Unruly Women of Paris: Images of the Commune (Paperback)Gay L. Gullickson (author)
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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.
Publisher: Cornell University Press
Number of pages: 304
Weight: 454 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 17 mm
"Gullickson does what few have attempted before: to trace the ways images of women first took shape in contemporary writings and cartoons, including those by women themselves, and then made their way over the years into the writings of politicians and historians. A definitive and fascinating interdisciplinary study of the highest quality."-- Lynn Hunt, University of Pennsylvania
"Gullickson offers a persuasive account based on an almost exhaustive marshaling of the relevant evidence.... a contribution to our fuller understanding of the Commune and its role in reinforcing gender stereotypes."* American Historical Review *
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