Random thought about Combeferre

Any discussion related to Victor's Hugo's Les Misérables, in any language.
User avatar
Marianne
Posts: 1724
Joined: Sun Jul 30, 2006 2:20 pm
Location: Paris
Contact:

Random thought about Combeferre

Postby Marianne » Wed Nov 08, 2006 6:24 pm

This might be because all our wee kids have nationalistic propaganda drilled into them from a young age... but though Hugo alludes to it rather than mentions it outright, I think Combeferre must have been a total American Revolution fanboy. I mean, he goes on for pages and pages about how the lad adored change and progress and democracy, but preferred it without all the fire and brimstone and undue violence. And the American Revolution is fairly unique in that the only violence was a clash of armies; when internal problems cropped up, people bickered and debated and nobody got decapitated or stabbed in the head with an icepick.

I mean, I don't deny that the country's gone downhill in the meantime, but Combeferre would totally admire how civilized the whole affair was.

Thoughts, anyone? I'd be particularly interested in how a European perspective might have affected his thoughts on this, because I was raised in the US and it's kind of difficult for me to take a step back from our history.
[Dieu] entend ta voix, ô fille des hommes! aussi bien que celle des constellations; car rien n'est petit pour celui devant lequel rien n'est grand.
- George Sand, Les sept cordes de la lyre

User avatar
Frédéric Dumont
Posts: 2243
Joined: Sun Oct 22, 2006 7:27 pm
Location: Beside the guillotine. Snickering. :D
Contact:

Postby Frédéric Dumont » Wed Nov 08, 2006 10:19 pm

It's certainly possible Hugo was hinting at that, since back in those times America still was something like a land of dreams to most Europeans. It was a long way away and therefore was seen in a quite idealized way. Nowadays, as you're probably aware, Europeans are very much convinced that we have it waaaaay better where we are, but back then, it was the other way 'round.
Image

aka Darth Gilthoron
I am the lawrr and the lawrr is not mocked! *growl*
THE BLOOD OF THE SPAMBOTS SHALL WATER THE MEADOWS OF FRANCE!!!

User avatar
MmeJavert
Benevolent Dictator
Posts: 2168
Joined: Sun Jul 30, 2006 1:21 am
Location: Buffalo, NY
Contact:

Postby MmeJavert » Thu Nov 09, 2006 3:47 am

Huh. You know, that always made total sense to me too. Enough sense that I'm pretty sure I have 'Ferre geeking about it somewhere. I remember writing it, at least, and stopping to laugh when it reached 5k+ XD. Damned if I know what happened to it; it's probably not in L'Avenir.
and to this day, she's glided on
always home but so far away
like a word misplaced
nothing said, what a waste

~pearl jam, "dissident"

User avatar
Aurelia Combeferre
Posts: 8847
Joined: Mon Nov 13, 2006 9:57 am
Location: somewhere with the abased
Contact:

Postby Aurelia Combeferre » Mon Nov 13, 2006 11:56 am

It is likely that Combeferre might have been reeally influenced by the American revolution. There was a bit of literature about the revolution that had been published by the 1820's....so it's not surprising.

Where I am, we study revolutions as part of history, and I do remember my teacher going ON about the American Revolution for what must have been days. Guess it's less painful to look at what you are a bit more removed from...kidding aside, I understand what the experience of studying a different political model must be like.
"...all aptitudes having equal opportunity; politically, all votes having equal weight; religiously, all consciences having equal rights."

User avatar
sansculotte
Posts: 33
Joined: Fri Sep 01, 2006 7:43 pm
Location: Poland

Re: Random thought about Combeferre

Postby sansculotte » Tue Dec 05, 2006 8:19 pm

Marianne wrote:and nobody got decapitated or stabbed in the head with an icepick.


If we are talking about the same great revolutionary (which is almost absolutely sure), it was not an icepick, but an ice-axe.

And back to the main topic... I'm not sure if Combeferre was to be an allusion to American revolution. He was rather a symbol of slow, parliamentary changes done by years of evolution. In his famous phrase 'Revolution but civilization', civilization is valued much more than revolution - it's possible that he wanted to say 'Yeah, revolution is a high value but couldn't we introduce all this in a peaceful way, without the bloodshed?'.
If you give no limits to liberty, you'll soon get rid of equality and if you want to keep perfect equality, liberty will disappear faster than you think. The point is then to choose one of the two.

User avatar
Marianne
Posts: 1724
Joined: Sun Jul 30, 2006 2:20 pm
Location: Paris
Contact:

Re: Random thought about Combeferre

Postby Marianne » Tue Dec 05, 2006 9:30 pm

sansculotte wrote:
Marianne wrote:and nobody got decapitated or stabbed in the head with an icepick.


If we are talking about the same great revolutionary (which is almost absolutely sure), it was not an icepick, but an ice-axe.


Heh, I think it's a regional thing. I live in a place where we don't get much snow; we call something like this an icepick. XD
[Dieu] entend ta voix, ô fille des hommes! aussi bien que celle des constellations; car rien n'est petit pour celui devant lequel rien n'est grand.

- George Sand, Les sept cordes de la lyre

User avatar
Gervais
Posts: 5975
Joined: Mon Sep 03, 2012 11:10 pm
Location: Smelling your soul within your handkerchief

Re: Random thought about Combeferre

Postby Gervais » Sat Nov 10, 2012 12:55 am

*gets out stick and pokes thread*

Agreed that Combeferre is more of a symbol of peaceful change, though I think that Combeferre would have liked the American Revolution's execution. Maybe not the end result; honestly, the people who ended up getting the most out of it were (arguably) just the higher-class white men. But the violence was mostly short and sweet (with some exceptions--Boston massacre, arguably Francis Marion, etc.) and most of the ideals that founded the revolution actually ended up coming into being. Again, mostly just for free white men, but "life, liberty, pursuit of happiness" did end up being there for part of the population.

And since it's established that Combeferre does somewhat accept resorting to violence when needed, he'd probably be alright with all the guerrila fighters from the south. (Though I can see Enjolras being more of the Francis Marion and William Moultrie fanboy. And I see both of them liking Ben Franklin, for some reason.)

Why yes, I did just ressurect a 6-year dormant thread with a rant that probably belongs somewhere in the Meta section. Oh well.
Image

"The peas, Woyzeck. The PEAS."

User avatar
between4walls
Posts: 471
Joined: Wed Apr 13, 2011 8:50 pm
Contact:

Re: Random thought about Combeferre

Postby between4walls » Sun Nov 11, 2012 5:35 am

There are two places where Hugo brings in George Washington that I found interesting, and one explicitly linked Combeferre to Washington:

" The good must be innocent, he repeated incessantly. And in fact, if the grandeur of the Revolution consists in keeping the dazzling ideal fixedly in view, and of soaring thither athwart the lightnings, with fire and blood in its talons, the beauty of progress lies in being spotless; and there exists between Washington, who represents the one, and Danton, who incarnates the other, that difference which separates the swan from the angel with the wings of an eagle."

Which implies Washington=swan=progress=type of thing Combeferre likes. Though the sentence structure is whack, at least in this translation. So I think it's quite likely that he admired the American Revolution.

The other Washington-related LM quote isn't related to Combeferre, but it does deal directly with fighting between armies vs. internecine fighting and with the compatibility of the American and French Revolutions.

"By what right should the sword of Washington disown the pike of Camille Desmoulins?...Despotism violates the moral frontier, an invasion violates the geographical frontier. Driving out the tyrant or driving out the English, in both cases, regaining possession of one's own territory."
Here day embraces night, and says: I will die with you and you will be reborn with me. From the heavy embrace of all desolations springs faith.

The real name of devotion is disinterestedness.

User avatar
Gervais
Posts: 5975
Joined: Mon Sep 03, 2012 11:10 pm
Location: Smelling your soul within your handkerchief

Re: Random thought about Combeferre

Postby Gervais » Tue Jul 30, 2013 6:06 pm

Meta-ish ramble:
I'm reading a biography on Thomas Jefferson, and although I haven't gotten too deep in it yet, I can totally imagine young Combeferre somewhat idolizing him for his words about freedom and equality, and then reading about the more hypocritical parts of his life, and then being scarred enough by it that he doesn't neccesarily idolize him anymore (though he still likes his words, ideals, and some parts of his life) and that this experience was part of why he doesn't like Marius' Napoleon fanboying so much (in addition to the idea that a great country with miserable citizens isn't that great). I wish I knew more about how Jefferson was viewed by the public in the 1830s (and/or 60s) just to be able to somewhat confirm this.
Image

"The peas, Woyzeck. The PEAS."

User avatar
freedomlover
Posts: 7171
Joined: Mon Dec 03, 2012 3:47 am
Location: The Barricade of Freedom!!! or the Saint-Merri Barricade

Re: Random thought about Combeferre

Postby freedomlover » Wed Jul 31, 2013 2:48 am

I absolutely love this thread :D As a huge American Revolution nerd myself, I approve ;)
ImageTime Machine Theory:According to some people, Hugo had a time machine and based Enjolras on this user but made a male version of this user.

User avatar
CeridwenLynne
Posts: 188
Joined: Thu Aug 15, 2013 2:30 pm
Location: At the Cafe Musain discussing politics with Enjolras.

Re: Random thought about Combeferre

Postby CeridwenLynne » Mon Nov 04, 2013 5:46 pm

freedomlover wrote:I absolutely love this thread :D As a huge American Revolution nerd myself, I approve ;)


Ditto!

In one of my fanfics I have Enjolras and Combeferre having a heated discussion over the French vs. American Revolution. Enjolras admires Robespierre while Combeferre claims his heroes are George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison. He encourages Enjolras to read the anti-federalist papers and Enjolras does so.
" He makes no vain sacrifice who fights for a cause. All here are ready to die so that our brothers may live as free men. Liberty... sweet liberty... come fight with those who defend you." ----Enjolras.


Return to “The Brick”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests

cron