The Care and Feeding of Bricks

Any discussion related to Victor's Hugo's Les Misérables, in any language.
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merlin_emrys
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Postby merlin_emrys » Wed Oct 14, 2009 7:44 pm

MmeBahorel wrote:At least that's what I'm hoping from context. Because even M. Gillenormand, from everything else, wouldn't be saying "that's good" about the only friend Marius has apparently ever had being dead.

Unless he was going a bit senile. But aside from that option, there's really no reason for him to be so callous. I know similar phrases, "Eh bien" and the like, are used especially in Quebec and seem to have very little meaning at all -- rather like a filler "Yeah, OK." I don't know if it was used that way in 19th century France, though.

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Postby a_marguerite » Wed Oct 14, 2009 11:03 pm

Hunh. Oh translation, why are you so goddamned difficult?

Gillenormand is gruff when he's emotional, so maybe that places it in context? He tends to go overboard with the gruffness/ get away from emotional issues very quickly if he can, so maybe it was a bit of a throwaway, 'Oh, good, moving on' type thing, as other people have suggested.

Re: Marius as a Revolutionary Leader, OMG

Workers: ... who are you?
Marius: Baron Marius Pontmercy.
Random Worker: Oh, a baron, eh? Ha ha.
Marius: (offended) I shall have you know that the Emperor himself bestowed the title on my father on the field of battle.
Random Worker: Yeah? And Charles X made me a duke.
Marius: How can you not respect the wishes of the glorious emperor?! He is the only complete man in all of French history--
Random Other Worker: Oh come on, let's not waste time arguing. Want to play a round of dominoes?
Marius: !!!! DOMINOES? I WOULD RATHER DIE THAN DEGRADE MYSELF IN SUCH A FASHION, PLAYING DOMINOES WITH PEOPLE WHO DO NOT UNDERSTAND THE POWER AND GLORY OF THE EMPEROR! OH URSULE, MY LIFE IS NOTHING BUT MISERY WITHOUT YOU, BEREFIT OF EVEN THOSE WHO UNDERSTAND THE JUSTNESS OF BONAPARTISM! (stalks off in a huff)

Ten minutes later:
Enjolras: (entering and letting the door hit him in his astonishment) ... where is Marius?
Random Other Worker: Who?
Random Worker: Hey, want to play a round of dominoes?

In all seriousness, I'm guessing that Marius's small favors meant that Enjolras, seeing everything as he does from the context of The Republic, would think that chatting with a group of workers is a small favor akin to loaning Courfeyrac that sixty francs way back when. I also see the 'not decidedly entering into the group' thing as maybe meaning that Marius hung around them a la Grantaire and his dreamy abstractions were interpreted as a dimming enthusiasm for Bonapartism. Of course, that would be a wildly optimistic interpretation for Enjolras to take, but he did give Grantaire a chance. I dunno, maybe Marius absently said something about the 1830 Revolution being a good idea (I vaguely remember Hugo mentioning that the 1830s Rev. pleased Marius, in a sort of absent-minded way) and Enjolras figured that Marius, though easily distracted, was now a republican.

It does seem more than a little improbable unless Courfeyrac was spreading wild rumors about Marius's political activism.

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Postby Frédérique » Wed Oct 14, 2009 11:10 pm

Oh, and is there a prayer in heck that "ceci est bon" is really just a nineteenth century French way of saying "whatever - moving on".


I certainly hope so! (I was hoping, Merlin, before picking up the French book, that the original of that line would turn out to have been 'Eh bien.', but 'Ceci est bon.' seems frightfully much like an actual statement.) It's the only way in which that line can possibly be anything but brutal (and it can't have been meant to be - when it comes to Gillenormand Hugo never tires of stressing that He Really Did Care For Marius, though he may have expressed it 'curs[ing], shout[ing], and storm[ing] and brandish[ing] his cane', in 'grave and angry' tones, a 'violent fashion', or 'with an accompaniment of snappishness and boxes on the ear'-- all courtesy of Hapgood).


Mlle Gillenormand found him when he was living in the same building as Courfeyrac.


Ye-es, but it is only the same building, isn't it (i.e. there could be a dozen people living there, all strangers to one another except at dinner time, no reason to assume M. was above-averagely acquainted with any of them)? They aren't actually roommates at that point, merely neighbours. (Though, Courfeyrac does 'answer for' Marius when he fails to pay his rent on time, so the connection has been noted by the landlord, at least.) I think it was the Annotated Thingummy™ that made an explicit point of Marius' agreeing to live in the same building, but not the same room, but, er, I may be making that up. (Too late here to look up the small print :P)

@Cary - I must confess, I do actually view Gillenormand in negative terms much in line with those you mention adopting before you read the book.
All-apparent bon-vivant charm aside, what is there to be liked about the man? Particularly in contrast with the ever-popular punching bag that is Monsieur le Baron. Goodness knows there are a dozen good reasons to disapprove of Marius in just about any context, but 'he is so harsh towards his grandfather, who, unlike himself, has always been such a darling, showing such sound opinions and kind, considerate behaviour' seems hardly the best of them. Those (-- I regularly clash with an otherwise dear acquaintance who holds the aforementioned view, literally) who rush to attack self-serving behaviour, short sight, and stubbornness in the young, where it is (to speak as an optimist) a temporary phase, are markedly quick to accept it in the old, where it is settled, definite and true.
(But charming he is.)


It does seem more than a little improbable unless Courfeyrac was spreading wild rumors about Marius's political activism.


That is adorable/hilarious. 'No, no, I swear, he single-handedly translated the Republican Institutions into the dialects of at least thirty-five German dwarf states last week!'.

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Postby MmeBahorel » Wed Oct 14, 2009 11:23 pm

a_marguerite: I'm reading that as a Monty Python sketch, possibly because I saw Spamalot way more times than I ever would have thought and was actively missing the show this weekend. (I want a regional production, and I never thought I would say that about this show before seeing it, but it would be awesome.) Thus, total LOLs :)

Frédérique: My assumption there is that whoever was actively searching for Marius would of course have talked to the landlord/concierge, who seems likely to go "Pontmercy? Oh, M. de Courfeyrac's friend, right? Such a pretty young man. Hasn't paid a bill yet." and thus get back that Marius has a friend. Because the landlord/concierge does go to Marius and say something like "Courfeyrac answers for you, which is all well and good, but I need to get paid." Because Marius then sends for Courfeyrac and finally explains he's broke and no, he doesn't want Courfeyrac to pay his bill for him. They seem to be linked in her mind because Courfeyrac introduced him, possibly also because she has seen them go in and out together (because this is when Courfeyrac is trying to indoctrinate him), so it seems plausible to come up. Really depends on how closely she runs the house, though, and we don't have enough information to determine that.
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Postby Frédérique » Thu Oct 15, 2009 9:55 am

Hmmm, but ... if information had come back in such relative detail, would not Mlle Gillenormand possibly (assuming she would have ventured to apply the order to send sixty pistoles every six months, full stop, in less literal and more practical terms, which may be unlikely to begin with) have tried, before dropping a box of money on Marius, to pay his bills directly? Or if not wouldn't she, upon first receiving back the six hundred francs, have tried that - to send money not to Marius, but to one she knew he owed money to? (Okay, it is unlikely she thought that far/tried to take matters into hand to that extent.) Unless Marius, in turn, left note with the concierge/landlord not to accept any payments in his name that did not come from himself, which seems an order less realistically taken than given.
Though, it seems he first receives and refuses the money at about the same time at which he does pay the bill he has run up and moves out. Which would mean, unless Hugo jumps back and forth over a larger 'meanwhile' than it appears, that whoever searched for him would have been there only a few days earlier (there might actually be a connection, then, 'people come looking for this boy, perhaps he is in debt elsewhere, better see about getting my money now', which would explain why 'and by the way, some bourgeois' servant asked the concierge about you yesterday' does not stand alongside 'Monsieur Courfeyrac answered for you.' in the landlord's words to Marius).
Hm. No, it must have been a slightly larger 'meanwhile', he has ten francs left after paying the rent and has three francs left when he sends back the sixty pistoles, so presumably that's later. Which means ... Mlle Gillenormand wouldn't try to pay his debts directly even if it were likely to occur to her because she hasn't found him until after he has paid? Argh, now the timeline's all knotty. The question's whether he moves out immediately after paying what he owed, in which case Mlle Gillenormand would in fact not have tracked him down at the Porte Saint-Jacques but at the Gorbeau house (which would explain, unless someone at the former knew where he moved, why apparently she keeps sending the money a few times during his stay there without any mention being made of another extensive search for his new address), or not.
ANYHOW. All this does/did presuppose that a statement along the lines of 'Hasn't paid a bill yet.' would have been made in Whoever Asked's original conversation with Whoever Answered, and of course it's just as possible that it wasn't - or that this particular bit of information didn't make it through the grapevine - but that the general idea - 'lives in this hotel by the Porte Saint-Jacques he was brought into by another student' - did come across.
With the return address on the passed-the-bar letter ruled out (... we-ell, he was living at the Gorbeau house at that time and not actually at Courfeyrac's, so technically he wouldn't have given his own location away, and his aunt evidently knew it either way ... all right, it doesn't make sense) it must have gone this way, but it's still a pretty obscure affair.

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Postby bigR » Fri Oct 16, 2009 1:32 am

Enjolras et ses lieutenants is inconsistant in more than one way.
First, there's the "Feuilly, n'est-ce pas?" If the n'est-ce pas were at the end of the sentence it could be read as a form of politeness but been placed were it is, it can only mean that Enjolras isn't 100% sure of Feuilly's name. My reading of this is that although we only know the name of 10 students, Hugo clearly states that they are more members of the ABC. These are some people he picked out because he had to personalise the group, but they are dozens of ABC members/simpatizers. Feuilly doesn't hang out with the group because he is from a different social extraction. Enjolras and him share political discussions but that's all. He knows his name, but since they aren't that close he has to make sure.
Of course, this reasoning has a huge flaw. Since they are more members in the ABC group how can it be that Grantaire is the only one left when he wants to send his lieutenants to the other groups? What about all these people we meet when Marius first gets into the back room? Big hugoesque mistery. Maybe, those eight members he sends around were those who showed up that particular day.
But then, if you were Enjolras, wouldn't you have postponed for one day the visit to the barrière du Maine and go there yourself instead of sending Grantaire? It really had to be done that particular day. Second inconsistency.

Third. Grantaire: “je sais par coeur ma constitution de l'an Deux”. Well, there isn’t such a thing as a “constitution de l’an deux”. There was a constitution in revolutionary year I, and another in revolutionary year III. Is it Hugo who is mistaken? Is it Grantaire and Hugo is making some kind of joke?

Timeline inconsistencies. Well, yes, Enjolras must have been really distracted if he’s just noticed that Marius hasn’t been taking part of their revolutionary activities for the past 4 years… My explanation is that Marius is not a member of the ABC but he has still hanged out with the group these 4 years. We see him hanging out with them on a couple of occasions, and he is living at courfeyrac's, the amis know he is in love…. And well, Hugo wrote that they remained good pals. He must see them, and talk to them, even if he’s not a full member of the ABC? But the fact remains that Marius is still not a republican, how would he indoctrinate anyone?
So, the only valid explanation I can find for all this. Hugo had written the dominoes scene long ago. At first it was part of Marius first visit to the back room. He deleted it because he found something better. But he still wanted to place it somewhere. And couldn’t find a better place. So, he concocted an implausible chapter where Enjolras can’t find anyone better than Grantaire to go to the barrière du Main and placed his little dominoes jokes in there because he thought it was so fun no matter how many inconsistencies he had to face.
Complementary explanation: maybe this chapter doesn’t take place exactly right before the insurrection. Maybe it is supposed to depict the social and political atmosphere of the whole period between Marius 1st appearance and the insurrection. What do we do with july 1830 then? Hugo: “Oh, fuck, I forgot to mention the revolution that did actually succeed! Doesn’t matter. My work is more about poetic history that accurate historic facts!”
Last edited by bigR on Sun Oct 18, 2009 12:53 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby bigR » Fri Oct 16, 2009 1:39 am

Double posting because I forgot to add the Gillenormand vindication I had in mind. No, he’s not cruel, nor vindictive or bitchy! Remember, at this point the poor man is ready to accept everything from his grand-son just to see him healthy and happy and at his side!
In French “ceci est bon” can be used to show surprise, and that’s how I’ve always read Gillenormand’s words. An English equivalent could be “that’s a good one!”, so maybe his answer is not the most diplomatic, but he certainly is not happy about Courfeyrac’s death.
Last edited by bigR on Fri Oct 16, 2009 10:13 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Frédérique » Fri Oct 16, 2009 8:30 am

In French “ceci est bon” can be used to show surprise, and that’s how I’ve always read Gillenormand’s words. An English equivalent could be “that’s a good one!”, so maybe his answer is not the most diplomatic, but he certainly is not happy about Courfeyrac’s dead.


Oh, good (literally)! I can't tell you how relieved I am to have that line explained, it's been "?!"-ing me since first read. I had assumed he hadn't meant it as in 'and meant it to sting' ('Ha, take that, regicides! You just go on off the surface of the earth!'), but surely (momentarily forgetting his resolution to keep his disapproval of Marius' politics in the other room) in the vein of 'All the better now!'.

Shame about the n'est-ce pas! Another convenient explanation gone to shreds (I love this forum; one learns more here in a week than in a month bent over dusty doorstoppers)! Considering Feuilly is apparently the only worker fit to be mentioned as a primary member and act as lieutenant, and there apparently aren't so many of those as it is, you'd think Enjolras could remember his name. What the heck. (Courfeyrac: "Where's Combeferre, today?" - "He is seeing someone ..." - "Is he now! May one learn the details of the affair?" - "The fan maker ..." - "Enjolras, I count no less than ten fan makers among my acquaintances. In fact, I have been on intimate terms with at least three." - "The autodidact ..." - "You mean the one who's always trying to improve himself reading all the books at the library from A to Z?" - "The cosmopolitan ..." - "Ah, Feuilly!" - "... yes. Probably.")

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Postby Col.Despard » Fri Oct 16, 2009 1:21 pm

So, the only valid explanation I can find for all this. Hugo had written the dominoes scene long ago. At first it was part of Marius first visit to the back room. He deleted it because he found something better. But he still wanted to place it somewhere. And couldn’t find a better place. So, he concocted an implausible chapter where Enjolras can’t find anyone better than Grantaire to go to the barrière du Main and placed his little dominoes jokes in there because he thought it was so fun no matter how many inconsistencies he had to face.

This is rather how I'm seeing it too, bigR. It almost reads like a pre-1830 scene...things are hotting up in the last days of Charles X, and Enjolras has his little confab. But then Hugo wants to skim that, doesn't want to lose this scene, and so shoe-horns it into 1832. But I find it hard to believe he was so careless (oh, wait...what was Enjolras' age again at the barricades?).

As it stands, Enjolras is being very blond (and no offence to the blonds out there - like Louise Brooks, I'm a natural blond. Even though my hair is very dark). He clearly likes Poland Guy. Thinks he's pretty cool. Just can't really fix Poland Guy's name in his head. At least he doesn't call him Futrelle or something. Love your scenario, Frédérique - unfortunately, it seems to fit the case. Although he must have done a stunning job with his delegated task that day, because by the barricades Enjolras has totally embraced the Feuilly concept. I wonder how Feuilly felt about going from being "That Guy" to Enjolras delegating him some huge combat responsibilities and giving him a major shout-out in his final speech. He probably wouldn't have minded going back to being That Guy.

Enjolras is...a funny judge of character at times. Take Marius. Not just at the "Lieutenants" stage, but the whole "you are the chief thing". And then there's the Mabeuf episode. Never mind that Courfeyrac points out that no, he's not a regicide or former member of the Convention...he's just an old bloke acting out of character. Enjolras is just blown away by his awesomeness and adores him. That odd bloke looking keenly at everyone and everything? Good thing there's a handy gamin around to point out he's a spy. Poor Grantaire finally cottoned on to the fact that the way to get to Enjolras was to do the Big Gesture. The more potentially fatal - or actually fatal - the better.

I wonder what Feuilly did to rocket to Super Awesome status? Steal Louis Philippe's umbrella?
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Postby merlin_emrys » Fri Oct 16, 2009 4:08 pm

I'm afraid I have no original or insightful contributions at this time (no doubt something will come to me around midnight, but it will probably only seem insightful because of my own exhausted state) but I have to say, I love how on this forum there's actual effort to explain these inconsistencies. I used to try and make sense of them, to myself, but with no success. Reading through all these posts (in this thread and others) I have realised two things: a) that I have been quite a lazy reader, considering the depths of research that some people have managed to reach and b) that it's thanks to those non-lazy readers and researchers that any clarification of the occasionally obscure lines of the novel can actually be obtained. So ... thank you for the enlightenment. Someday, I swear, I will be able to participate in a useful capacity.

Strikes me that we have a lot of Combeferres in this forum, all seeking to enlighten those of us who aren't as knowledgeable.

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Postby Marianne » Fri Oct 16, 2009 5:28 pm

I wonder what Feuilly did to rocket to Super Awesome status? Steal Louis Philippe's umbrella?


That, there, is an Enjolras/Feuilly slashfic waiting to be written.

/one-track mind
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Postby merlin_emrys » Fri Oct 16, 2009 5:45 pm

Oh my, I hadn't even thought of that, but I believe it is just waiting to be written. I'd be ever so grateful if you could enlighten us on Feuilly's rise from "that guy" to "Super Awesome"!

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Postby MmeBahorel » Fri Oct 16, 2009 6:28 pm

Thank you, bigR, for the translation help!

As for the rest:

Remember that Feuilly is getting ready with Enjolras and Combeferre and Courfeyrac in Courfeyrac's room - it's plausible (to try to close that gap, anyway) that he is somewhat better in with Courfeyrac, at the very least. And possibly some of the other boys, since I really don't see Courfeyrac hanging around the working-class cafés alone, trying to make friends. Probably a group activity, one that involves too much drinking and dominoes for Enjolras' taste. So we could, possibly, twist this as being the first or second time Enjolras has actually met him, but he knows him well by reputation. Enjolras is unlikely to come out and say "Courfeyrac tells me you're awesome", but could it be the meaning in that line is more "You're Feuilly, right? Excellent. If everything I'm told about you is true, you're perfect for going to the Glacière for me, if you would, please" than it is "What's your name! Go to the Glacière." Because if Enjolras will trust Courfeyrac that Bossuet's idea to build a barricade here so he doesn't have to go too far in the rain when he's drunk is brilliant, it seems likely that he'd take Courfeyrac's word on a man.

As for how few of them there are that R has to go the the Barrière du Maine, we certainly seem to have lost some people along the way - was it when Marius went all Imperial and everyone facepalmed that there were the guys writing a play and the guys preparing for a duel, or was that when Marius was first introduced? Those guys were never named but everyone else was in their little conversations. Whatever happened to those guys? Even if we assume the guy having a duel got shot, we've still got three others who were permitted to hang out in the back room while important and rather illegal things were being discussed. Did they fall by the wayside in 1830? Are they in jail? Did the would-be playwrights actually manage to get their comedy produced and thus really can't afford to piss off the censors? I'm really interested in what happened to these unnamed guys, now. The fact that people have gone and aren't available to be called on does suggest a greater passage of time than possibly certain other elements of "Enjolras and his Lieutenants" suggest.

I do think it was an earlier chapter that got moved into a later position. The rest of that book is "actual" information about the way everything was moving to imminent violence, but Hugo mostly seems to keep his history spam separate from his story (Waterloo is the other time that's coming to mind where a whole book of history is used to set up a chapter of story). He doesn't in this case, which is also why I think it feels pasted in. (pastede on yay?) Which is why I've joked that Victor's timeline skips from May 1830 directly to June 1832. Because it does read as a spring 1830 scene. Which is why I was so surprised when I was trying to tease out exactly when that chapter takes place - it does not feel April-ish 1832. Marius flaking out certainly makes it seem earlier, but if it were earlier, where the hell are those unnamed guys? If it's an earlier scene, there are other people, sort of introduced, who can't be any worse than Grantaire. If it's a later scene, then they've lost a bunch of people, but why is Enjolras harping on Marius flaking out him when Marius flaked out years ago?

(If it's an 1832 scene, maybe the unnamed guys died of cholera? Except nobody seems to actually care much about cholera in this book. How in the hell is Joly still in Paris? Why did he not flee? He's not that much of a hypochondriac if he's risking his life staying in Paris during the cholera. The rich people fled; the poor people stayed and died.)

As for why Enjolras lets R do it - as Despard says, he does seem to privilege the Big Gesture over everything. Perhaps he sees this as the biggest gesture Grantaire will ever make. He certainly would never expect, at this point, that Grantaire would actually die for something, but it is the biggest risk Grantaire has probably ever taken when it comes to political involvement. Would Enjolras prefer an actual Grand Gesture? Of course. But volunteering is pretty big for Grantaire, especially that he seems so serious about it. Enjolras probably isn't even thinking that R could have mixed motives - there's booze and gambling, so of course R doesn't mind going. Grantaire probably has the best intentions, but they dissipate when confronted with temptations. Enjolras would never have that problem, probably doesn't even recognise the extent to which it is a problem until he catches R playing dominoes. (I wonder if that has something to do with the vehemence with which Enjolras smacks him down on the barricade - not just that the time is at hand but that Grantaire has already proved himself incapable of the necessary grand gesture. Belief is secondary, as we see from how he continues to venerate Mabeuf even after Courfeyrac tries to enlighten him. But Grantaire ruined his grand gesture. Only at the end, when that grand gesture is death, does he prove capable of it, he has no chance to screw it up this time, and Enjolras accepts it. I almost said "thus Enjolras accepts it", but I don't know that i want to deliberately assign that causation.)

This is rather long and rambly and I'm not sure I'm making a lot of sense. Stitching up Victor's holes in regard to the Feuilly issue is something I've been trying to work out for ages. I'm still debating just ignoring it and sticking them both in the same skirmish in 1830.
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Postby Cary » Fri Oct 16, 2009 8:59 pm

MmeBahorel wrote:(If it's an 1832 scene, maybe the unnamed guys died of cholera? Except nobody seems to actually care much about cholera in this book. How in the hell is Joly still in Paris? Why did he not flee? He's not that much of a hypochondriac if he's risking his life staying in Paris during the cholera. The rich people fled; the poor people stayed and died.)


Good question. I wondered about that myself. The only possible explanation I have for that (assuming it's not for say, academic or work-position reasons, although I can't make up my mind if Joly would be more threatened by possible loss of his job/place in med school, or by the possibility of infection, or the possibility of being labelled as deserter by the Friends of the ABC, given that he had "sworn to go through fire" with them :lol:) is that the disease was rife in all of France - it *did* kill 100,000 people in the whole country - and Joly might have reasoned there was nowhere safe to retreat to (I don't have data on the spread of cholera in the country, though, and I don't know how fast news carried back in the day, so there's the very real possibility that I'm just thinking a little too broadly, and not necessarily in the context of Paris and "what a 19th century hypochodriac medical student might think"!) , not when even the cause of the disease was understood. (It wasn't until twenty years later that John Snow proved that contaminated water was spreading the disease, though it would take another half-century or so for people to believe it, and for the necessity of maintaining clean water supply to be widely accepted). Speculations of the day on the cause ran to inflamed gastric tracts, imbalance of the humours and failure of the circulatory system (it amuses me to think of Joly telling himself, "Right, but I've got my body totally in tune with the earth's magnetic field when I sleep so that it keeps my blood circulation going right, so I've got THAT base covered." :lol: ); dirty environments in general were blamed for spreading the disease, and the poor were thus, by proxy, particularly suspect. On their part, the lower classes viewed cholera as an action taken by the elite to reduce to poor population. One could possibly speculate that Joly figured that any attempt at flight out of Paris might identify him as a member of the elite and therefore put him at danger of violence, and that, so long as he stayed far away from all the poorer areas, he might be reasonably well-protected - though, of course, in April an angry mob surged through the streets of Paris, hunting down people they thought responsible for cholera, including doctors and hospitals. (I wonder: might this have anything at all to do with the fact that Joly was so preoccupied with his tongue at the barricade, rather than helping Combeferre out? that he was reluctant at being identified as someone with medical education, lest - post-insurrection - somebody remembered him? LOL).

Of course, if one is going to wander into the realm of far-flung explanations, one might also point that Joly's divine reasoning for the existence of the cat (as an eraser for God's blunder of having made mice!) might hint that he was to an extent religious and, like a sizable percentage of France's population, attributed cholera to God's Punishment of mankind for their sins. Personally, I don't quite buy it, but I won't entirely write it off either. Or maybe he's just a wuss when it comes to himself (like many doctors I know), but eager to snap up any chance to try out cholera treatment methods on patients - and god, were there plenty then! (all equally ineffective) -, if partly for the selfish reason of finding a cure should the disease ever hit him...

Force, I've just reread all this and it's hideous. I should refrain from discussions like these at three in the morning. :lol: None of this casts Joly in a particularly good light, does it?

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Postby Marianne » Fri Oct 16, 2009 9:41 pm

I was going to reply with something very intelligent and well-researched and deep, and then I was skimming the top of the page and saw this:

a_marguerite wrote:Random Worker: Yeah? And Charles X made me a duke.


And I read it as "Yeah? And Charles X made me a dyke." And I giggled so hard I forgot what I was going to say.

(wouldn't that be Louis XVIII's job though?)

My take on Joly is that he's actually in excellent health, aside from catching Bossuet's colds, and that most of his fretting is over the 19th century equivalent of New Age fads. When it comes to real, dangerous diseases it's pretty clear that he doesn't have any, but that doesn't stop him from wondering if his fatigue and headache yesterday were due to a loss of vital force and doing weird experiments with electricity to try to fix it. So he doesn't really care about cholera much more than your average guy on the street. Except that as a med student he probably now has a whole lot more work (and cadavers are probably cheaper!), and as an ABC member he's probably more concerned about the plight of the poor than your average guy on the street, and being Joly he probably has an elaborate and utterly bullshit theory worked out to explain the spread of cholera.

BTW, the fact that Joly mentions God doesn't mean he's necessarily devoted. I would hazard a guess that most of the boys are deists to some extent, and happily make reference to God without meaning a bearded Jehovah in the sky. Doubly so since they are all more-or-less avatars of Hugo, for whom "God" and "the infinite" are interchangeable concepts. :wink:
[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


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