Dates / Schedules
November 15th e 22nd 2021 06:00pm
Predicting that the Paris Commune would end in a blood bath, Victor Hugo wrote that «at certain moments, people question everything, and such social earthquakes have tragic consequences.» During the Bloody Week of 21-28 May 1871, in the agitated tumult following the defeat of the supporters of the Commune, a wave of violent excesses and ruthless repression enveloped the two rival camps. Parisians then witnessed and participated in the denunciation, persecution and shooting of thousands of communards.
The end of the French popular uprising, which lasted for 54 days, and its final explosive incidents coincided, in Lisbon, with the launch of the Casino Democratic Conferences. At the time, Antero de Quental and Eça de Queiroz were young men, aged 29 and 25 respectively, who observed the hecatomb of the Paris Commune from afar.
«The resistance [shook] up the old society by means of petrol, dynamite and nitroglycerine!» writes Eça de Queiroz in the last chapter of The Crime of Father Amaro. With his well-known corrosive irony, over seven pages sprinkled with exclamation marks, Eça writes about the Paris Commune and, in the course of a conservation between the Count of Ribamar and two priests, which takes place beneath the pedestal of the statue of Camões in Lisbon’s Chiado district, a comparison is made between the state of Portuguese politics and society and the insurrection that set fire to a series of symbols of power and prestige in the French capital, such as the Palais de Justice, the Hotel de Ville, and the Palais de la Légion d’Honneur. The Count of Ribamar utters the following words: «After the example of the Commune, we will hear no more talk of a republic, the social question or the people for a good one hundred years! […] There may be one or two radicals who complain and spout all kinds of nonsense about the decadence of Portugal, who say that we’re stagnating […]! Utter rubbish!» The so-called «radicals» would probably be Eça himself and Antero de Quental, two of the leading figures at the Lisbon Casino Democratic Conferences, launched on 22 May 1871. – Ana Rocha
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