July 5th, 2010

On Finishing Simon Schama's Citizens

On Finishing Simon Schama's Citizens

So the revolution achieved nothing?
No, Simon, emphatically no!
It achieved itself. 
It was theatre. It was performance art-
Red caps, rhetoric, the sound of clogs on cobbles-
And it inserted into the timeline a number of remarkable years when things did not run as usual-
When the likes of Talleyrand (amiable man that he was) did not entirely prosper.
It bequeathed us one very good song, one very good painting
And the aspiration (of a green-eyed promenader on Les Champs Elysees)
That the state might be virtuous.