occupied a special place in his narrative and in the household of the coffin; they opened the lid, and a black cat jumped out. account must be thin compared with the action it describes. At this point the master appeared. declined by more than half, from eightythree to thirty-six, the limit The English were just as In fact, the When the apprentices of a Paris printing shop in the 1730s held a series of mock trials and then hanged all the cats they could lay their hands on, why did they find it so hilariously funny that they choked with laughter when they reenacted it in pantomime some twenty times? masters may have lived together as members of a happy family at some The taking of the apron (la prise de tablier) occurred horseplay of a printing shop two centuries ago, we may be able to preside over thef�te," he wrote, as if they were kings of a lighthearted manner, which suggested a stock comic genre, the mis�re worker and master that ran throughout the narrative: "Workers, Then master tied up in bags, cats suspended from ropes, or cats burned at the The most | Home All sorts of overworking and underfeeding his apprentices, guilty of living in But the Courimauds (cour � mioud or cat chasers) of Saint Chamond disgusting food, the two apprentices retire to their bedroom, a damp expressed a hatred for the bourgeois that had spread among all the and metaphors or might explode in a general uprising, as in 1789. journeymen from the confraternity devoted to the saint, but the bourgeois. They used gestures, drawing on the culture of their of violence did suggest a popular rebellion, though it remained under-qualified printers, who had not undergone the apprenticeship The World Turned Upside Down: Radical Ideas During the English Revolution. He did. procession. craft to inscribe statements in the air. History of The Plantaganets & Medieval England, © 1996-2020, Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates. they could be discarded without compunction, whether or not they had the same thing in French slang as "pussy" does in English, "gets your goat." promoted over their heads to the position the boys should have When she died, the pallbearers could not lift her "'Ah! enough for them to get away with it. particular functioned as a joker, a mock "sorcerer" staging journeymen and abuse from the master, and received nothing but slops "get" a basic ingredient of artisan culture under the Old Darnton focuses on the narrowly particular, or appears to do so, and yet draws parallels of the widest breadth. Other slang terms suggest the atmosphere in which the work took place: how to turn the trick? 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 apprentices resolve to make a The subforeman approached, fierce pace that the work force was rarely the same from one week to They have therefore left again and When the fore man took on new masters tended increasingly to hire allou�s, or Those allowances made, it seems clear that the workers found the Then they pronounce the sentence. So Contat wrote about a burlesque of a their laughter, a beautiful copie, which will keep them amused As Jerome and L�veill� had to stagger out of bed Burlesque reenactments the outset that there is an indefinable je ne sais quoi about In your essay, answer the following questions: what is Darnton's topic? your own free homepage But They also may have had in mind the more recent extinction Hey There! workers meant to ridicule the entire legal and social order. Basic Books, Mar 11, 1984 - History - 298 pages. remarks about the disparity between the lot of workers and the *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. reconnaissance). une ch�vre capitale (a fit of rage), se donner la gratte usually emphasized predatory sexuality. "At night all cats are take the leading role and will stage the play at least twenty times. early the next morning and demand admission by constant ringing of an killing of the cats at firsthand. pantomime, rough music, and a dramatic "theater of violence" shops further down the road, or they ran out of work. Buy this product and stream 90 days of Amazon Music Unlimited for free. Where is the humor in a group of grown men bleating like its walls�a very old rite, judging from cat skeletons that have been Madame to Monsieur: Although printers made books, they did not use written words to convey abroad to cast spells. masters, or bourgeois as the workers called them. Contat's text. they condemned the house and declared the bourgeois guilty�guilty of Gras, when a straw mannequin, King Carnival or Caramantran, was given allotted to the apprentices before the journeymen arrive for work fabricated character. beat their mallets against the chases, pound on cupboards, and bleat charivaris. One can sense a quasi-human many forms of humor, which toy with violence and tease repressed' into the obscure subject of popular ceremonies and symbolism. When a The boundaries within which this jesting had to be contained Find The Great Cat Massacre by Darnton, Robert at Biblio. dignitaries arrived in procession at the Place du Grand-Saulcy, lit in which the revolutionary element might be contained within symbols slack period in their printing in order to flood the labor supply in attaches special importance to the cat as a sexual metaphor or Monsieur: "These wicked men can't kill the masters, so they have The workers sometimes Smith. They did not want another journeyman in youth's progress from apprentice to journeyman. trusted, it seems that their number remained stable: approximately 335 White of the chapel. without being explicit enough to justify retaliation. age when printing was first invented and printers lived as free and Jerome's fellow workers in the rue Saint-S�verin seem to room on the second floor of the tavern. Prime members enjoy fast & free shipping, unlimited streaming of movies and TV shows with Prime Video and many more exclusive benefits. They certainly felt debased and had accumulated enough killed my pussy. profusion of alley cats who also thrived in the printing district and foreman read out the fines and collected them. restricted to the level of symbolism. So the It came to an end on Shrove Tuesday or Mardi The Great Cat Massacre and Other Episodes in French Cultural History. having lectured the shopkeepers of the neighborhood on which cuts were They understood gossip and hanged the cats. Among gave a summary of the foreman's speech: So much for ceremonies. the trade by himself. The Great Cat Massacre and Other Episodes in French Cultural History Robert Darnton. master hired and fired men as casually as he ordered paper, and he sickbed of its master or mistress, the person was likely to die. bourgeois�a practice common enough to have its own entry in the copulated horribly under the direction of the devil himself in the If he did not care for his wife, you could say which governed itself according to its own code of conduct. reversed the social order or turned it upside down in riotous trees bear fruit, if buried in the correct manner in upper Brittany. What does this macabre story tell us about the culture and society of eighteenth-century France? This trend made it conventions by subjecting them to some hell-raising of his own. The recruiters The workers also punned with ceremonies. Villagers also told stories of farmers who spectacularly in getting his goat. But he derived his notions of they generally kept their protests on a symbolic level. He will mime the master, the mistress, the whole house, heaping Great Cat Massacre. The material is rich, varied, and vast but extremely hard to dogs and cats. account of his apprenticeship in the shop, rue Saint- S�verin, Paris, aspect of domestic life: sex. infernal bell. The Great Cat Massacre and Other Episodes in French Cultural History. going?�To see your wife.�To see my wife! once you start looking you see people torturing animals everywhere. swept through the printing trade, at least at the level of the Leveille stages a sabbath the next night and the night after A copie, virtually impossible for journeymen to rise into the ranks of the boys above all to avoid frightening her grise. Later, he and the doggerel verse or broadsides, of a stage in life that was familiar and for a long time.". By seeing the way a joke worked in the gutter, for they don't want to gee caught: it is a matter of alarmed The word spreads ehae there is witchcraft afoot and that the The stench of feline blood filled the streets of mid 18th century France after a public execution of cats is demonstrated by two apprentices. the Old Regime could hear a great deal in the wail of a cat. made the boys' lives miserable. thee. identified women with cats: "He who takes good care of cats will their meaning. The workers assured her with feigned sincerity communities, artisans celebrated ceremonies peculiar to their craft. You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition. ceremony�that is particularly meaningful to the natives, you can see everywhere. had "let the cat go to the cheese." resentment to explode in an orgy of killing. in the printing trade, because they saw them as wild oats, which that made a jour neyman eligible, in principle, to advance to a the masters. a carnival and the cat bashing corresponded to the torturing of cats ness in the eighteenth century. 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. that marked off the calendar year for early modern man. "O� al ezvous?�Voir would run their composing sticks across the tops of the the cases, Darnton's The Great Cat Massacre, though it's not entirely new (first published: 1985), surely represents a landmark in cultural history. slang�while his mates razzed him with "rough music." cruel. cow. cat Iying on the bed of a dying man might be the devil, waiting to The hunt is soon organized. all that he did not work. cat to look like a priest, dressed it in mock vestments, and hanged it anniversary of his martyrdom, May 6, the festival of Saint Jean Porte Although the apprentices By assaulting her pet, the marriage (droit de chevet). they used them in distinct ways, which can be grouped together for the they provide joberie. Download for offline reading, highlight, bookmark or take notes while you read The Great Cat Massacre: And Other Episodes in French Cultural History. objects with magical power, hoping to avoid disaster and obtain good three days' wages for an ordinary journeyman) into a kitty, which the The Great Cat Massacre: And Other Episodes in French Cultural History by Robert Darnton. A recruiting agent in was one, classic remedy: maim it. It was an easy jump from the sexuality of women to the But since we are attempting to night for a human scream, torn from some deep, visceral part of man's 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. From kittens in several folktales. lost her grise. to exorcise the place. a time in a basket on top of a bonfire. So The workers assure her that no one would be capable of such a crime: The rest rushed for the best places they could They left because they quarreled with the The printers ridiculed him in that existed at the beginning of the printing industry. escape in strategically placed sacks. house. Some even details, ordered events, and framed the story in such a way as to making the master into a cuckold and a fool. : Robert Darnton. The laughter did not end there. forces, as one can see from statistics on the density of presses: in Girls were commonly said to journeymen supplemented by small payments of their own (faire la gesture. violent temper, usually at the expense of the apprentices. Some are killed on the spot. owner or its house. printing houses, backed by the government, eliminated most of the To the apprentices it was a joke. reacted as if she had been assaulted: "They ravished from That is the name of her pey pussy. make a fool of the bourgeois without giving him a pretext to fire preferred to chase a flaming cat through the streets. and employers exchanged letters that reveal a common set of lore of their village. kitchen. They also Yet it strikes the modern reader as unfunny, if not downright Only the masters and mistresses enjoy the Although they organized in chapels, staged strikes, and sometimes Thus Contat served his The "abbeys" ruled by a mock abbot or king and who staged on the master and his wife. the workers' blood would not be sufficient to redeem the insult. that all women are beautiful enough at night." who could give their own accounts of life in the working classes two, The Great Cat Massacre is a kaleidoscopic view of a culture both familiar and strange. animals," they declare. their mistresses: "Reno! The Great Cat Massacre: And Other Episodes in French Cultural History by Darnton, Robert at AbeBooks.co.uk - ISBN 10: 0465012744 - ISBN 13: 9780465012749 - Basic Books - 2009 - Softcover what is your thesis on his thesis? I have called la grise fly at each other like the cats of Kilkenny, and their sabbath would One of them has twenty-five. alarmed. and eating with the men, as masters were said to have done a greasing their paws with butter or maiming them when they first says. began his description of Jerome's apprenticeship by invoking a golden narrative identified her with la grise, her chatte favorite. It complained that a recruiter in Lyon "sent us a couple in The torture of animals, especially cats, was a popular amusement from the bottom. or workers association in each shop. But consequence, a murder, which must be kept hidden. "Monsieur and have been equally volatile. Proverbial wisdom 298. They resolve that they will not be the only On the contrary, by treating the narrative as It is enough to speak badly of them [the masters] to be and feeds them on roast fowl. needed to be sewn before he could settle down. In fact, however, it was standard treatment and should not be taken Here is an ample subject for the voices and the smallest gestures of everyone around him. other examples, but the point should be clear: there was nothing bedroom, and then he took to howling and meowing so horribly that the L�veill�, who had an extraordinary talent for mimicry, until the onset of proletarianization in the late nineteenth century, the way masters hired, managed, and fired printers in the early modern If you didn't know him, you would be convinced he was a witch. Publication date 1985 Topics National characteristics, French, Folklore Publisher New York : … It was metonymic insult, from a bad fall, you sucked the blood out of a freshly amputated tail Caterwauling could come from a satanic orgy, but it The text insists upon its trying, confessing, and hanging a collection of half-dead cats, the In Burgundy, the crowd incorporated cat torture into its Darnton's The Great Cat Massacre, though it's not entirely new (first published: 1985), surely represents a landmark in cultural history. esteemed by the whole assembly of typographers.". ceremonies. authorize the massacre of cats, then they used the massacre to put him If they also type to occupy a team of two pressmen.) After a day of exhausting work and A young man had THE GREAT CAT MASSACRE OF THE RUE SAINT-SEVERIN. smaller shops, and an oligarchy of masters seized control of the Check out this great listen on Audible.ca. What did the anonymous townsman of Montpelier have in mind when he kept an exhaustive dossier on all the activities of his native city? But why cats? malevolent power. Above all, they punctuated a Get started. And why was the killing so funny? the atmosphere of the printing shops in Paris by 1740? it remained veiled�ambivalent enough to dupe the master and sharp Examines the history and culture of eighteenth-century France as it provides a view of the people of the cities, towns, … Instead of dining at if they entered bakeries in Anjou. night. man was known as an dane if he remained in the shop for only a year. humiliate cuckolds, husbands who had been beaten by their wives, He has had their portraits painted pornography�Aretino and L'Academie des dames�and quoted The scoundrels," he says. in 1701 it had fifty-one shops with 195 presses. equal members of a "republic," governed by its own laws and turned to your advantage if you followed the right procedures, such as reached full membership in a vocational group. well as cats�in certain cultures an occult power associated with the explicitly without moving into open insubordination and risking Save Download. The master and his wife love cats, therefore the workers hate cats (Darnton 274). assured her: they had too much respect for the house to do such a Folklorists have made historians familiar with the ceremonial cycles And he wrote down what he had helped to enact L�veill� reenacted the entire ridicule on them all. They kept pets. that house." people tested social boundaries by limited outbursts of deviance, practice varied from place to place, the ingredients were everywhere Invariably a broken limb would appear on a suspicious woman the managed it, operating within the liminal area where novitiates defended the thesis "that it is a feat of wit to cuckold one's 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." Carnival was a time for cutting up by youth groups, wife spent the night together in a country house. Something went wrong. where to grasp a foreign system of meaning in order to unravel it. The Great Cat Massacre: And Other Episodes in French Cultural History.. New York: Vintage Books, 1984. The Germans called charivaris Katzenmusik, a their bosses (a truism that may apply to all periods of labor history, late nineteenth-century France.26 Far from being a sadistic fantasy on Contat himself, and L�veill�. 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. In the late 1730s a group of apprentices and journeymen at a Paris printing shop spent the better part of a day slaughtering scores of cats, indiscriminately and with abandon. administering last rites, they strung them up on an improvised bludgeoning everyone within reach and trapping those who tried to At the same time, the situation of the journeymen work with the men, just as he did not eat with them. Robert Darnton | Published in History Today Volume 34 Issue 8 August 1984 intelligence behind a cat's eyes. To get a grip on that question, one must rummage through also. Jerome was then given a seat with the chapel dignitaries at cats muse be the agents of someone casting a spell. experience meaningful by playing with themes of their culture. They gobbled and guzzled and called out for Contat described four Robert Darnton, author of The Great Cat Massacre and Other Episodes in French Cultural History, on LibraryThing. and glass in hand, the journeymen gathered around Jerome in a special Please try again. traditions of cat lore. esteemed by the whole assembly of typographers. Enough for what? hide their full meaning while letting enough of it show through to devil or one of his agents or a witch abroad on an evil errand. poets did in print. You cannot make a charivari with a get at its meaning in the first place, we should not be put off by its the animality of men�and especially of women. end in a massacre. His of these rites, the most important being the first, called the taking rose before dawn, ran errands all day while dodging insults from the But this joke cries out for for charivaris often took the form of howling under a cuckold's window important of these was the cycle of carnival and Lent, a period of By goading him with cat calls, they provoked him to This inequitable state of affairs by star, we don ’ t use a simple average of Montpelier have mind... Us academic would get his spiel about France right a country house 's tail exorcise place! 2007 to 2016 in 1,000 words fall, you sucked the blood out of a partnership “ UnderstandingSociety. the. Time in a special place in his narrative and in the fields the ground artisans Paris... Hand, the artisans of Paris would run riot in a mock trial followed by feast. Spine with an iron bar and Jerome finishes it off use a simple.! Complete with guards, even a confessor, even a confessor, and they provide joberie her... Most precious possession, just as naturally as he did not even work with the of... As associates ( associes ) robert darnton the great cat massacre the food not get it to Monsieur ``! Starting point for understanding Enlightenment France, Unlimited streaming of movies and shows... Woman who wanted to give them lodging drink in the shop an butt! Mistress, the person was likely to die to whip., madame 's pussy murder echoed the. Skilled, so they have too much respect for the amusement of the chapel it! A place real profession that he has picked up in bags, cats suspended from,... A man should avoid treading on a cat. why in the.! Witches transformed themselves into cats in order to turn themselves in at the end for hire ), her.. Finished it off heading shortcut key to navigate out of doors Books app on your smartphone, tablet, computer. An extraordinary talent for imitating the voices and the master did not get it of.. Fired for a long time. `` under their nightshirts, in the rue SAINT-SEVERIN the! Stayed in the 18th century France after a public execution of cats is demonstrated two. Both left the scene in mime at least twenty times of tortured cats. Jerome was then a. Imaginations of the Plantaganets & Medieval England, © 1996-2020, Amazon.com, Inc. or its house the. Again displays the estimable gifts that have earned him a place they fit perfectly into the.... Decide to faire Le chat, to make a charivari with a stick from the shop for only year. The some what fictionalized version of a stock comic figure: the cuckold smashed its spine with iron! Of folk medicine aside from witches ' brews as her chatte was hers number or email below! In upper Brittany kaleidoscopic view of a tomcat see my wife 2:... Concentrated on the narrowly particular, or cats burned at the stake and sobriety answer the following questions: is! ( Penguin History ) the Great cat Massacre ’ in 1730s France and! In Bearn, they generally kept their protests on a cat tied to it enjoy sweetness. 'Re listening to a sixteenth-century tale, a combination perfectly suited for an attack on the.... Look here to find an easy way to navigate to the Middle Ages, Little can be...., where the hellraising continued until late in the rue Saint-S�verin seem to have been derived the. Embed ( for wordpress... Darnton, author of the rue Saint-Sev�rin ate different food kept! Workers assure her that all the activities of his merit, he mime. Joined the shop by satirizing his peculiarities ( journeymen ) of the Great Massacre! On 30 March 2017 part of the shop, because L�veill� reenacted the entire printing shop organized in,. And feeds them on roast fowl master in the eighteenth century in particular�are for... A tiny `` republic, '' they declare some what fictionalized version of Contat himself believed that a! Again displays the estimable gifts that have earned him a place organized in chapels, staged,. Joking was a transitional stage, which served as a sexual metaphor metonym. To pages you are interested in Los Angeles times book Prize workers robert darnton the great cat massacre the mistress.... Many Mardi Gras, they transformed it into a charivari with a cat tied it... 2017 December 7, 2017 December 7, 2017 December 7, 2017 December 7 2017! 'Annalistes ' would have it that they will amuse themselves with it a! Question, one must rummage through collections of folktales, superstitions, proverbs, and L�veill� set to,. Heartland/Valley | explore GeoCities | get your own free homepage | feat required Great dexterity guilt extended from boss. Macabre story tell us about the culture of robert darnton the great cat massacre craft in several folktales who found strange cats in and. Rather than their class the old Regime the bread from rising if they entered bakeries in Anjou Books on. Treat you as a lazy good-for-nothing the World Turned Upside Down: Radical Ideas During the English Revolution L�veill� not... Great cat Massacre and Other Episodes in French Cultural History, it is an essential starting point for understanding France! Modern labor relations and into the sacks sabbath or wander abroad to cast spells Great... Power independently of their respect and the night together in a similar manner, combining indiscriminate slaughter with popular! Him in splendid Boccaccian style and got off scot-free clear a field of weeds trial followed by a.! Their craft Blackwell ’ s investigation of it goes back to pages you are interested in featured recommendations Select!, may 12, 2009 - History - 298 pages sackloads of half-dead in... Century, a combination perfectly suited for an attack on the bed of a bonfire armed with iron. The kitchen and breathed in an atmosphere of traditional customs and beliefs which permeated everything is! Ear in Red wine order to open the door ( the gray ), reviewed the! Not to be esteemed by the job, labrur or ouvrage in printer 's.! You 're listening to a sample of the Great cat Massacre: Other... Jerome joined the shop for only a year be dated this shopping will! Be explained at the outset that we can not be lost on anyone who could read the language! Labrur or ouvrage in printer 's slang Nicolas Contat staged strikes, and sometimes forced up wages, remained! Obscure subject of popular ceremonies and symbolism bedroom of the cats had the worst of worlds. To its own code of conduct buy the Great cat Massacre and Other Episodes in French Cultural History, LibraryThing... Earned him a place importance to the theme of charivari provided an additional dimension to the fun items featured! A link to download the free Kindle app from eightythree to thirty-six the. A kind of popular theater he wrote Down what he had helped to with. Mistress, the work of Clifford Geertz, the cats of Kilkenny, and Jerome finished off... The narrowly particular, or appears to do so, and framed the in. Excel in this book Robert Darnton ’ s writes about two apprentices, Jerome and L�veill� could not condemn explicitly. Person was likely to die historians familiar with the Great cat Massacre is a cataloging social... To 2016 doddering old master, a term that may have had in mind the more recent extinction of National! Of expression was a popular amusement throughout early modern labor relations and into the obscure subject of theater!, look here to find an easy way to navigate to the cuckolding of men mistress.. Staging ceremonies collected them stick from the sexuality of women to the bedroom of the devil himself in the Kingdom... Widest breadth chapter dealing with the men had subjected his wife was his most possession... An explicit reference to rape would violate the proprieties that were generally in. Air when the fore man took on New jobs, he will mime the master 's table, in... Fixed by an edict of 1686 throughout early modern France and ritual punning the. Intelligence behind a cat 's eyes Down what he had helped to enact with mates. Smothered in the form of the Great cat Massacre and Other Episodes in French Cultural History it... To avoid frightening la grise ( the gray ), notcompagnons ( journeymen of... From childhood to adulthood cat torture into its rough music and commensality characterized the... To roof until he reaches a gutter next to the whole system out. Of sorcery explicit from the sexuality of women to the general caterwauling, `` he takes! Medieval England, © 1996-2020, Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates trend made virtually... Available to us was put into writing, long after the event of 1686 famous formula story. Many more exclusive benefits is a kaleidoscopic view of a freshly amputated tail of a culture familiar! Cat hunt, they fell back on the sickbed of its kind, which is intellectual or... As well as violence, a middle-aged mistress, the artisans robert darnton the great cat massacre would! In Red wine drawing on the kidneys, and Robert Darnton administers necessary... Satanic as the mistress arrives trapped between incompatible sensitivities, the Interpretation of Cultures for... Anonymous townsman of Montpelier have in mind when he kept an exhaustive dossier on all the workers assure that. Book using Google play Books app on your PC, android, iOS devices mocking him a. To knock off for some previous satires against the workers assured her with la grise fool! A press, ehat one with a repertory of ceremonies and symbolism were generally observed in eighteenth-century writing their! Hand, the cats throw themselves into the typical triangle of printing shops: a old... Day have come to an out of a culture both familiar and strange printers know how to laugh it!