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Anne

simone_remy in melkam

Camille's response to Marat's criticism

This piece is from Revs no 76 following a misprint in no 73 (apostat instead of apostolat) I love it for it's wicked wit, especially comparing the fragrant J-P to a dog, Camille's concern with linguistics at the beginning and where he says that journalists are like poets, in a comic pre-echo of his last letter.


It appears that there was a significant misprint in my no 73; apostasy instead of evangelism, although the copies remaining with me say evangelism. Firstly the language indicates that it should be read as evangelism, then the contextual sense, because in this phrase I am praising Marat for his quality of steadfastness. In spite of this Marat takes the opportunity to send me eight pages of abuse.
Listen Marat: I simply advise you not to follow Gauthier's example so closely and to abuse people in place a little less. As for me, I give you permission to be as abusive to me as you like. You write in a subterranean hole, where the atmosphere is not conducive to merry thoughts and could make a Timon out of a Vade. You are perfectly correct to assert your seniority over me, and to scornfully refer to me as 'young man' as it is twenty four years since Voltaire  made fun of you; to call me unfair since I said you were the journalist who had best served the revolution; to call me malicious since I am the only writer who had dared to defend you; and, finally, to call me unpatriotic, since a clumsy misprint crept into a few copies.
Marat - it is useless to tell me your complaints, as you did six months ago; I tell you that as long as I see you raving on behalf of the revolution I will continue to praise you, because I believe that we must defend freedom like the town of St Malo - not only with men but with dogs.


I ask my readers' forgiveness for having taken up space in my journal to reply to Marat which should have been entirely devoted to public affairs. In doing so I have shown the weakness of following his example: journalists are like poets, genus irritabile. It is quite enough that I scorn to pay attention to the shitload of aristocratic insults which never fail to stop at my door each morning; that pile of manure is left by Marchand, Gauthier, Champigny and Etienne and merely fertilises my earth, but when I see Marat's tri-coloured cart stop there too, out of respect for the tri-coloured cart I am compelled to let him know my thoughts.
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Comments

actual LOL. Brilliant!
I think 'bless him' is the only response really :)
Thanks for this! I'd heard about the misprint - possibly in Hilary Mantel? - but hadn't seen Camille's response. Because it's not an apology, is it? LOL. And eight pages of abuse from Marat - I shouldn't think that document survived?
There could well be a reference in APoGS, she does draw the relationship between them to good effect and does meticulous research ~ I couldn't find anything from any of the other revolutionary prime movers in Camille's papers, and we surely wouldn't have missed eight pages from J-P. There could be stuff elsewhere because he did seem to save a lot, but I wonder if Matton didn't do a bit of private weeding out, he certainly edited some of the letters he published.