What did I do?
Revised and organised research of previous week
This included transferring and expanding on my notes, taken while watching documentaries and reading articles, and reviewing the specifics of the relevant events prior to and during the revolution. I had to source additional articles for making these notes which were helpful in understanding the differing perspectives of circumstances and events – political, social, economical and, in some cases, personal contexts.
Researched the Enlightenment period
As Romanticism was a reaction to the Enlightenment period, it would make sense that the Enlightenment was, naturally, the opposite of the Romantic ideals. In the case of the French Revolution, and the influence that Enlightenment had on that society, a blend of Romantic and Enlightened ideas can be seen. Liberalism and the search for true, uncensored knowledge is one way of describing the Enlightenment, the independent inquiry and the questioning of received ideas and traditions is another. The Enlightenment ideals questioned the idea of dictatorship and inequality as it stifled true independence. In a way, while Romanticism celebrated the originality, creativity and imagination of the individual, Enlightenment encouraged and pushed for the individual to investigate into what they have been taught, and not simply accepting the politics of life.
I now have better grounding for my story and feel as though I will be able to expand on my ideas more accurately, and therefore, more confidently.
Researched setting for the nobility
The Nobility (the Second Estate) of France composed a mere 5% of the French population by the year 1789. The Clergy (the First Estate) amounted to 1%, making the Third Estate the large majority of the 28 million citizens of France, the farmers, doctors, bakers, shop owners, servants, etc. (essentially, everyone else – as they are commonly referred to) Unless the country was in a time of war, the nobility were not enforced to pay taxes, meaning that the wealth remained with the rich.
The women of nobility would follow the ever-changing fashion trends, spearheaded by Marie Antoinette herself. Self-indulgence was merely a hobby. During the time of speculation about Enlightenment, the nobility flaunted their wit with discussions and debates on the subject, not fully realising the movement’s meaning and the possible impact that it could cause. It was simply dinner party conversation.
The title of nobility could be achieved by adhering to the following criteria: the traditional old nobility, those who hold high offices (roles) for the King, those who hold official charges (responsibilities), those in the charge of a state/city/town, those who hold military offices and magistrates or men of law, amongst others. [Full list]
My story is to be set in the following (so far and in no particular order):
- The home of a noblewoman
- The Queens Gardens (or Petit Trianon)
- A street near the Bastille
- The house of Jean-Paul Marat
- The exit route attempted by King Louis XVI and Queen Marie-Antoinette
- The home of a peasant woman (for want of a better name)
- The crowd of the execution of Marie Antoinette
- The trial of Marie Antoinette
Image: (2011) Septon G. The Gardens of Versailles. https://gsepton.wordpress.com/2011/10/14/back-in-paris-to-versailles-friday-october-14-2011/