14 July 2009

Happy Bastille Day!

Bastille day commemorates the French Revolution, or more precisely the storming of the Bastille, which happened on this day back in 1789.

School may be out for the summer but the calendar often offers teachable moments. Here's a good overview of Bastille Day written for kids -- including just how insulting Marie Antoinette's famous words were. [Wanna learn more? Do some research through the Internet Archive.]

Why should we care? Well, the French Revolution gave the world restaurants (as opposed to dark, ale-filled inns), and provided the central plot elements for Charles Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities (the only Dickens book I have actually managed to read cover to cover without resorting to Coles Notes or similar crib sheets). [Ooh, here's an audio version too.]

And in case that was too much information, here's some Mel Brooks to take your mind off it all (be warned this is a PG-13 clip...):


Star said...

Shame on you. Ther is no better literature than a Dicken's Novel. I will sed you myy copy of Great Expectations if you like. We do Bastlle Day up right here.http://www.easternstate.org/specialevents/bastille.php#@jul14

Star lways wanted to go. Never did. Her friends went after the fact.

Cheryl said...

Star, that reenactment looks fantastic (and right up Sarcasmo's alley, too!)

I assure you, however, you will not get me to read Dickens or Austen or any of a long list of classics. I just. can't. do it. My brain checks out, my eyes glaze, and I start to get this tight feeling in my neck....

It's one of the primary reasons I got a history major and a lit minor instead of the other way around. The other reason? I can't stand reading Shakespeare plays (although I love to see them performed).

Also, once I finished my degree, I vowed not to waste my time reading stuff I don't enjoy -- and I've kept to that with the exception of a few items I've reviewed.