protestantism and Catholicism, and a host of other issues fed into the bloody events of St Blaise's Day, 1580. But ironically, for someone who pays so much attention to structures in general, Le Roy Ladurie paid little to the internal organisation of this book. I found it difficult to get a clear picture of how all the pieces of his argument hung together, and some of his statements a bit... dubious. Particularly the page he spent discussing young men and sexual assault, which smacked entirely too much of apologia to my mind. If you work specifically on this time period, you might find more here of interest and relevance than I did, but I bounced off this one hard. ( )
  siriaeve | Sep 11, 2017 |
Ladurie is a student of the Annales school of French historians. He also is somewhat of a protege of Fernand Braudel. In Carnival Ladurie patiently and painstakingly builds up a mass of data that illuminates the incipiency of a peasant revolt in Romans in 1580. The book starts out dryly; however, n personalities of the peasant and noble leaders soon begin to emerge, and your interest is captured. The driving issue - unfair taxation and specifically tax breaks for the wealthy- still resonates today. By focuising in depth on this one incident, Ladurie helps you understand the underlying structures that drove peasant life in that epoch. This book is not easy reading ala Tuchman's A distant Mirror. It is more demanding; however, it ultimately is very rewarding. ( )
  nemoman | Feb 6, 2008 |
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» Add other authors (8 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurieprimary authorall editionscalculated
Bogliolo, GiovanniTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Breughel, Pieter, d.J.Cover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Feeny, MaryTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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CHAPITRE PREMIER

Décor urbain et rural

J'ai longtemps rêvé d'écrire l'histoire d'une petite ville, Romans par exemple en Dauphiné ; cité que je hante avec plaisir ; province dont j'aime les habitants et les paysages. [...]
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The city of Romans, in what was once the province of Dauphine in southern France, was the scene each year of a colourful and animated Mardi gras carnival. In 1580, the winter festivities were especially lively; they degenerated into a bloody ambush. While costumed craftsmen and peasants mimed and danced their uprising in the streets, and notables and bourgeoisie hurried from banquets to balls in their ostentatious finery, Jean Serve-Paumier, master craftsman, draper, and leader of the popular party was assassinated and his friends and supporters beaten and pursued by the hired mob of Judge Antoine Guerin, leader of the most reactionary and inflexible part of the ruling party. More than a cruel incident, this particular Carnival night marked the intersection of an urban movement and even larger rural stirrings. Perhaps it even presaged the Revolution of 1789. Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie marshals a wealth of evidence and reveals the town of Romans as a microcosm of the political and religious antagonisms that were tearing through 16th-century France. First published in 1979.

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