BALZAC. (I just meant to go to bed and catch up on the past week's sleep, but I guess that can wait.)
So what is on offer? Somehow I cannot even see Enjolras getting into a situation in which Vautrin would actually be of help - not 1828-1832, at any rate (but then, Vautrin is busy with Lucien until 1830 anyway, and then presumably takes care of Théodore [I hate that plot turn with a vengeance - not the implications, not the outcome, but the way Théodore is introduced and dealt with - but the reason must really really wait until tomorrow or whenever]). Especially as an individual - and it is
'protection' of individuals in which Vautrin deals. Well, he has his hands in everything, of course, but in the Mephistophelian deals you are referring to, the bottom line is 'I am going to make you the unofficial ruler of your chosen sphere of the outside world while you accept me as your ruler, thereby also but not exclusively [kiss on forehead here] ruler of [see before] by proxy'-- what would Enjolras want to rule, whom defy?
Discarding that, I suppose if it was just a question of Vautrin passing him in the street (or driving past, etc.) and going 'Hey! Handsome blond lad with sad eyes an' all! Want a ride? Want fifteen thousand francs?', Enjolras would simply ... ignore him? (He probably gets it a lot.) And that would be that. No?
Montparnasse seems a more suitable target. Has he fallen too low already to heave himself out and contribute anything whatsoever to becoming an upper-crust dandy if given the chance? Probably. But at least he does have, if not 'ambition', vanity. With Enjolras I just can't picture where the motivation would come from to consider any sort of deal, or even to appear as if he might be interested
- unless it were literally a porn scenario on the edge of June 6, 'You let me have my way with you on that billiard table upstairs and I snap my fingers and the whole of Paris will miraculously come to your aid.' (which may or may not be precisely what happens in Grantaire's dreams while he is asleep during the battle).
(I also had the temporary belief that chief-of-police Vautrin is somehow involved in Claquesous' possible double-agentry, which I justified à la 'so if Lucien's name is somehow inspired by la tante [!] Chardon who was killed by Lacenaire and if Lacenaire supposedly said that he didn't do it but Patron-Minette did ...', which does not actually make coherent sense, but, you know.)
(AND in my head Samanon from "Un grand homme ..." is somehow an advanced/not-yet-specialised version of the Changer, even though their addresses are quite a bit apart.)
Also, 'talk about any Balzac you like' is a VERY DANGEROUS STATEMENT. Has anybody read "Les Chouans"? It's part trashy adventure romance (noble girl is forced to act as republican spy and falls in love with dashing youthful royalist leader, cue a long chain of deceptions and disappointments and plenty of seriously brutish peasants and bloodshed bloodshed bloodshed) part more gratuitous information on landscape than even Hugo would have bothered with (and harder to read because Balzac doesn't wax lyrical about it but just tells it as best as his on-location research allowed him) and I adore(d) it because
a)it's extremely interesting to look out for the traces of young Balzac's unabashed revolutionary sympathies which he tried to 'correct' when he established himself in legitimist circles, leading to strange clashes of ... something (will delve into notes again)
b)the London lot was talking about Kate Beaton the other day and I mentioned an illustration depicting Corentin (whom you'll know from "Splendeurs ..." and who appears only in two other novels* - "Les Chouans" and the very atypically structured but thrilling "Une ténébreuse affaire", which is a semi-roman à clef dealing with the Clément de Ris abduction case [plus tragic romance, bloodshed, and landscape] and which Ned Lukacher suggests had a heavy influence on Marx's "Revelations Concerning the Communist Trial in Cologne") which looked a lot like the Incr
oyable in the second/third "Hipsters Ruin Everything" comic, and while I don't think this actually is
the illustration I was thinking of, here's Corentin in 1799
*Which is also so interesting because "Les Chouans" was one of the first parts of the Comédie written and "La dernière incarnation de Vautrin" was, I think, the last that was finished and they're set thirty years apart and ... Corentin's there in both, so Balzac evidently always had him at the back of his mind, yet he never actively enters into any of the other, what, ninety plots. Which makes perfect sense because he is that background string-puller (and possibly better at it than Vautrin because he does not have Vautrin's redeeming quality of being Bound To Humanity By Love [and therefore capable of being distracted/deterred on occasion] or whatever it says). It's just slightly scary because usually even the most insignificant sister of a lover of a duchess's maid will
get actively re-used if it can at all pass for realistic.
AND ANOTHER THING: Louis Madelin, in his biography of Joseph Fouché, claims that Javert and Corentin both represent the same archetype of the imperial police agent which is just SO RIDICULOUSLY UNTRUE because they have completely different work ethoses (not a word, that), as in, Javert actually believes his work to be ethical, whereas Corentin does not give a toss as long as he has got some
thing to do and derives some form of profit from it (be it financial or in terms of personal satisfaction - you get the latter in "Splendeurs ..." with his sort of bloody chess game with Vautrin, but much more overtly in the other two).
OH AND have you read the "Vautrin" play yet? It isn't exactly essential and, if considered 'canon', is actually quite disappointing (as it basically tells you that Vautrin was actually quite selflessly playing father to a much younger boy for several years pre-"Le père Goriot"), though still interesting to take note of because of all that went wrong when it went on stage (people didn't get what it was trying to do [understandably] so at some point they supposedly decided that since Frédérick's wig was looking unusually pear-like that night it had to be a satire on Louis-Philippe ... which promptly got it banned after the first performance).