The Siècle is a multimedia project devoted to telling the story of France’s history from 1814 to 1914, written and produced by David H. Montgomery. The century is one of both turmoil and stagnation, of revolution and industrialization, of wealth and poverty, of colonialism and humiliation.
You can follow The Siècle in two different formats:
- Audio: A podcast version is available on iTunes and other podcast directories
- Print: This website hosts the written versions of the podcast scripts, including citations, graphics, footnotes, external links and bibliography
This website is designed by David Montgomery, using Jekyll, and hosted on AWS. Each episode’s script is posted in full on this website, at a URL matching this format: thesiecle.com/episode11. The episode number in the URL is always in numeral form. The written scripts posted here are the same as the recorded versions, with several possible minor exceptions:
- The addition of footnotes and images
- The omission of certain oral techniques, such as pronouncing “quote” to indicate quotations
- Occasional lines referring people to thesiecle.com for more content, which are obviously no longer necessary once someone is already at thesiecle.com. (I may also leave these in.)
The podcast is hosted on Libsyn.
Theme song and art
The theme song is the Prélude to Georges Bizet’s L’Arlésienne Suite No. 1, obtained from the Internet Archive.
The podcast’s logo was designed by me, based off of the public domain 1830 painting “Scène de Juillet 1830” by Léon Cogniet, which shows a white Bourbon flag being transformed into a tricolor by being shot away and bloodstained. The blue-green portions of the map of France were French throughout the entire period of the podcast; Alsace-Lorraine, which was lost to Germany in 1871, is colored black; Savoy, which was gained from the nascent Italy in 1860, is colored bright green. Both colors come from the official German and Italian flags.
All images used in the podcast’s banner except one come from Wikimedia Commons and are either in the public domain or under a Creative Commons license. They include, from left to right, top to bottom, portraits of:
- King Louis-Philippe by Franz Xaver Winterhalter
- Emperor Napoleon III after an original by Winterhalter
- King Louis XVIII, unknown artist
- Charles X by François Gérard (uploaded by user Le Grand Condé, CC BY-SA 4.0)
- Scientist Louis Pasteur by Albert Edelfelt (uploaded by user Fæ, CC BY-SA 4.0)
- Author George Sand by Eugène Delacroix (uploaded by user Christelle Molinié, CC BY-SA 4.0)
- Catholic saint Bernadette Soubirous1, unknown artist
- Author Victor Hugo by Władysław Ciesielski
The two images in the center are the Eiffel Tower, from an 1889 painting by Georges Garen, and the Sacré-Cœur Basilica on Montmartre, from an undated etching by Charles Pinet. The two monuments were constructed during the French Third Republic and symbolized two different visions for the future of France: modern and industrial vs. traditional and religious.
The expanded version of the banner, as seen on some social media sites, includes four additional paintings. Clockwise from upper left, they are:
- Fin du travail by Jules Breton
- La plage à Villerville by Eugène Boudin
- La Gare Saint –Lazare, le train de Normandie by Claude Monet
- Palais des Tuileries, Incendie du 24 Mai 1871… Vue prise du côte du Jardin by Léon Sabatier et Albert Adam (actually a lithograph, not a painting)
About the creator
The Siècle is written and hosted by David H. Montgomery, a journalist based in Minnesota. A native of the midwestern United States, Montgomery has spent a decade covering state and federal politics and working with data and visualizations, but has long had a passion for history. He decided to make The Siècle last December, while temporarily unemployed and in the middle of a long solo car ride to the soundtrack of Revolutions and The History of Byzantium episodes.
He majored in political science at Grinnell College and studied abroad in 2007 in Aix-en-Provence, France. In his spare time, Montgomery is a fan of the Chicago Cubs, board games and good scotch. You can follow him on Twitter at @dhmontgomery and read his personal writing at dhmontgomery.com.