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The Gods Will Have Blood
« on: November 03, 2007, 02:20:41 PM »
(One of my favorite literary works of all time.)


The novel The Gods Will Have Blood, which was written by Anatole France, tells tell the story of the people who lived during the French Revolution of the 18th century. Specifically, the novel tells the story of a man by the name of Evariste Gamelin and how he is affected by the Revolution, showcasing how the Revolution can change a person completely when given power; all in the name of the Revolution and for the good of the state. Evariste Gamelin, starts as an idealistic, honourable and just person devoted to the Republic, but turns into a dangerous fanatic who becomes complately numb to the world in his duty for the Revolution.

Though the man by the name of Evariste Gamelin may have been influentially responsible for the deaths of many of his fellow countrymen by the feared guillotine in his later years; he was a humble and simple borgeouise member of society prior to the outbreak of the French Revolution. As described by Anatole France in the first chapter of the novel The Gods Will Have Blood, Evariste Gamelin was an artist, a pupil of Jacques Louis David, who was the most famous artist of the period, and was a supporter of Maximilien Robespierre and a member of the Convention. Citizen Evariste Gamelin can also be described as a man of strong convictions, of which he so strongly believed to be for the good for the state and the people. His very own mannerisms illustrated and depicted an aura of purpose and revolutionary spirit, which can be seen in page 27 of the novle, “Evariste Gamelin strode purposefully up the nave: the arches, which for so long had heard the holy officeers of the day chanted by the surplice-clad brothers of the community of St. Paul.”

Mesouir Evariste Gamelin is also a man of respectable nature, one who was even recognized as a respectable man in a conversation with the magistrate, “I knew you would come and put your name to it, Citizen Gamelin. Made of the right stuff you are. That’s the trouble with this section; there aren’t enough like you. Lukewarm most of them; no moral backbone. I’ve put it to the Committee of Surveillance that all those who don’t sign this petition don’t get their certificate of citizenship,” (France, 28). The response that Gamelin gives to the magistrate tells much about his character and Revolutionary zealotry, “I’d sign with my blood to get these Federalist traitors banished…the citizens will have to be made to come. Fine them, if they don’t,” (France, 28). That last statement was the response Gamelin gave to the magistrate on the issue of apathetic citizens failing to complete their revolutionary purpose. The tone in which the statement was said is an epitome of how deep the French Revolution has truly influenced the domestic life of people; in particular that of the life of Evariste Gamelin.

There is one particular passage in the novel The Gods Will Have Blood that depicts how the French Revolution has changed the mindset of the main character Evariste Gamelin in that he himself begins to detest the old artistic style of pre-revolutionary France as an enslavement of the mind and a classed structure; “He recognized in them the degrading effects of the monarchy and the shameful corruptive influences of the Courts. He accused himself of having been taken in by such contemptible style and of having demeaned his genius by such enslavement,” (France, 35). Gamelin describes classic art of monarchic styles as a form of ‘enslavement’ and he strategically states that his interest now is in the charcoal sketches of “Liberty, of the Rights of Man, of the French laws, of the Republican virtues or proletarian Hercules overwhelming the Hydra of Tyranny,” which illustrates how his inner artistic nature has been changed and influenced by the Revolution.

 One example of how the character of Evariste Gamelin has been influenced by the cheers of the people would be when Gamelin was defending Guillergues in court and said before the court, “When considering a crime so great as stealing the sinews of victory from the defenders of our country, we need to be shown positive proof of guilt. We have not been shown any proof,” (France, 135) and as a result of this, the verdict was not guilty. To the surprise of Gamelin, he was cheered as the hero of the Revolution, a man who stood up for the rights of his fellow man and in the process. Such words that were herded to Gamelin were, “Evariste! You’re good, you’re so noble, and you’re so generous! Listening to you in there, your voice was so gentle and so manly.” These words and auspicious blessings from the people further enhanced Gamelin’s blind conviction on the Republic and on the good of the revolution; it solidified his view that through the court would justice be done unto the people for the people and by the people.
Power and blind conviction hardens the heart of Evariste Gamelin and changes him from a melodramatic artisan and a lover to a man who became a mere shell of his former self. Gamelin demonstrates this in one particular trial, in which he convicts a former aristocratic General as well as a poor old woman who demonstrated treacherous Royalist sentiments and he reasoned that she rightful deserved the justice of death as he reasoned in his own words, “ If reserved only for the aristocrats, the guillotine would have appeared to him as a sort of iniquitous privilege,” as a result of this, Gamelin was beginning to turn punishment into a religious and mystical ideal, to give it a virtue and merit of its own. In the end he truly believes that society owed its criminals their proper punishments as a right of the people. The novel Let the Gods Have Blood successfully shows the total change of characters by the French Revolution; in this case it is the character of Mesouir Evariste Gamelin, who was once an artist in training; later becoming one of the many men who were responsible for the deaths of the thousands of innocent French citizens. Gamelin is rather important in that it illustrates the gravity of the French Revolution and its deep rooted effects in the daily lives of French politics, government, and civilian life.


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Re: The Gods Will Have Blood
« Reply #1 on: August 28, 2008, 10:43:19 PM »
I highly recommend this book to those who are into the French Revolutionary time period.

The battle between Republicanism and authority of the citizen.
The battle of the guillotine and the Flag!

 

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Re: The Gods Will Have Blood
« Reply #2 on: January 15, 2009, 06:37:24 AM »
So, anyone have opinions on this book?

Where are the history and political science lovers out there?

Let us discuss this book..

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Re: The Gods Will Have Blood
« Reply #3 on: April 09, 2009, 01:02:23 AM »
Hello,

I have finished the book and your summary is spot on. I couldn't understand how the author explained this reign of terror and it's end.


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Re: The Gods Will Have Blood
« Reply #4 on: April 09, 2009, 03:14:27 AM »

Anatole France's novel gives us, the readers and historians, the ability to analyze the situation in the ground during the height of the revolution, after the convention of 1791 and after the execution of His Imperial French Majesty, King Louis XVI, Her Imperial Majesty Queen Marie Antoinette and the rest of the French Honored Aristocracy.

What started with the aristocracy spiralled down to the commom man being convicted on the grounds of 'subversive thought' against the good of the Revolution.

We can see this in optimum when Maximilien Robespierre, himself, was convicted against the Revolution and sentenced to death by the Guillotine. The term 'Reign of Terror' was a symbolic reference in regards to the Guillotine and the mass executions immediately after the execution of French Monarchy.

The instability of the French Revolution, led to popular dissent, and paved the road for military men such as Napoleon Bonaparte, who would export French Revoluitonary ideals throughout the Absolute Monarchies of Europe; per se Spain, Netherlands, Belgium, The Prussian Empire, the Austrian-Hungarian Empire and the Russian Empire.

Ironically, the Reign of Terror would end when Napoloean, himself, crowned himself the Emperor of the French Empire and the French People.

Thereby betraying the very ideals of Revolutionary Republicanism. The very monarchy the Revolution repudiated, would be replaced for another.

Great book. It illustrates the liability of too much 'People's Power' and the necessity in having a secure and able government. Lest Anarchy subvert the entire nation, in the end that is what the 'Reign of Terror' was. Anarchy in the guise of revolutionary idealism in absence of a governmental body to check it.




Lorenzo,

eclipsepers0n

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Re: The Gods Will Have Blood
« Reply #5 on: April 09, 2009, 03:48:09 AM »
Hello,

Wow, I never knew that the Reign of Terror was a reference to the guillotine. Where you or are you a history major>??

Last but not least, in the past several decades historians of the French Revolution have increasingly studied how the revolutionaries sought to create an entirely new society, culture, economy and even people’s sense of identity.  How does A. France explore this attempt to create a new world and new selves in The Gods Will Have Blood ? 

Lorenzo

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Re: The Gods Will Have Blood
« Reply #6 on: April 09, 2009, 04:36:15 AM »
Eclipse,

I was a History and Biology Major in undergraduate. Presently, am a medical student in the USA.
Are you a history student as well? :)

As for your question, A. France's novel explores the attempt to a create a new world by implementing a coup de tat; the removal of the French Monarchy and the Aristocracy.

They implemented a Voltaire-Locke style solution. France's novelty gave us, the reader, a micro-macroscopic vantage point.

We tend to see the French Revolution in the larger perspective, but France's novelty allows us to see the revolution in the eyes of the 'common man'. This one happens to be that of Citizen Evariste Gamelin.


Best of luck!


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Re: The Gods Will Have Blood
« Reply #7 on: April 09, 2009, 04:44:34 AM »
It is also important to note that this novel beautifully explores the effects of power; power that corrupts the soul of innocents, in this case, Citizen Gamelin was forever changed from an artist-pupil during pre-revolutionary France to that of a politician-leader during the height of the 'Reign of Terror'.

When I read this book, I surmised that A. France's probably tried to use Evariste Gamelin as a representative of Robespierre; a psychological analysis, so to say, on the evolution of Robespierre's character and persona as he held on to power. Epitomizes the ever-changing effects of the Revolution.


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Re: The Gods Will Have Blood
« Reply #8 on: April 09, 2009, 11:31:07 AM »
I am a sociology major..  Great stuff you have here... How is life as medical personal??

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Re: The Gods Will Have Blood
« Reply #9 on: April 09, 2009, 11:39:19 AM »

Sociology is a great field, always wanted to take a sociology course, but never had the time to do so.

Thanks for taking the time to read, I posted this almost 2 years ago, and it took 2 years to elicit a response from a fellow French Revolutionary reader. :)

Are you interested in European History?

Medicine is great, I can't complain.

Thanks for reading!


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Re: The Gods Will Have Blood
« Reply #10 on: April 14, 2009, 01:27:57 PM »

Ricky,

I do have a question for you, since you read this, I always wanted to ask another this question: "Do you think Evariste over-did his role? Was there a limit to the revolutionary mandates? Additionally, do you think that The Revolution violated the moral principles of the Great European Enlightenment ?"

Sure, the Revolutionaries had the right to change their government, but were they substantiated in forcibly exporting their revolutionary ideals at the expense and lives of other foreign nations (nationals)? Per se the Austrian-Hungarian Empire, Spanish Empire, German Rhine States and Russia?

Just wanted to know your view on the matter.

Do reply, please.


Waiting,
Lorenzo

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Re: The Gods Will Have Blood
« Reply #11 on: April 19, 2009, 10:16:53 PM »
Question:
Quote
Hi, i just read France's Novel and i need to write a paper on this novel on a historical aspect, instead of a literary one, which i am having trouble with. I was wondering if you could help me. the questions have already been asked to you:
How does France explore this attempt to create a new world and new selves in The Gods Will Have Blood? Does he see this as a good or bad thing?
or
How does France explain the Terror and its eventual end?


My Answer:

The question you asked, "how does france explore this attempt to create a new world and new selves in TGWHB? Is this in a positive light or a negative?

THAT is an interesting question because it precludes us to make an objective analysis on the novel, so to say, our own opinion on the matter. Some will say that France portrayed the revolution as a means to liberation in the basis of French ideologue of the day, "Liberte', Fraternite et Egalite'".

The Reign of Terror, can be seen as being necessary to completely root out the old governmental system, literally meaning the execution of the Capet-based French Monarchy and the landed aristocracy.

Only through revolution could the new French Republic have been established, else, other aristocratic powers would have intervened in wars to re-establish the monarchical system, which of course is what happened. Remember? The French war with Hapsburg Empire (Austria-Hungarian Empire) because Marine Antoinette was a princess of the Hapsburgian court. Spain, Prussia, And Austria all declared war on the fledgling French Republic for just that reason: To re-supplant the monarchy in France. And to put down the rebellion, else it owuld spread like a wildfire throughout Europe.

France's novel points out just that necessity. To rid of the monarchy and aristocracy before foreign powers had the chance to supplant them back into power.

The 'gods' so to say merely represents the French Revolution and its supporters. French Republicans.

Terror is represented as a 'means' to an end. In order for a true Republic to have been established in France, as like the American Colonies, it was necessity to completely sever the Monarchical threat. Only then, ...and after that...was peace realized.

But then again, if you read contemporary modern history, that just doesn't happen. Napoleon betrays that notion of Republicanism by carving a French Empire and declaring himself as 'Emperor' of the French. And marrying a wife that was of royal blood line (of hapsburg decent). lol.

In this case, power does corrupt. Absolutely. (This of course follows the major rule of Lord Acton's quote)


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Re: The Gods Will Have Blood
« Reply #12 on: April 19, 2009, 10:39:00 PM »
Adding to that,

I think that the most important epochial transition in Western History would be the 'twin' revolutions:

1. The American Revolution
2. The French Revolution

Why is this? What did it lead to? What were the effects?

First, and foremost, these two politico-milita phenomenons forever changed the atmosphere and environment of Western political and cultural ideologues. The severance of the American colonies from the Mother Country, The British Empire, challenged the very notion of absolute control of the mother country to the colony; thereby challenging the notion that the mother country was prime and that the sole role of the colony was to support and supplement the mother country; not vice versa. We observe the abuses of political and human rights of many Americans by British over-taxation, quartering, taxation without representation, occupation of ships, forced husbrandry, limitation of expansion in the west, etc. (there is a continuum of grievances). The fact that America declared independence from Britain, challenged the supremity of the the British Monarchy (King George the III) and His Majesty's Parliament. Britain sent out its military to put down the American revolution (insurrectionists, as we were called), but were defeated by the strategic allinace between America and France. General Lord Cornwallis offering his sword to surrender in 1781 in the Battle of Yorktown forever changed the climate of the West.

As you see, France was still an absolute monarchy, under the rule of King Louis XVI, and after the American Revolution, the very idealism of constitutional rights, universal human rights, as well as the classical concepts of The Great Enlightenment were stressed. Louis XVI's inability to tackle the political dynamics of the day was the prerequisite for the storming of the Bastille and the eruption of the French Revolution.

The french revolution is by far the most important political dynamic that occurred the West. Its similar to the American counterpart, but far more extreme and on another level.

America merely established a republic and removal of monarchical government, but retained the provincial level of governance and built upon that aspect. The 'states' merely took over of the Colony-Province. Governors remained in power, the landed aristocracy retained their land, power, and slaves. And with that, influence in Washington. (until 1861, of course ;)  )

France was different. France completely and utterly extinguished the Monarchy. The execution of The king, the queen, and the landed noble aristocracy (barons, baroness, marquies, count, countesses etc).

Then during the reign of Napoleon, though he declared himself Emperor of the French, he still retained and exported the revolutionary ideals. He defeated the Spanish Empire and forcibly abdicated the Spanish King (of the Bourbon Dynasty) for his brother, Joseph. And made Spain adopt revolutionary ideals that decentralized and weakened the governmental system of Spain.

This political manifesto in Spain was the DIRECT cause of the weakening of Mother-Country to colony, thereby leading to the revolution of Spain's Latin American colonies. The reason for this is becaue the colonies remained loyal to King Fernando VII, and protested the usurper, Joseph (who was the brother of Napoleon).

France's invasion of Austria-Hungary was complete. Austrian-Hungarian forces were unable to defeat the French in the battlefield, as a result, the Austrians became a client state of the French, and the the absolute monarchy in Austria was weakened, leading to further developments of republicanism and democratic ideals in that country later on.

The same for the Prussian Empire, the same for Russia etc etc.

Basically, the French Revolution represents a new chapter in Western/European climate. The end of the centuries-old Absolute Monarchy and the rise of the the Republic/ Constitutionalism, and later on: Marxism/Communism.


Best,
Lorenzo

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Re: The Gods Will Have Blood
« Reply #13 on: April 19, 2009, 10:59:09 PM »
ADDENDUM:

I have discussed this before with many other colleagues and studied the military campaigns of the French and the Spanish in the 1795 war with Spain and France, and later on in 1806.

The defeat of Spain to the French, though was of tacitical precision, was unfair consiering the rules of engagement of the day.

First of all, when the French forces advanced, they sent a force of some 50,000 man strong with reserve units.

Spain at this time, was a mighty empire, owning and ruling over 1/5th of the world's landmass (Southwestern North American, Central America, South America, Philippines, Guam, Marianas, Pacific islands, and parts of India, parts of southern Italy).

Due to their global interests and expansion, Spain's 1 million-man army was pitifully spread around the world. She had divisions in Mexico, in Peru, In Argentina, in Philippines. The Spanish Army was unprepared for the French invasion, and was only able to muster no more than 25,000 man strong force to meet the French threat. By the time the Spanish forces were able to send reinforcements, Madrid had already fallen to French forces, which overwhelmed the Spanish forces due to shear numerical superiority.

Joseph, who was the brother of Napoleon, was placed on the Royal Spanish Throne, to the unpopularity of the Spanish Catholic Church, to the masses and to the military. When news spread to Spain's American Colonies of this dynamic effect, the people were in revolt. The landed aristocracy in the Viceroyalties of Nueva Espana, La Plata y Peru were in revolt. Thus beginning the PENINSULAR WAR.

The reason why the Latin American colonies revolted was because they were loyal to the King Fenando VII, and the old monarchical system. After Joseph was abdicated, and the restablishment of normalcy, with King Fernando VII taking the throne again. The effect was already established.

After the 7 years of occupation from the French, Spain was in economic turmoil, and its once massive military, was reduced to a mere fraction. Spain, immediately tried to reclaim its colonies in the Name of the King of Spain. To the surprise of the Spanish, they were met with hostility and indignation by the Latin Americans. The Latin Americans, who were independent for some time and liked the notion of self-rule, refused to offer fealty to the Spanish.

Spain, in anger, unleashed its anger to its colonies by waging a war of re-conquest. Hence called the PENINSULAR WAR. Spain was unable to suppress the massive revolutions, many of its armies defecting to the side of the insurrectionists.

Finally in 1820, Spain realized the futility of its actions, acquiesced.

The expedience of the fall of the Spanish Empire, was totally in effect a result of the French Revolution. Undoubtedly.

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Re: The Gods Will Have Blood
« Reply #14 on: April 21, 2009, 02:55:18 AM »
the book was hard to get into at first, the later part was a bit easier but i still have question that i dont really understand....

how does A. France interpret/explain the reign of terror?

how does A. France explain/interpret how the reign of terror eventually ends?


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Re: The Gods Will Have Blood
« Reply #15 on: April 21, 2009, 03:17:57 AM »

Eminem,

A. France leaves that the reader to infer objective analysis.


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Re: The Gods Will Have Blood
« Reply #16 on: April 21, 2009, 03:39:33 AM »
Eminem,

I already answered these question in my previous posts.


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Re: The Gods Will Have Blood
« Reply #17 on: April 21, 2009, 03:42:01 AM »
A review summary by Sharon B of Blog A Penguin Classic:
http://www.blogapenguinclassic.com/site/pcReadReview.php5?review_id=25

Quote
This is an engrossing tale of love and obsession set during the final days of the French Revolution. Evariste Gamelin, the main protagonist harbours a deep desire to do the right thing for the good of France and its people. Accepting a post as magistrate enables him to dispense justice to those he believes do not share his ideals. But it is soon clear his passion has escalated out of control into obsession. No longer capable of judging right from wrong he becomes, in the words of his mother, "a monster". And his justice is no longer confined to those brought before him at Tribunal, but encompasses perceived wrongs committed by his family, fiancée, neighbours and friends. He saves no one and this ultimately includes himself.

Gamelin is one of a number of memorable, if not all likeable, characters in the book, including his fiancée Eloide. As his fanaticism escalates, so does her revulsion for both him and herself as his increasing cruelty ignites desire in her.

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Re: The Gods Will Have Blood
« Reply #18 on: April 21, 2009, 10:22:08 AM »
oh i did not see the answers, thank you...i understand a little better!

Another question....

what are the enlightenment ideals and how do they manifest into terror?

how is religion connected to enlightenment ideals?

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Re: The Gods Will Have Blood
« Reply #19 on: April 21, 2009, 03:39:59 PM »

No problem, yea, I explained and went in-depth. Am sure you will find many of your answers in my previous posts.

Enlightenment ideals are humanistic, my friend. They are notions and beliefs that proclaim the universality of human rights, equality, democracy, fraternity, and egalitarianism.

To better understand, I advice your read the works of Voltaire, Lock, Thorne, Montesque and De Maupassant.

You opined, "how did the enlightenment cause the reign of terror"

It didnt' cause the reign of terror; the enlightenment was a philosophical manifestation of the thinkers; philosophers, politicians, theologians of the day--as a response to the abuses and totalitarianism of the governmental system in place: Absolute Monarchy.

The enlightenment, in nature, is peaceful, and just is just that---ENLIGHTENING.

The abuses of power, deaths, and instability that we observe in the French revolution wasn't caused by the Enlightenment. It was caused by men, and a copious horde of masses that executed peoples/thinkers that didn't believe and share the same view as they. They murdered, and extolled grievances in the name of Revolution, not knowing that their very actions--was the very antithesis of The Great Enlightenment.

In analyzing the situation, I think it is adequate to refer to Lord Acton's quote, "..absolute power corrupts absolutely."

How is religion connected to the enlightenment ideals?
If you read new testament and old testament, you will know what I'm talking about.


Good luck on your paper. :)



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2012 New Books - Blood, Bone, and Butter

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