Chouans

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Chouans

(sho͞o`ənz, Fr. shwäN) [Norman Fr.,=owls], peasants of W France who rose against the French Revolutionary government in 1793. One of their first leaders was Jean Cottereau, traditionally nicknamed Jean Chouan, marquis de La Rouerie [John the owl, marquess of Mischief], and the Chouans supposedly used the hoot of an owl as a signal. The movement eventually merged with the contemporary rising in the VendéeVendée
, department (1990 pop. 509,356), W France, on the Bay of Biscay, in Poitou. The offshore islands of Noirmoutier and Yeu are included in the department. Largely an agricultural (dairying, cattle raising) and forested region, the Vendée has many beach resorts
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. The Chouans were motivated by their opposition to specific policies of the new republican government that interfered with their way of life, including religious policy and enforcement of the conscription laws. The name Chouannerie continued to be used in reference to guerrilla warfare that lasted until Napoleon. The so-called Petite Chouannerie persisted until 1815, when Napoleon was forced to divert troops from Waterloo to quell it. Honoré de Balzac's novel Les Chouans pictures these people vividly.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Chouans

 

rebels who engaged in counterrevolutionary activity in northwestern France during the French Revolution and under the Directory and the Consulate. The name “Chouan” is often said to derive from chat-huant, or screech owl, the bird whose cry the rebels imitated as a signal.

The first bands of Chouans formed in southern Maine in the summer of 1792. By 1793, the year usually taken as the beginning of the revolt, the Chouan movement had spread throughout northwestern France. Many of the rebels were peasants from economically and politically backward areas who had fallen under the influence of the royalists and counterrevolutionary clergy. Other peasants in the movement wished to avoid the conscription that had been announced in February 1793.

After the Jacobins came to power, rich peasants who had been alienated by government requisitions and by the introduction of the Law of the Maximum joined the Chouans. Ideological leadership of the rebels subsequently passed to the petty nobility and to priests who had refused to take the oath of allegiance.

Republican troops dealt the movement a heavy blow in 1794. Nevertheless, in 1795, G. Cadoudal led more than 10,000 Chouans in support of the Quiberon expedition. The Chouans, who were linked to the royalist emigres in Great Britain, continued the struggle until 1803, when the rebel movement was finally suppressed.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Her alleged delight in the romantic interest that formed the basis of the novel that since 1834 had been known as Les Chouans causes her to accept an invitation to Fougeres: 'Elle voulut voir Fougeres ou s'etait denouee l'aventure du marquis de Montauran, et parcourir le theatre de cette guerre pittoresque dont les tragedies [...] avaient berce son jeune age' (CH, IV, 912).
SCOBIE Breasley lands the Doncaster Cup for Lady Beaverbrook with Biskrah who responds well to Joe Mercer's driving to get up and pip French trained Le Chouan (Yves Saint-Martin).
Among his notable winners not mentioned above were Mount Hagen (1974) and Gravelines (1976) in the Prix du Moulin, Le Chouan (1970), Air de Cour (1986) and Victoire Bleue (1991) in the Prix du Cadran, African Sky (1973 Prix de la Foret), El Rastro (1976 Lockinge Stakes), Rouge Sang (1976 Gran Premio do Milano), Vertige (1987 Sandown Mile), Star Lift (1988 Prix Royal-Oak), Danseuse du Soir (1991 Poule d'Essai des Pouliches, Prix de la Foret), Glaieul (1991 Criterium de Saint-Cloud), Lost World (1993 Grand Criterium), Muncie (1995 Prix Saint-Alary), Poplar Bluff (1995 Prix de la Foret) and Loup Sauvage (1998 Prix d'Ispahan).
Le Bal de Sceaux was written in 1829, soon after Les Chouans. But while Les Chouans is set in 1800, at the end of an era (note the original title, "Le Dernier Chouan"), Le Bal de Sceaux takes place in 1815, at the beginning of the Restoration reign of Louis XVIII--a time of transition, of change, and of a sense of inevitable progress.
This enabled him, for example, to portray the heroism of the Resistance as continuous with that of earlier, humble heroes who had been willing to die for the liberation of their country, as in the comment: 'Jeanne [d'Arc], le chevalier sans peur et sans reproche, le sans-culotte, le chouan, le franc-tireur de l'armee de la Loire existent aujourd'hui derriare une meule, a l'oree d'un bois ou d'un chemin creux.
Canel for the first edition of his novel Le Dernier Chouan, ou la Bretagne en 1800.
Considerations of very different kinds of intertext such as Adolphe for Beatrix and La Muse du departement (Aline Mura) and Scott, Cooper, the Judith myth, and Sterne for Le Dernier Chouan (Michael Tilby) show Balzac creating his own self-conscious fictions with a critical relationship to his predecessors, to the genres they represent, and to the status of his own texts.
Barbey's novels, Une Vieille maitresse, L'Ensorcelee, Le Chevalier des Touches, Un Pretre marie, Une Histoire sans nom, Une Page d'histoire, and Ce qui ne meurt pas take place in Normandy in the wake of the Revolution and integrate either the suppression of the Chouan uprising or the remise en cause of the aristocracy.
Dismissed until recently as juvenilia, Balzac's early novels and plays had been viewed as failed attempts at literature before, at long last, the great writer finally emerges in the late 1820s, with the publication of Physiologie du marriage and Le Dernier Chouan. Recent scholarship, however, has shown that, in fact, there was a lot of Balzac as we know him in that early Balzac.
But if this is an exemplary reading of its kind (albeit with incorrect dates assigned to Le Dernier Chouan and the Physiologie du mariage), it disempowers the student by virtue of its isolation from current research.
Tire Farrant's Balzac's shorter fictions (2002), Andrew Oliver's monumental project to publish the entire Comedie in the form in which the works originally appeared, beginning with Le Dernier Chouan (Editions de l'Originale, 2005), and now Isabelle Tournier's hefty 2-volume anthology of Nouvelles et contes in Gallimard's "Quarto" series are all symptomatic of this new, aggressively historicist approach.