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Posted: Tue Jan 22, 2013 4:00 am
by justintree
I am curious as to the accuracy of Victor Hugo's portrayal of the Battle of Waterloo. I have read several summaries of the battle, and as usual his geographical descriptions are spot on, but Hugo goes into a lot of detail about certain things that I haven't been able to track down (such as the well filled with bodies, details about Napoleon's behaviour, and the like.)

The two events I am most curious about (and can find nothing on) are the charge of cavalry which has 1/3 of them plummet into an unseen ravine, and (although not specifically Waterloo-related) Napoleon, in hiding aboard a French ship, answers the query of another ship about the Emperor (not a very good second hand description, I'll admit, but hopefully those of you who have read the unabridged book know what I'm referring to).

Re: Waterloo

Posted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 2:17 am
by Gervais
The popular opinion is that most of the details like the ones you mentioned were either fictional or used with a lot of artistic licence.

The "ravine" was there, but didn't cause damage:It was a partially sunken road: ... p?t=113378 (Yes, I know it's a forum, but it's like here; they know their stuff.)

I can't find the facts about the ship incident, sorry. :(

And you've probably seen all of these, but I'm going to use this as an oppurtunity for a link dump for Waterloo, if you don't mind. :wink:

Map of Hougomont, Then & Now:

Battle of Waterloo reenactment summary w/pics: ... rench.html

Eyewitness account of British soldier:

Re: Waterloo

Posted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 3:13 am
by justintree
Thanks, I figured it was probably embellished with artistic license, but you never know with these things until you dig around...

One problem with those reenactors: they are clearly enjoying themselves way too much for it to be an actual battle. Wish I could have been there enjoying myself too...

Re: Waterloo

Posted: Fri Jan 25, 2013 2:02 pm
by Gervais
Same. That looks so fun...

Some people may be interested on this: ... oo&f=false

Haven't read it yet and haven't checked its acurracy, but it looks interesting.

Re: Waterloo

Posted: Fri Jan 25, 2013 2:11 pm
by YoungStudentMarius
Some people...heh. :oops: Gervais, you shouldn't do this to me, not when I have exams and projects; that book looks, very, very interesting...{immediately downloads and begins to read}
...Anyway, thank you. And sorry to randomly burst onto the thread here. But it's all just so ridiculously intriguing.

Here's another interesting-looking book on Waterloo, which I haven't read yet, either, but which has also been added to my list. It was published the same year as Les Mis, so I wonder if perhaps it would be easier to pick out some corresponding points between this book and Hugo's description.

Re: Waterloo

Posted: Wed Jan 30, 2013 7:17 am
by justintree
I will check that out the moment I still have about 800 pages left of The Brick to read, so it won't be right away...

Thanks for the enlightenment.

Re: Waterloo

Posted: Wed Feb 06, 2013 10:00 pm
by Gervais
Alright, I know we've already beaten this horse well into its grave, but interesting looks at Waterloo that were So Shiny they had to be shared: ... asp#ancre4