Darnton, influenced by Clifford Geertz who was a colleague of Darnton's and had pioneered the approach of "thick description" in cultural anthropology, aimed to gain greater insight into the period and social groups involved by studying what he perceived to be something which appeared alien to the late modern mind – the fact that killing cats might be funny. The Great Cat Massacre and Other Episodes in French Cultural History is a nonfiction essay collection published in 1984 by American historian Robert Darnton. Robert Darnton. The Great Cat Massacre with out a doubt has one of the most unusual titles ever created especially for a book about history. Two printing-shop apprentices rounded up the neighbourhood cats, including their mistress's favourite pet, and battered them to death. This tragic event in the history of France continues to fascinate American historians and actors today. Great Cat Massacre. Darnton is a distinguished historian and a MacArthur prize fellow. Check out this great listen on Audible.ca. An early exchange between Darnton and French cultural historian Roger Chartier was subjected to a scathing analysis by Dominic LaCapra of the 'Great Symbol Massacre' involved. They found the cats guilty of witchcraft and sentenced them to death by hanging. The Great Cat Massacre consists of the analysis of six cultural artefacts, all from eighteenth-century France, layered by social group of origin and level of sophistication. Darnton concluded: The joke worked so well because the workers played so skillfully with a repertory of ceremonies and symbols. Instead of dining at the master's table, they had to eat scraps from his plate in the kitchen. Other chapters look at fairy tales, the writing of the Encyclopédiean… The worker, Nicolas Contat, told the story in an account of his apprenticeship in the shop, rue Saint-Severin, Paris, during the late 1730s. The apprentices did this, rounded up all the cats they could find, beat them half to death and held a 'trial'. LibraryThing is a cataloging and social networking site for booklovers All about The Great Cat Massacre and Other Episodes in French Cultural History by Robert Darnton. Witchcraft, orgy, cuckoldry, charivari, and massacre, the men of the Old Regime could hear a great deal in the wail of a cat. Robert Darnton | Published in History Today Volume 34 Issue 8 August 1984. Read honest and unbiased product reviews from our users. Darnton interprets this as an early form of workers' protest. “UnderstandingSociety.” : Robert Darnton. ISBN: 9780465012749. The Great Cat Massacre Chapter 5 Summary & Analysis Chapter 5 Summary: “Philosophers Trim the Tree of Knowledge: The Epistemological Strategy of The Encyclopédie” Unlike his other chapters, Darnton’s essay on The Encyclopédie —the groundbreaking Enlightenment text edited by Diderot and Jean le Rond d’Alembert—reads less like anthropological history and more like a work of literary … 4 Minutes. It was metonymic insult, delivered by actions, not words, and it struck home because cats occupied a soft spot in the bourgeois way of life. Thus the book starts with peasants' Mother Goose rhymes, goes on to urban workers (the cat massacre), and to the philosophers' encyclopaedia, via a captivating chapter based on police reports. thecatmassacre Uncategorized November 26, 2017. Darnton's approach to the historical texts he uses, both in the Cat Massacre chapter and others in the volume, has been criticised since shortly after the work's appearance for its simplistic assumptions. Robert Darnton. The worker, Nicolas Contat, told the story in an account of his apprenticeship in the shop, rue Saint- … Hey There! The Great Cat Massacre Analysis 1390 Words6 Pages Overall, the argument of The Great Cat Massacre was that a historian could use the writings of a particular point in history to determine the psychology of the people of that time. The Great Cat Massacre: And Other Episodes in French Cultural History by Robert Darnton. Trapped between incompatible sensitivities, the cats had the worst of both worlds. First Edition. They found the food especially galling. New York: Basic Books, 1984. New York: Basic Books, 1999 XIII + 298. A classic of European history, it is an essential starting point for understanding Enlightenment France. Click here for the lowest price! If you have already purchased access, or are a print & archive subscriber, please ensure you are logged in. [2][3] (As may the wife in the story, who says she believes that "they were threatened by a more serious kind of insubordination" beyond the simple stoppage of work.)[4]. Works Cited Darnton, Robert. The Great Cat Massacre with out a doubt has one of the most unusual titles ever created especially for a book about history. Basic Books, May 12, 2009 - History - 320 pages. Broad contexts: changes in twentieth-century historiography; emergence of ‘culture’ as a key category of research. [5] Harold Mah in 1991 focused directly on Darnton's account of the 'Massacre', arguing ultimately that the author had 'suppressed' the actual nature of the source in pursuit of an engaging interpretation. The funniest thing that ever happened in the printing shop of Jacques Vincent, according to a worker who witnessed it, was a riotous massacre of cats. The book's title is derived from its most famous chapter which describes and interprets an unusual source detailing the "massacre" of cats by apprentice printers living and working on Rue Saint-Séverin in Paris during the late 1730s. Life as an apprentice was hard, he explained. The Great Cat Massacre: And Other Episodes in French Cultural History. Please email digital@historytoday.com if you have any problems. The worker, Nicolas Contat, told the story in an account of his apprenticeship in the shop, rue Saint-Severin, Paris, during the late 1730s. Print. One of the apprentices imitated a cat by screaming like one for several nights, making the printer and his wife despair. Darnton shows that it is possible to figure out how illiterate people thought about the world around them, the relationships they found themselves in, the natural world, and much more. In 1730 in Paris, two apprentice printers staged a trial for their masters’ cats, condemned them to death by hanging, and carried out the sentence. Life as an apprentice was hard, he explained. By smashing the spine of la grise they called the master's wife a witch and a slut, while at the same time making the master into a cuckold and a fool. I know that you probably clicked on the link to this blog because the title had the words cat and massacre in it and that you are tempted to leave it for Snapchat or this very cool notification you just got but stick with me for the next … Buy Online Access  Buy Print & Archive Subscription. The Great Cat Massacre and Other Episodes in French Cultural History. Robert Darnton challenges the widely held assumption that cultural systems derive from social orders, and takes the beetle's eye view, picking out quirky sources that reveal the viewpoint of the 'native', dissecting what they say to then draw conclusions about the world they lived in. The Great Cat Massacre. ROBERT DARNTON. Finally, the printer ordered the cats rounded up and dispatched. Summary of the Great Cat Massacre by Robert Darnton. New York: Basic Books, 1999 XIII + 298. Find helpful customer reviews and review ratings for The Great Cat Massacre at Amazon.com. A classic of European history, it is an essential starting point for understanding Enlightenment France This book, a "quick trial run through eighteenth-century culture" (p. 257), represents a hopeful attempt to breathe some new life into l'histoire des mentalites. Now this unusual title perhaps fits this book better than any other straight - forward title Mr. Darnton could have conjured. [6], LaCapra, D. (1988). The Great Cat Massacre and Other Episodes in French Cultural History. In this case, it was of the French … Paperback, 9780394729275, 0394729277 by Robert Darnton THE FUNNIEST THING that ever happened in the printing shop of Jacques Vincent, according to a worker who witnessed it, was a riotous massacre of cats. In Paris in the 1730s, a group of printing apprentices tortured and ritually killed all the cats they could find. The worker, Nicolas Contat, told the story in an account of his apprenticeship in the shop, rue Saint-Severin, Paris, during the late 1730s. The Great Cat Massacre on the Rue Saint-Séverin was, in the words of the perpetrators, “the funniest thing that ever happened at Jacques Vincent’s printing works.”. 298. Other chapters look at fairy tales, the writing of the Encyclopédie and other aspects of French early modern history. These are some of the provocative questions the distinguished Harvard historian Robert Darnton answers The Great Cat Massacre , a kaleidoscopic view of European culture during in what we like to call "The Age of Enlightenment." The Great Cat Massacre: And Other Episodes in French Cultural History by Robert Darnton In Paris in the late 1730s an extraordinary event occurred. Using folktales, oral histories, letters, and police reports, Darnton explores the attitudes and behaviors of 18th-century French men and women, from indigent peasants to the most celebrated minds of the Enlightenment. ISBN-10: 0465012744 $17.95. The Great Cat Massacre and Other Episodes in French Cultural History is an influential collection of essays on the cultural history of early modern France by the American historian Robert Darnton, first published in 1984. What does this macabre story tell us about the culture and society of eighteenth-century France? Pp. © Copyright 2020 History Today Ltd. Company no. Aside from this, they were mistreated, beaten and exposed to cold and horrible weather. THE GREAT CAT MASSACRE is a study of the French mentality some two and a half centuries ago. Buy The Great Cat Massacre: And Other Episodes in French Cultural History By Robert Darnton. The cats were a favourite of the printer's wife and were fed much better than the apprentices, who were in turn served "catfood" (rotting meat scraps). The book containing this account, The Great Cat Massacre and Other Episodes in French Cultural History, has become one of Darnton's most popular writings; it has been published in eighteen languages. The landmark history of France and French culture in the 18th century, a winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. Cat calls summoned up Katzenmusik, for charivaris often took the form of howling under a cuckold's window on the eve of Mardi Gras, the favorite time for cat sabbaths. New York: Basic, 1984. 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