The Gods Will Have Blood

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The Gods Will Have Blood a novel by Anatole France. It is a fictional story set during the French Revolution. The story of the infernal rise of Évariste Gamelin, a young Parisian painter, involved in the section for his neighborhood of Pont-Neuf, it describes the dark years of the reign the Reign of Terror in Paris. The long, blind train of speedy trials drags this idealist into a madness that cuts off the heads of his nearest and dearest, and hastens his own fall as well as that of his mentor Robespierre His love affair with the young watercolor-seller Élodie Blaise heightens the terrible contrast between the butcher-in-training and the man who shows himself to be quite ordinary in his daily life. Justifying this dance of the guillotine by the fight against the plot to wipe out the gains of the Revolution Gamelin is thirsty for justice, but also uses his power to satisfy his own vengeance and his hatred for those who do not think like him.

The long, blind train of speedy trials drags this idealist into a madness that cuts off the heads of his nearest and dearest, and hastens his own fall as well as that of his mentor Robespierre in the aftermath of the Thermidorian Reaction. His love affair with the young watercolor-seller Élodie Blaise heightens the terrible contrast between the butcher-in-training and the man who shows himself to be quite ordinary in his daily life.

Justifying this dance of the guillotine by the fight against the plot to wipe out the gains of the Revolution, in the midst of the revolutionary turmoil that traverses Paris, Gamelin is thirsty for justice, but also uses his power to satisfy his own vengeance and his hatred for those who do not think like him. He dies by that same instrument of justice that up until then has served to satisfy his own thirst for blood and terror.

Gamelin's profession of painter also reflects on the book's theme. His best work is a depiction of Orestes and Electra, with Orestes resembling a self-portrait of the artist; Gamelin, like Orestes, is capable of killing his family. Élodie later comes to be identified with Electra - though, in her affair with Gamelin, where she loves him first for his mercy and then for his violence, and takes a less radical lover after he dies, she also represents France.
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Additional Information

Publisher
BookRix
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Published on
Oct 17, 2018
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Pages
304
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ISBN
9783736815261
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Language
English
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Genres
History / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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Penguin Island is a satirical fictional history by Nobel Prize winning French author Anatole France. It is concerned with grandnarratives, mythologizing heroes, hagiography and romantic nationalism. It is about a fictitious island, inhabited by great auks, that existed off the northern coast of Europe. The history begins when a wayward Christian missionary monk lands on the island and perceives the upright, unafraid auks as a sort of pre-Christian society of noble pagans. Mostly blind and somewhat deaf, having mistaken the animals for humans, he baptizes them. This causes a problem for The Lord, who normally only allows humans to be baptized. After consulting with saints and theologians in Heaven, He resolves the dilemma by converting the baptized birds to humans with only a few physical traces of their ornithological origin, and giving them each a soul.

Thus begins the history of Penguinia, and from there forward the history mirrors that of France (and more generally of Western Europe, including German-speaking areas and the British Isles). The narrative spans from the Migration Period ("Dark Ages"), when the Germanic tribes fought incessantly among themselves for territory; to the heroic Early Middle Ages with the rise of Charlemagne ("Draco the Great") and conflicts with Viking raiders ("porpoises"); through the Renaissance (Erasmus); and up to the modern era with motor cars; and even into a future time in which a thriving high-tech civilization is destroyed by a campaign of terrorist bombings, and everything begins again in an endless cycle.

The longest-running plot thread, and probably the best known, satirizes the Dreyfus affair — though both brief and complex satires of European history, politics, philosophy and theology are present throughout the novel. At various points, real historical figures such as Columba and Saint Augustine are part of the story, as well as fictionalized characters who represent historical people. Penguin Island is considered a critique of human nature from a socialist standpoint, in which morals, customs and laws are lampooned. For example, the origin of the aristocracy is presented as starting with the brutal and shameless murder of a farmer, and the seizure of his land, by a physically larger and stronger neighbor.
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