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Proof through the NightMusic and the Great War$
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Glenn Watkins

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780520231580

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520231580.001.0001

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Mobilization and the Call to History

Mobilization and the Call to History

(p.83) 5 Mobilization and the Call to History
Proof through the Night

Glenn Watkins

University of California Press

“Le chant du départ,” born during the French Revolution, was first performed in public on July 4, 1794. Jules Michelet, one of the first and most important of French nationalist historians, wrote proudly and effusively of its effect upon the citizenry, and a collection of France's most important patriotic songs compiled during the Great War, Marches et chansons des soldats de France, correctly ranked “Le chant du départ” next to “La Marseillaise” in impact and importance. Singing “Le chant du départ,” Parisians would inevitably have recalled another familiar and potent bit of imagery: the sculpture by François Rude that adorns the Champs-Elysées face of the Arc de Triomphe. Called “Le départ,” it shows a group of idealized figures moving to defend a threatened France. This chapter focuses on mobilization of French troops during the Great War, along with Claude Debussy's work for two pianos titled En blanc et noir, and Neoclassicism and national identity.

Keywords:   Great War, Le chant du départ, France, patriotic songs, Arc de Triomphe, mobilization, Claude Debussy, Neoclassicism, national identity

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