Staging the Revolution: Louise Michel

  • Cecilia Beach


Louise Michel, who is best known for her role in the Paris Commune, was the first major political woman playwright of the Third Republic. In her three full-length plays, which were published and performed in the years following the amnesty of the Communards in 1880, she staged grand spectacles of revolt and revolution. Her “messianic heroes,” as Robert Brustein calls the protagonists of the nineteenth-century “theatre of revolt,” aim to destroy the old world of injustice and corruption in order to form a new society based on freedom, social justice, and equality. Her protagonists, like the men and women with whom she had fought during the Commune, are willing to die for the cause. Louise Michel’s plays function as a form of political proselytism combining the anarchist methods of propaganda by the word and propaganda by the deed.


Censorship Bureau Cultural Politics Abandoned Mine National Guard Socialist Movement 
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  1. See Anne Sizaire, Louise Michel: L’Absolu de la générosité ( Paris: Desclée de Brouwer, 1995 ), 33Google Scholar
  2. Xavier de La Fournière, Louise Michel: matricule 2182 ( Paris: Perrin, 1986 ), 42–44.Google Scholar

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© Cecilia Beach 2005

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  • Cecilia Beach

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