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Paul Mason on Louise Michel

Episode 5 of 9

Journalist Paul Mason nominates French anarchist, Louise Michel. With Matthew Parris and historian Carolyn Eichner. From 2013.

TV journalist and writer Paul Mason talks to Matthew Parris about the 19th Century French anarchist, Louise Michel, heroine of the Paris Commune. They're joined by historian Carolyn Eichner who says that Michel "expounded action and aggression with a theatrical, infectious elegance."

Known as 'the Red Virgin of Montmartre', Michel fought on the barricades in the short-lived revolution of 1871. Captured and tried by the French government, she told her accusers: "Since it seems that every heart that beats for freedom has no right to anything but a little lump of lead, I demand my share. If you let me live, I shall never cease to cry for vengeance and l shall avenge my brothers. If you are not cowards, kill me!"

She served seven years in a penal colony in the South Pacific and seven thousand Parisians turned out to welcome her home. She was a school teacher, writer, orator, anthropologist, feminist and cat-lover. She wrote some moving poems – and an opera about the destruction of the world.

Producer: Peter Everett

First broadcast on BBC Radio 4in 2013.

Available now

30 minutes


Role Contributor
Presenter Matthew Parris
Interviewed Guest Paul Mason
Editor James Cook


  • Tue 3 Sep 2013 16:30
  • Fri 6 Sep 2013 23:00
  • Thu 3 Oct 2019 18:30
  • Fri 4 Oct 2019 00:30

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