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The great cat massacre and other episodes in French cultural history. by: Darnton , Robert. Publication date: External-identifier: urn:acs6: greatcatmassacrdarn:pdf:3cd5ffacebcae-4f93f7cda1a3. Title, The great cat massacre and other episodes in French cultural history: Robert Darnton. Author, Darnton, Robert. Extent, dpi TIFF G4 page images. Read The Great Cat Massacre PDF - And Other Episodes in French Cultural History by Robert Darnton Basic Books | When the apprentices of.

Darnton The Great Cat Massacre Pdf

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The literature itself, Darnton asserts that when analysing popu- like all literature The Great Cat Massacre of Rue Saint-Séverin10 past always contains a 'silent. Review: Robert Darnton "The Great Cat Massacre and Other Episodes in French Cultural History"/"Valstiečiai seka pasakas " ir kiti socialinės kultūrinės istorijos. The Great Cat Massacre And Other Episodes In French Cultural History Robert Darnton. The Great Cat Massacre And. The Great Cat Massacre. The Great Cat.

The master Anthropology is a far from uniied disci- is more concerned with the loss of working pline, with many different lines of thought time, whereas the mistress sees it as a grave all having proponents; and there are also insult.

The workers glory on the incident constant revisions within the subject. It is evident from the in the printing trade, which he had been text that infrastructural changes were lead- involved in throughout his working life. Superstructural changes similar to that of Benjamin Franklin et al. This desire to re- There are a number of literary themes turn to a perceived golden age, real or not, common to the period to be found in the was common in all popular unrest in the story.

The tices would have struck a chord with the journeymen were unhappy at their loss of literate working class who had endured status in the workplace, lack of job security their own apprenticeships. These exaggerated serve of the increasingly distant bourgeois. The mis- possible generic sources.

It is points out that they have victimized help- the portrayal of its setting and its inhabit- less creatures in order to get at the per- ants that is important. It gives an insight ceived source of their dificulty, i. How far LaCapra all agree. Where they disagree is exactly into that society may be penetrated on the level of meaning attached to the ac- is a different matter. The society was obvi- tions by those involved.

This was the Darnton has the participants as astute case in the growing urban centres of Eu- manipulators of a vast range of polysemic 30 ISHA Carnival 30 symbols in order to exact revenge on many be so funny has proved puzzling for those levels without going into open rebellion. How so?

Robert Darnton - The Great Cat Massacre

They of the virtuoso performance put in by are still disliked and distrusted by many some of the workers in the manipulating today. Perhaps if Darnton consulted socio- of these symbols. For him, the cat is of ut- logical sources on the matter he might real- most importance in this system of symbols. The cat is a very deftly melded actions from a number of symbolic animal.

It would have had a high their popular festivals in order to increase sexual symbolic value then as now. The appli- over their livelihoods. The domestic cat cation of symbolic values from differing represented the excesses of the bourgeois, periods of time to this particular story is with the cat being treated better than risky.

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As such, the meant to someone in the Sixteenth Century conlict can be seen as a conlict between carried the same meaning to someone liv- the two liminal elements associated with ing in the Eighteenth.

Converse- The point he makes on the need to deine ly, the incident saw also saw them move the instances of behaviour in the text on further away from the household, as their the basis of the speciic way they were actions led to them being accepted into the assembled or produced rather than their opposing micro-social zone occupied by categorization according to remote resem- the journeymen blances to codiied forms among the reper- tory of Western folk inluences30 is cer- The fact that the incident was thought to tainly valid.

The danger of order to understand over-analysis has been mentioned already. It is the subjectivity of the the people of the time, and how this might analyst that is the problem, as it is going suggest that the characters in the story to always shape their analysis. Different were not the astute manipulators of sym- historians have different ideologies with bols that Darnton thought them to be.

Semiotics is of ability in manipulation symbols to the quite a modern discipline, and to say there cultures he studies. This further illustrates the conlict between the material and symbolic forms of anthro- In conclusion, anthropology and semiot- pology in their use for cultural historical ics have to be used carefully in the analysis purposes.

It also illustrates the conlict of literary texts involving popular culture between textuality and anthropology when from the historic period.

There is a severe used for these ends, as the over use of one danger of over-analysis and of going too can negate the effect of using the other. Textual attained entirely. The examination of analysis and the study of the use of sym- the symbols used by those people under bols both have a role to play. The cultures of the past did manipulate 8. Not in the Nixonian sense of the symbols, and the case study used in the term though! Darnton , pp. They had ideologies Here is where textuality is important.

The issue of double-subjectivity also needs For the full text of the story see to be borne in mind when thinking on Darnton, , pp. The subjectivity of the original A phenom- moeurs et usages singuliers des compa- enological approach to the matter could gnons imprimeurs, , edited by Giles also prove fruitful, as would the use of Barber, oxford, Darnton, , p.

The use of literary theory could also prove He and productive. The debate so far has proven lacapra point out that it was written in quite interesting and thought provoking, the third person, rather than the irst, but is still a ield in which much more work hardly standard practice for an autobi- can be done, with new approaches to be ography.

Furthermore, one should not imagine that the anthropologist has an easy time with his native informant.

He, too, runs into areas of opacity and silence, and he must interpret the native's interpretation of what the other natives think. Mental undergrowth can be as impenetrable in the bush as in the library.

But one thing seems clear to everyone who returns from field work: other people are other. They do not think the way we do. And if we want to understand their way of thinking, we should set out with the idea of capturing otherness. Translated into the terms of the historian's craft, that may merely sound like the familiar injunction against anachronism.

It is worth repeating, nonetheless; for nothing is easier than to slip into the comfortable assumption that Europeans thought and felt two centuries ago just as we do todayallowing for the wigs and wooden shoes. We constantly need to be shaken out of a false sense of familiarity with the past, to be administered doses of culture shock. There is no better way, I believe, than to wander through the archives. One can hardly read a letter from the Old Regime without coming up against surprisesanything from the constant dread of toothaches, which existed everywhere, to the obsession with braiding dung for display on manure heaps, which remained confined to certain villages.

What was proverbial wisdom to our ancestors is completely opaque to us. Open any eighteenth-century book of proverbs, and you will find entries such as: "He who is 4 Introduction snotty, let him blow his nose. By picking at the document where it is most opaque, we may be able to unravel an alien system of meaning.

The thread might even lead into a strange and wonderful world view. This book attempts to explore such unfamiliar views of the world.

It proceeds by following up the surprises provided by an unlikely assortment of texts: a primitive version of "Little Red Riding Hood," an account of a massacre of cats, a bizarre description of a city, a curious file kept by a police inspectordocuments that cannot be taken to typify eighteenth-century thought but that provide ways of entering into it.

The discussion begins with the most vague and general expressions of world view and becomes increasingly precise. Chapter 1 provides an exegesis of the folklore that was familiar to nearly everyone in France but was especially pertinent to the peasantry. Chapter 2 interprets the lore of a group of urban artisans. Moving up the social scale, chapter 3 shows what urban life meant to a provincial bourgeois. T h e scene then shifts to Paris and the world of the intellectualsfirst as it was seen by the police, who had their own way of framing reality chapter 4 , then as it was sorted out epistemologically in the key text of the Enlightenment, the Discours preliminaire of the Encydopedie chapter 5.

The last chapter then shows how Rousseau's break with the Encyclopedists opened up a new way of thinking and feeling, one that can be appreciated by rereading Rousseau from the perspective of his readers. The notion of reading runs through all the chapters, for one can read a ritual or a city just as one can read a folktale or a philosophic text.

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The mode of exegesis may vary, but in each case one reads for meaningthe meaning inscribed by contemporaries in whatever survives of their vision of the world. I have therefore tried to read my way through the eighteenth century, and I have appended texts to my interpretations so that my own reader can interpret these texts and disagree with me. I do not expect to have the last word and do not pretend to completeness.

This book does not provide an inventory of ideas and attitudes in all the social groups and geographical regions of the Old Regime. Instead of chasing after them, I have pursued what seemed to be the richest run of documents, following leads wherever they went and quickening my pace as soon as I stumbled on a surprise.

Straying from the beaten path may not be much of a methodology, but it creates the possibility of enjoying some unusual views, and they can be the most revealing. I do not see why cultural history should avoid the eccentric or embrace the average, for one cannot calculate the mean of meanings or reduce symbols to their lowest common denominator. This confession of nonsystematism does not imply that anything goes in cultural history because anything can pass as anthropology.

The anthropological mode of history has a rigor of its own, even if it may look suspiciously like literature to a hard-boiled social scientist. It begins from the premise that individual expression takes place within a general idiom, that we learn to classify sensations and make sense of things by thinking within a framework provided by our culture.

It therefore should be possible for the historian to discover the social dimension of thought and to tease meaning from documents by relating them to the surrounding world of significance, passing from text to context and back again until he has cleared a way through a foreign mental world.

This kind of cultural history belongs to the interpretive sciences. It may seem too literary to be classified under the appellation controlee of "science" in the English-speaking world, but it fits in nicely with the sciences humaines in France.

It is not an easy genre, and it is bound to be imperfect, but it should not be impossible, even in English.

All of us, French and "Anglo-Saxons," pedants as well as peasants, operate within cultural constraints, just as we all share conventions of speech. So historians should be able to see how cultures shape ways of thinking, even for the greatest thinkers. A poet or philosopher may push a language to its limits, but at some point he will hit against the outer frame of meaning.

The Great Cat Massacre: And Other Episodes in French Cultural History

Beyond it, madness liesthe fate of Holderlin and Nietzsche. But within it, great men can test and shift the boundaries of meaning.Different were not the astute manipulators of sym- historians have different ideologies with bols that Darnton thought them to be.

D37 '. MacArthur Foundation whose award of a prize fellowship made it possible for me to suspend my normal work in order to follow up and finish what must have appeared to be a risky enterprise. This last injustice brought Contat to the theme of cats. It proceeds by following up the surprises provided by an unlikely assortment of texts: a primitive version of "Little Red Riding Hood," an account of a massacre of cats, a bizarre description of a city, a curious file kept by a police inspectordocuments that cannot be taken to typify eighteenth-century thought but that provide ways of entering into it.

Robert Darnton - The Great Cat Massacre

This confession of nonsystematism does not imply that anything goes in cultural history because anything can pass as anthropology. It is a case for the cure, who is an intimate of ehe household and ehe confessor of Madame.

When she died, the pallbearers could not lift her coffin; they opened the lid, and a black cat jumped out. Beyond it, madness liesthe fate of Holderlin and Nietzsche.