It all began in the summer of 1789 when a mob of Parisians stormed the Bastille fortress to collect a large supply of ammunition and put a fork in royal rule.
Widely thought of as the key in the French Revolution ignition, this time period spawned radical social change and brought about many influential writers and activists. As an ode to this holiday, we’ve gathered some pretty badass French writers who have not only made their way into classic literature with their worthy accomplishments, but they’ve also made us say Mon Dieu!
François-Marie Arouet de Voltaire (AKA Voltaire): One day, Voltaire got locked up in the Bastille Prison for insulting a French nobleman. He was put away without a trial, no bail, and no form of defense. Fearing a lifelong sentence, he proposed that he be exiled to England instead, which authorities accepted.
Instead of cursing out the government, he made it his goal to improve the French judicial system via his well crafted, observant, and persuasive writings. Go Voltaire! And… he wrote a science fiction piece about aliens visiting Earth only to witness humankind’s foibles. Yes!
Émilie du Châtelet: The romantic puzzlepiece to Volatire, Émilie is famously known for her translation and commentary on Isaac Newton's work Principia Mathematica. To this day, it is still the standard version used among scholars. Émilie was an astute writer who used her mathematical brilliance and academic writing to unravel the mysteries of life. In fact, some say she was writing about energy and velocity 150 years before Mr. Einstein even had a tongue to stick out. Science faux pas.
Knitting is perhaps the quintessential unhip pastime, so it serves authors well as a convenient shorthand for earnest domesticity and obliviousness to fashion. Identifying a character as a knitter evokes a web of associations and expectations — which, of course, the clever author will sometimes turn on their head.
Here’s a skein of knitters from literature, sorted by type.
Waffles and picnics are two words rarely seen together in a sentence, but thanks to Dorie Greenspan's inspired recipe, the two might be seen in public more often this summer. Forget what you think you know about this breakfast food staple: after pressing the waffles into shape, add them to a 200F oven for a good hour and a half to get them crisped to nacho-like perfection.