Little Sparta: Wild Hawthorn Press, 1981
9.7 x 5.7cm, 8pp plus printed red wrappers. Artist’s book which lists two groups of names – the first Angelique, Tilleul, Pavot, Serpolet, Cheverefgeuille and Thym are listed as “a litany for Prairial”. These are French names for herbs and Prairial is not only the Ninth revolutionary month (beginning in May) but also the time when the Law of 22 Prairial, also known as the loi de la Grande Terreur, was passed that gave power to the Committee of Public Safety that Robespierre turned into the dictatorship of the Terror. Herbs, of course, are picked and chopped up and consumed.
The second list “A requiem for Thermidor” has the names of the members of the Committee of Public Safety – Fleuriot, Hanriot, Couthon, Payan, Robespierre and Saint-Just. These were the victims of their own Terror when they were guillotined during the Thermidorian reaction (Robespierre went to his death in severe pain as he had tried to commit suicide only to partially blow off his own jaw in the attempt, Saint-Just was dignified and stoic).
The colours of the book papers are red, white and blue – the colours of the republic’s tricolour.
The Litany is one of religious praise – here for the spring but with foreboding and foreshadowing of the destruction of the Terrorists. The requiem a cry of pain for the deposed leaders who killed so many by dictat.

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