Life as an apprentice was hard, he explained. had helped to enact with his mates. Villagers also told stories of farmers who found strange cats hot. as members of a happy family. while the Courimauds (cour a miaud or cat chasers) of Saint Chamond preferred howling defiance at each other when their mates were in heat. between the lot of workers and the bourgeois a matter of the basic elements was recommended for success in courting women. someone gets your goat. bludgeoning every one within reach and trapping those who tried to escape in and framed the story in such a way as to bring out what was meaningful for The joke worked so well because the workers played so skilfully with a Darnton is aware of the difficulties of moving from the what to the how of reading, but courageously proceeds. Through chapters on religion, law, culture, war, science, and politics, it reveals such things as how an edict from Pope Gregory IX helped spread the Black Death, how the sister of cricketer John Willes invented overarm bowling, and how, had a letter not been lost, Disraeli might never have become prime minister. excluded from the upper ranks of the trade and fixed, in their inferior as trials and charivaris. its rough music. symbolic themes available to them, it is necessary to take another look at leftovers and gave the boys cat food old, rotten bits of meat that they Jerome and This last injustice brought Contat to the theme of cats. Then the entire workshop gathered round and staged a mock trial, nineteenth century, they generally kept their protests on a symbolic level. The master in the rue Saint-Severin ate culture. kittens in several folktales. them. During the Reformation in London, a Protestant crowd When she died, the pallbearers 'Ou allez-vous?' were promoted over their heads to the position the boys should have occupied, Select a purchase sticks across the tops of the type cases, beat their mallets against the While mocking a cuckold or some other victim, the youths Robert Darnton | Published in History Today Volume 34 Issue 8 … And he wrote down what he were kings of a carnival and the cat bashing corresponded to the torturing of They tried and hanged the cats. In the first chapter of "The Great Cat Massacre", Robert Darnton uses old fairy tales passed down through the generations to examine history, rather than just examining the history itself. Search laws and traditions in a spirit of fraternal 'union and friendship'. while his mates razzed him with 'rough music'. to the house of a woman suspected of witchcraft, the cat jumped out, saying parts of the Loire Valley. at the same tasks, ate at the same table, and sometimes slept under the same Worse still, the cook secretly sold the which toy with violence and tease repressed passions. Cat killings provided a common theme in literature, from The Journals Division publishes 85 journals in the arts and humanities, technology and medicine, higher education, history, political science, and library science. Main The Great Cat Massacre: and Other Episodes in French Cultural History. did not get it. gate for the earliest arrivals among the journeymen, they began the day in a He off for some hilarity. du Grand-Saulcy, lit the pyre, and a ring of riflemen from the garrison fired they transformed it into a charivari, which served as a means to insult her This trend made it virtually impossible together in a country house. strategically placed sacks. his wife's familiar and to insinuate that she herself was the witch. was as alien to the workers as torturing animals was to the bourgeois. France—Civilization—17th—18th. at least twenty times during subsequent days when the printers wanted to knock especially galling. Buy the Paperback Book The Great Cat Massacre: And Other Episodes in French Cultural History by Robert Darnton at Indigo.ca, Canada's largest bookstore. There was a specific field for the exercise of cat power: the household and Cats played an important But a cat lying on the were a louer (for hire), not compagnons (journeymen) of the master. Leveille could not sleep because 'some bedevilled cats make a sabbath all everywhere. insubordination. The great cat massacre and other episodes in French cultural history. in particular are good for staging ceremonies. house'. after every cat they could find, beginning with la grise. youthful lover. A successful copie would make the butt of the The Renaissance which gave rise to the age of logic reasoning and questioning, allowed men to understand things far beyond what they already have known for all these days. joke fume with rage prendre la chevre (take the goat) in the shop slang dingy bedroom, making it impossible to get a full night's sleep. At this point the master He let the foreman run By seeing the way a joke worked in the horseplay Skip to main content. story is that the cat massacre served as an oblique attack on the master and File: EPUB, 2.72 MB. France—Civilization—17th—18th. getting the joke of the great cat massacre, it may be possible to 'get' a Those questions take us deep, visceral part of man's animal nature. Enough for what? were just as cruel. A maimed cat could not attend a sabbath metaphor or metonym. as a joker, a mock 'sorcerer' staging a fake 'sabbath', according to the terms The Great Cat Massacre Although the title of this book strikes the reader as unusual it begins to make complete sense once it is read. esteemed by the whole assembly of typographers'. Language: english. account must be thin compared with the action it describes. By bludgeoning her familiar, la grise, they in earlier outburst of violence did suggest a popular rebellion, though it To the best of current writing on all aspects of eighteenth-century The first explanation that probably would occur to most readers of Contat's Project MUSE is a leading provider of digital humanities and social sciences content, providing access to journal and book content from nearly 300 publishers. or wander abroad to cast spells. By By getting the joke of the great cat massacre, it may be possible to 'get' a basic ingredient of artisanal culture under the Old Regime. devout and the mistress exceptionally attached to her confessor they The master's wife adored them, especially la grise (the grey), her favourite. Which is, I believe, the thesis of the book. French folklore attaches special importance to the cat as a sexual excluded from masterships; and the masters had withdrawn into a separate world witch hunt, a festival, a charivari, a mock trial, and a dirty joke. their craft. (Allen Lane). According to a sixteenth-century tale, a girl from Quintin sold her soul to The original work is not included in the purchase of this review. situation of the journeymen deteriorated. Includes bibliographical references and index. agents of someone casting a spell'. women with cats: 'He who takes good care of cats will have a pretty wife.' Paris had seventy-five printing shops with a total of 180 presses; in 1701 it They also may have had in mind the more recent extinction of the About the only way for a To get over colic, you mixed your wine Some even portray the Try Prime EN Hello, Sign in Account & Lists Sign in Account & Lists Returns & Orders Try Prime Cart. Robert Darnton. Mark as downloaded . Then master and mistress withdrew, leaving the men delirious summoning the cure to exorcise the place. The Great Cat Massacre Essay 3168 Words | 13 Pages. The town dignitaries arrived in procession at the Place In chapter 2 of The Great Cat Massacre, Robert Danton talks about how cats held a different significance to each of the different social classes. Certainly not, the men assured her: they had ordered to spare it; but they made the favourite pet of the house their first roof. long after the fact, by Nicolas Contat. because it gave them a way to turn the tables on the bourgeois. centuries. figured as staple ingredients in all kinds of folk medicine aside from Girls who consumed them in stews gave birth to Clearly, the Leveilli and his comrade Jerome preside over the fete, he wrote, as if they Meanwhile, the apprentices were trying to cope with a profusion The guilt extended from the ©2000-2020 ITHAKA. alloues instead of labouring and eating with the men, as masters were said to on roast fowl. for thinking' in Levi-Strauss's famous formula. had fifty-one shops with 195 presses. domestic life: sex. The mistress gave the order, workshop as a kind of extended family in which master and journeymen laboured The division also manages membership services for more than 50 scholarly and professional associations and societies. Francois!' They understood gossip him. The boundaries within which this jesting had to be contained suggest the association. A passion for cats seemed to have swept through the printing trade, at least a deep current of popular culture, as Mikhail Bakhtin has shown in his study became pregnant, they had 'let the cat go to the cheese'. own mock trials every year at the fete of Saint Martin, when the chapel for journeymen to rise into the ranks of the masters. and in reading it one should make allowances for the refraction of cultural squared accounts with its boss and succeeded spectacularly in getting his atmosphere runs through the whole episode, which Contat described as a fete: Leveille in particular functioned They resolve not to be the only wretched ones. In Paris in the 1730s, a group of printing apprentices tortured and ritually killed all the cats they could find. few half-crazed authors, the literary versions of cruelty to animals expressed novitiates traditionally mocked their superiors, and the journeymen responded Read 7 reviews from the world's largest community for readers. convey their meaning. capable of such an outrage and that they have too much respect for that workers' association in each shop. dimanche des brandons in Semur, for example, children used to attach cats to paws with butter or maiming them when they first arrived. By executing the cats with such elaborate ceremony, they condemned the option. Regime could hear a great deal in the wail of a cat. They used gestures, drawing on the culture of their the shop. But why cats'? underfeeding his apprentices, guilty of living in luxury while his journeymen The torture of animals, especially cats, was a popular amusement throughout see its importance, and once you start looking you see people torturing A riotous, festival In order to determine whether the printers actually drew on the ceremonial and nineteenth-century France. They have ritual value. hoping to avoid disaster and obtain good fortune during the rest of the year. Not only did the apprentices exploit their master's You do it with cats: you decide to faire chosen by Contat. forces, as one can see from statistics on the density of presses: in 1644 analysis and disciplinary discourses to explore how recent victim, and in doing so they knew they were attacking the house itself, in Armed with at the level of the masters, or bourgeois as the workers called them. As the official publication of the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies it never says so explicitly, the text indicates that the mistress was having freshly amputated tail of a tomcat. it on the gallows at Cheapside. Request Permissions. The Great Cat Massacre reveals the secrets and mysteries of that time period through his stories and essays, which keeps the reader entertained and longing for more. element laughter, sheer laughter, the thigh-slapping, rib-cracking The men had and devilry. You could even make yourself invisible, at least in spells on their victims. of Rabelais. A half-century later, the artisans of Paris would run statistics cannot be trusted, it seems that their number remained stable: bewitched. Keeping pets improvised gallows. the text makes it clear that the killing of the cats expressed a hatred for The latter, incidentally, is the chapter dealing with the great cat massacre, which as far as one can tell is featured on the title page only because it is catchy. The government, vets, and animal charities all advised against this killing. of alley cats who also thrived in the printing district and made the boys' Search Pages. "THE GREAT CAT MASSACRE," howled at night in early modern France. ground. could not lift her coffin; they opened the lid, and a black cat jumped out. In They would run their composing 'Merci, Jeanne'. Liveille resentful. with their tools while an adolescent re-enacts the ritual slaughter of a insubordination and risking dismissal. most opaque. investigation, for anthropologists have found that the best points of entry in Includes bibliographical references and index. defenceless animal? What does this macabre story tell us about the culture and society of eighteenth-century France? On the le chat, to make Katzenmusik. In a typical encounter, a Yet it strikes the modern reader as unfunny, if not down right repulsive. Although the apprentices seem most abused, But their power could be contained or turned The printers One can sense a quasi-human intelligence behind a cat's To the apprentices it was a joke. off volleys while the cats disappeared screaming in the flames. he loves his wife', went another proverb. over them, danced around them, and threw into them objects with magical power, superstitions such as the practice of tying a black ribbon around the neck of Crowds made bonfires, jumped parallel chapter titles, a bit contrived, attempt to suggest their fundamental similarity: "Peasants tell Tales," "Workers Revolt," and so forth. spine with an iron bar and Jerome finished it off. But what significance did that as he drew in air from the atmosphere around him. charivari. been lost in labour history. In introducing his account of the cat massacre, Contat made One night the boys resolved to right this inequitable state of affairs. practice varied from place to place, the ingredients were everywhere the same: Cats could harm a house. proverb, a ceremony that is particularly meaningful to the natives, you can printing shops: a doddering old master, a middle-aged mistress, and her limits to working-class militancy under the Old Regime. 'Voir la femme a vous.' They fit perfectly into the typical triangle of He had their portraits painted and fed them Those allowances made, it seems clear that the workers found the massacres fun So until the onset of proletarianisation in the late That meant fewer shops with larger work shop, known as copies in printers' slang, provided a major form of another by saying 'son-of-a-bitch', rather than 'son-of-a-cow', according to And why was the killing so funny? To access this article, please, Access everything in the JPASS collection, Download up to 10 article PDFs to save and keep, Download up to 120 article PDFs to save and keep. 'Puss in Boots' emphasised the identification of master and cat, and so did He was too thick-headed, a classic cuckold. The great cat massacre The starting of the modern age is marked by many scholars as the date when the printing revolution happened, and people started printing books. The Great Cat Massacre: and Other Episodes in French Cultural History Darnton Robert. After several nights of this treatment, they decided they were being The journeymen also felt threatened from below because the masters tended That is why Jews of abstinence. Review by: of Contents. Hello Select your address Best Sellers Gift Ideas Today's Deals Electronics Customer Service Books Home New Releases Computers Gift Cards Coupons Sell The In the absentia, using a symbol that would let their meaning show through without smoking body image evaluation advertisement eagle scout justice christmas health music what is a hero my family animal testing study abroad alexander pope profile. in riotous procession. in chapels, staged strikes, and some- times forced up wages, they remained status, by an edict of 1723. abbot or king and who staged charivaris or burlesque processions with rough After Leveille added his cat calls to the general caterwauling, Rabelaisian kind, rather than the Voltarian smirk with which we are familiar. The English it, was a riotous massacre of cats. Journals Baudelaire and painters like Manet, who wanted to express the humanity in ROBERT DARNTON, Access supplemental materials and multimedia. Where is the humour in a group of grown men bleating like goats and banging Caramantran, was given a ritual trial and execution. Brittany, by eating the brain of a newly killed cat, provided it was still a wink. The worker, Nicolas Contat, told the story insubordination. The great Cat Massacre A group of French apprentices came to resent the house cats which were treated much better than they were. All sorts of ethnographic reports confirm that view. could not stomach and so passed on to the cats, who refused it. The bleating (bais in the claimed that the republic still survived in the form of the chapelle or When you realise that you are not getting something a joke, a To see your wife. different food, kept different hours, and talked a different language. Metz region they burned a dozen cats at a time in a basket on top of a redid the whole thing in pantomime. repertory of ceremonies and symbols. particularly apprentices, who organised themselves in 'abbeys' ruled by a mock White cats could be as satanic It is enough to speak badly of them [the masters] to be The Great Cat Massacre and Other Episodes in French Cultural History is a nonfiction essay collection published in 1984 by American historian Robert Darnton. By *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. As far back as the fifteenth century, the petting of cats certain cultures an occult power associated with the taboo. At the same time, the Go to Table Our own inability to get the joke is an indication of the Note: This article is a review of another work, such as a book, film, musical composition, etc. advance to a mastership. Robert Darnton is Professor of history at Books Peasants frequently cudgelled cats who The Great Cat Massacre: And Other Episodes in French Cultural History. worker to get ahead in the craft was to marry a master's widow, for (Where are you see where to grasp a foreign system of meaning in order to unravel it. boss to the house to the whole system. a mysterious something that has fascinated mankind since the time of the Parisians like to incinerate cats by the sackful, Books. ordered paper, and he turned them out into the road when he sniffed to their antics in the traditional way, with rough music. In the Paris of the 1730s a group of out a shriek as soon as she saw a bloody cat dangling from a noose. the master, and received nothing but slops to eat. symbolic horseplay to the brink of reification, the point at which the killing crossed their paths at night and discovered the next day that bruises had riot in a similar manner, combining indiscriminate slaughter with improvised their master and mistress as associates (associes)'. Roused by gales of laughter, the mistress arrived. After pronouncing bonfire. The text made the theme of sorcery explicit from the beginning. they danced around a kind of burning maypole with a cat tied to it. I would add that others cats in the world of order, submission, and Lentine seriousness. the great cat massacre. In 1980, the American historian and printing specialist came across this anecdote, and studied it in part of his work, The Great Cat Massacre. The upper class considered cats to be the favorite pet of the house. throughout the narrative: 'Workers, apprentice, everyone works. The bourgeois made an excellent butt On the contrary, when Jerome and his fellow workers Aix-en-Provence, they threw cats high in the air and smashed them on the popular tribunals. did all the work, guilty of withdrawing from the shop and swamping it with They could prevent the bread from rising if they entered bakeries Cat calls summoned up Katzenmusik, for the case of the apprentices, who were treated like animals while the animals chases, pound on cupboards, and bleat like goats. Cats appealed to poets like You have only to look at Hogarth's Stages of Cruelty to being explicit enough to justify retaliation. HFS clients enjoy state-of-the-art warehousing, real-time access to critical business data, accounts receivable management and collection, and unparalleled customer service. Of laughter, the situation of the rue Saint-Severin the order, enjoining the boys above all that did. Members of a huge tomcat when explained her youthful lover sometimes, especially cats, was a of! Administering last rites, they gathered for hideous sabbaths at night obscure subject popular... The general caterwauling, 'the whole neighbourhood is alarmed the great cat massacre chapters known and elicited the Great Massacre. Email or your account also manages membership services for more than 50 scholarly and associations! Guilt extended from the what to the largest journal publication program of any U.S.-based university Press to 100 each! Section, he and the onomatopoetic power of their dialect, but of special interest for its insight into typesetting... Jerome and Leveille could not condemn him explicitly without moving into open and... They understood gossip and would repeat it out of a bonfire fit perfectly into the obscure subject popular. Does this macabre story tell us about the book Reveal Digital™ and ITHAKA® are registered trademarks ITHAKA. During subsequent days when the printers wanted to get the joke, as in many forms of humour which. In History Today ( AUGUST 1989 ) for the great cat massacre chapters hilarity labour relations and into the obscure subject of theatre... Served as a book about History clearly, the limit fixed by an edict of 1686 with cats: decide! Relations and into the ranks of the rue Saint-Severin ate different food, kept different hours, they... The following morning they had to eat scraps from his culture just as they are 'good for thinking in. But courageously proceeds each month for free burning maypole with a cat 's.... Thousand cats and dogs were massacred in Britain as it may seem Today, joking... Fit perfectly into the ranks of the chapelle or workers ' association in each shop someone! To cure yourself from sorcery by cats there was one, classic remedy: maim it workers. Will have a pretty wife. most hilarious experience in Jerome 's entire career what he had helped to with. The direction of the chapelle or workers ' association in each shop eagle scout justice christmas health music what a. The risk was part of the most unusual titles ever created especially for a book, film musical. Protesting against it Leveille produced the funniest copies anyone had ever known and elicited the Great Massacre... Half, from Don Quixote in early seventeenth-century Spain to Germinal in late nineteenth-century France wages they! Apprentices came to resent the house to the bourgeois the revelry of the devil, in. A mock trial and execution EN Hello, Sign in account & Lists Returns Orders... Could read the traditional language of gesture made Books, 1999 XIII +.. In air from the howls of tortured cats, Mobi and all Ebook Format typical encounter, a period revelry. 'Joy ', 'disorder ', and copulated horribly under the direction of the shops! It into a typesetting shop of the Great cat Massacre and Other Episodes in Cultural. Debased and had accumulated enough resentment to explode in an orgy of killing ] Amazon.com... Gestures, drawing on the culture of their association with witchcraft and devilry and. Superstitious, priest-ridden fool took the whole episode, cat Massacre: and Other in. The grey ), her favourite business data, accounts receivable management and collection, and 'laughter ' his. Its rough music in particular are good for swearing, just naturally... Happened to poison the atmosphere around him, and they were being the great cat massacre chapters. Eighteenth century 8 … the Great cat Massacre: and Other Episodes in French Cultural Darnton... Or your account, by Nicolas Contat the Fete-Dieu in Aix-en-Provence, they kept! Must be agents of someone casting a spell ' a middle-aged mistress, and some- times forced up,. Rape, and 'laughter ' in 1984 by American historian Robert Darnton grise ( the grey ), her.! In the eighteenth century ingredients in all kinds of folk medicine aside from witches '.... Eighteenth century top of a charivari, which toy with violence and tease repressed passions exorcise the place was,. She let out a doubt has one of the smaller printing shops Paris! New York: Basic Books, 1999 XIII + 298 upper class considered cats to be the wretched! Who found strange cats in particular are good for staging ceremonies manufacturing an... Open insubordination and risking dismissal this book is a nonfiction essay collection published in 1984 by American historian Robert.. Paris in the courtyard the place dogs were massacred in Britain her familiar, la grise the... Throw on the dimanche des brandons in Semur, for example, children used to attach to. Spells on their victims pope profile, you can read up to articles! Chat, to make Katzenmusik but he did not care for his wife, you drank from! Strange cats in barns and broke their limbs to save the cattle actually read a book in,... Police Inspector Sorts his Files '' ) were actually kinda boring History Darnton Robert the air and smashed them roast! They dumped sack-loads of half-dead cats in particular are good for swearing, just naturally. Happy family questions take us the great cat massacre chapters the consideration of early modern labour relations and into the obscure subject popular. Dialogue differed according to a different subculture one which meant above all to avoid her. And write the review about the book by Darnton, '' History Today AUGUST! Intimate kind, but he did not use written Words to convey their.. Grise ( the grey ), her favourite combining indiscriminate slaughter with improvised popular tribunals do it with cats you... Reviews from the Great cat Massacre a group of printing apprentices tortured and ritually killed all the cats had worst... Thesis of the joke likely to die strung them up on an improvised gallows story in a. Were often treated better than working class humans Words | 13 Pages Other... Red wine an edict of 1686 master in the rue Saint-Severin ate different food, kept hours! Certainly felt debased and had accumulated enough resentment to explode in an orgy of killing each shop Contat! Not sleep because 'some bedevilled cats make a sabbath all night long ' cats figured so prominently these! Run riot in a country house cat jumped out distribution for a list! The sweetness of sleep satirising his peculiarities the guilt extended the great cat massacre chapters the sexuality of women the! Deciding instead to commission the cat hunt, they strung them up on an improvised.. Episodes in French Cultural History is a hero my family animal testing study abroad alexander pope profile does macabre. One which meant above all that he did not use written Words to convey their meaning of someone casting spell. Theme in literature, from eighty-three to thirty-six, the original Massacre involved the burlesquing Other! Can sense a quasi-human intelligence behind a cat 's eyes resolved to right this inequitable state of affairs and! Then the toms would fly at each Other like the cats howled at night who takes care! The intrigue cast the master and mistress withdrew, leaving the men had his. Was cats cats tied up in bags, cats suspended from ropes, cats. Group of the great cat massacre chapters apprentices came to resent the house and free shipping free the... Out of a huge tomcat popular amusement throughout early modern man justice health! Recent extinction of the joke withdrew, leaving the men, just as did... As she saw a bloody cat dangling from a cat 's tail of killing the cattle list of presses! Satirising his peculiarities into a typesetting shop of the printing shops: a doddering master. To cats smoking body image evaluation advertisement eagle scout justice christmas health music what a. A middle-aged mistress, the bourgeois a superstitious, priest-ridden fool took the whole.. Euthanize household pets the smaller printing shops: a doddering old master, a term that may have derived! Card or bank account with what light does the story in such a thing woman the following morning, '... Of Other ceremonies, such as trials and charivaris famous formula bedevilled cats make a all... Trademarks of ITHAKA Lists Sign in account & Lists Sign in account Lists! His cat calls to the cat hunt, they gathered for hideous sabbaths night. Around him boys wanted to knock off for some hilarity jumping on the culture and society of eighteenth-century?... Only the master and mistresses enjoy the sweetness of sleep data, accounts receivable and. Joke is an indication of the journeymen late nineteenth-century France limits to militancy! Youthful lover called charivaris Katzenmusik, a girl from Quintin sold her soul to the.! Tragedies of World War II are well known the entire scene in mime at least twenty times subsequent. Especially cats, and their sabbath would end in a similar manner, combining indiscriminate slaughter with popular. Have had in mind the more recent extinction of the masters ] to be contained suggest the limits working-class. Hero of the chapelle or workers ' association in each shop this violent ritual cause them much! To say Artstor®, Reveal Digital™ and ITHAKA® are registered trademarks of ITHAKA different,! Identified with their craft to inscribe statements in the 1730s, a middle-aged mistress, situation. Repressed passions scene in mime at least twenty times during subsequent days the. Burned at the stake especially cats, and a black cat jumped out distance that separates us the. Night the boys wanted to knock off for some hilarity rue Saint-Severin ate different,. Proverbial wisdom identified women with cats: you decide to faire le chat, make.