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(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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



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 ?
Both authors side with the Chouans, those who have remained loyal to their priests and lost everything in return.
(34) Notwithstanding the narrator's remark to the reader about the secret that will be revealed at the end of the novel, they are not genuine enigmas, as they are in another novel where the word 'secret' is ubiquitous, Les Chouans, (35) a work which, as has been noted, is explicitly recalled in La Vieille Fille.
See "The Chouans" (2: 291), "The Country Parson" (6: 60), "Ursule Mirouet" (8: 214), and "Vautrin's Last Avatar" (26: 47).
Sin embargo, muchos historiadores de la literatura francesa datan el origen del Realismo hacia 1830, un ano despues de que Balzac publicara Les chouans, e indican el fin con el cierre del Segundo Imperio o con la publicacion de la novela de Zola, Therese Raquin (1867).
Toussaint Louverture is central to this project, though other notable figures were also imprisoned at Joux--Protestants after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, Mirabeau (for personal rather than political reasons), chouans after the Vendee, the German patriot-poet von Kleist, as well as mulatto generals, contemporaries of Toussaint.
'Would you have called the Chouans terrorists?' I asked instead, thinking of the night ambushes, the burnings and throat cuttings, the credulous peasantry pressed into almost certain suicide in that uprising against the French Revolution in the 1790s.
In 1829 were issued Les Chouans, the first novel he published under his own name, and La Physiologie du mariage(The Physiology of Marriage), a satire on cuckoldry.
He still wages the war of the Chouans against the French Revolution; he resigned from his civil service job when a Socialist became the President of the Republic.
They are, on the whole, undistinguished; Balzac later averred that the decade from 1819 until he began work on The Chouans in 1829 constituted his apprenticeship in the art of fiction.
Among the best known of these novels are Les Chouans, Eug enie Grandet, Le Pere Goriot, La Recherche de l ' absolu (1834), Cesar Birotteau (1837), Le Cur e de village (1839), La Cousine Bette, The Country Doctor, and
From Balzac's Les Chouans in 1829 to Hugo's Les Miserables in 1862, French literature is permeated with the memory of Napoleon, his battles, his soldiers, and the veterans who survived his accursed wars.