René-Martin Pillet: A French republican's jaundiced view of Britain?
- Číslo 57 
PublisherUniverzita Karlova, Filozofická fakulta
SourceLitteraria Pragensia, 2019, 57, 119-131
KeywordsKeywords not found
René-Martin Pillet (1762-1815) found fame (and notoriety) with his description of the plight of the anonymous many on board English prison ships. His account of his captivity (and indirectly of previous stays in Britain) was published at the end of an eventful life: a trained lawyer, a follower of La Fayette, which eventually branded him an émigré to French authorities, he travelled to America where he became a citizen of the new republic; an officer in the armies of the Consulate and Empire, he fought from Guadeloupe to Portugal where he became a prisoner of the English. His social and geographical mobility highlights the problematic status of émigré and prisoner in the context of social and political upheavals in France and Britain brought about by the French Revolution and the turmoil of the Napoleonic wars. His book L’Angleterre vue à Londres et dans ses provinces pendant un séjour de dix années, dont six comme prisonnier de guerre (1815), a powerful indictment of French Anglomania, nevertheless provides perceptive observations on British institutions and manners. At the same time his Anglophobic remarks contribute pieces to the puzzle Pierre Reboul called “le mythe anglaise,” pieces Byron helped fit together.