Two Reigns of Terror from “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court” by Mark Twain as quote in this article from The Atlantic as authored by Ta-Nehisi Coates, AUG 25, 2011: ‘That Older and Real Terror’ That Older and Real Terror and The Civil War isn’t Tragic
Hmmm. I do not understand this number or name or their connection. 18? Brumaire? VIII? 18 Brumaire VIII? Coup d’etat 18 Brumaire VIII ? Why maintain a calendar, naming, and numbering system that was in use for only a few years and in only one country? Why not just number and name everything the way we do now? What is so significant of those few years that every academic field talks and writes this way. Here is one BIG HINT…
“Why, it was like reading about France and the French, before the ever memorable and blessed Revolution, which swept a thousand years of such villany away in one swift tidal-wave of blood–one: a settlement of that hoary debt in the proportion of half a drop of blood for each hogshead of it that had been pressed by slow tortures out of that people in the weary stretch of ten centuries of wrong and shame and misery the like of which was not to be mated but in hell.
“There were two ‘Reigns of Terror,’ if we would but remember it and consider it; the one wrought murder in hot passion, the other in heartless cold blood; the one lasted mere months, the other had lasted a thousand years; the one inflicted death upon ten thousand persons, the other upon a hundred millions; but our shudders are all for the ‘horrors’ of the minor Terror, the momentary Terror, so to speak; whereas, what is the horror of swift death by the axe, compared with lifelong death from hunger, cold, insult, cruelty, and heart-break?
“What is swift death by lightning compared with death by slow fire at the stake? A city cemetery could contain the coffins filled by that brief Terror which we have all been so diligently taught to shiver at and mourn over; but all France could hardly contain the coffins filled by that older and real Terror–that unspeakably bitter and awful Terror which none of us has been taught to see in its vastness or pity as it deserves.”
“Twain wrote the book as a burlesque of Romantic notions of chivalry after being inspired by a dream in which he was a knight himself, severely inconvenienced by the weight and cumbersome nature of his armor. A satire of feudalism and monarchy that also celebrates homespun ingenuity and democratic values.” – ibid
[SIDE NOTE: Note Mark Twain is all science and culture here. He mocks that part of himself that was romantic and chivalrous- in part – through his own dream!]
Funny thing. All democratic walks of life love his story, not in spite of his self-humour, but because they can relate to it. Here is a random sampling off the web…
Wait a second here! Samual L. Clemens, an half-naked COWBOY with a LASSO? COWBOY+ LASSO = CONNECTICUT YANKEE + ARMOUR?
Same words. Same imagery portrayed by those words. By the way, if you owned 300 copies of that CLASSICS Illustrated in just GOOD CONDITION you’d be a millionaire.
“On 9 Thermidor Year II (27 July 1794), the French politician Maximilien Robespierre was denounced by members of the National Convention as “a tyrant”, leading to Robespierre and twenty-one associates including Louis Antoine de Saint-Just being arrested that night and beheaded on the following day.” – Thermidorian Reaction, Wikipedia
“Twain wrote the book as a burlesque of Romantic notions of chivalry after being inspired by a dream in which he was a knight himself, severely inconvenienced by the weight and cumbersome nature of his armor.