-insert research squee here-

Any research done in relation to the period of Les Misérables, whether for fanfiction or fanart purposes or otherwise.
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MmeBahorel
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Re: -insert research squee here-

Postby MmeBahorel » Fri Dec 04, 2009 5:32 am

It's amazing what happens when you figure out your search terms in French. (in other words, why didn't I think of that first? *facepalm*)

I think some of this will be useful even if you don't have much or any French language background.

Les Noms de Famille Méridionaux - alphabetical listing of surnames, with meanings and regions of prevalence, collected by Frédéric Mistral over a 20 year period. It tells me that Victor Hugo can't spell - there is an actually surname of Combefère, derived from the Occitan "coumbo-fèro" meaning something like "wild gorge". Yes, those are O s on the end, but in pronunciation they get completely swallowed.

Found it through the awesome people at Lexilogos, who have a whole page of this stuff: Noms de famille. In addition to the South of France (Midi, therefore méridional), there's Breton, Basque, Flemish, and a slew of foreign: English, German, Celtic, Czech, Italian, Spanish. The links on there are just amazing.

The awesome Lexilogos people also have Prénoms! Occitan, Provençal, Gascon (all of which are regions within the langue d'oc with mutually intelligible dialects of what is today called Occitan - Gascon gets you much closer to Catalan, though). Normandy, Corsica, Jersey, Brittany, French-speaking Belgium (Wallonia), Basque region, Alsace, not to mention the other languages and regions.

If you want to be very specific in naming your characters, this is the mother load.

There's an Argot section, which doesn't seem to have any dictionaries going far enough back, unfortunately, that are Paris-focused, but they've got a link to a "Dictionnaire de mauvaise langue" which is focused on Lyon and is from 1805. Actually, it might be helpful, I'm not going any further with it at this time of night.

Basically, if you have any grasp of French at all, Lexilogos is amazing and worth spending a lot of time clicking around on. They have some internal pages but predominantly link to external sites, including books in full text on Google Books and on the BNF site. I've already found what are likely to be the exact editions from which Courfeyrac learned poetry of the troubadours.

Even if you have almost no grasp of French, you can access all the name stuff easily - regions are perfectly straightfoward and as long as you know that "prénom" is "first name" and "nom" or "nom de famille" is "Last name", you're all set.
What kind of literature and what kind of life is the same question. - Tom Stoppard

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Col.Despard
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Re: -insert research squee here-

Postby Col.Despard » Mon Dec 07, 2009 11:56 am

This looks awesome! Thank you! I hate digging around for names to call characters that are only going to be in a fic for a scene or two. Might even be inspired to finally opt for a prénom or two!
"The principles of freedom, of humanity, and of justice, will finally triumph over falsehood, tyranny and delusion, and every principle inimical to the interests of the human race" - Edward Despard, 1803
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MmeBahorel
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Re: -insert research squee here-

Postby MmeBahorel » Mon Dec 28, 2009 11:51 pm

I am starting to find some of the education stuff:

In 1840, the Quarterly Review (a British periodical) had in one of its issues an overview of education in France. Yes, it's about 20 years late, but its still the closest I've yet found, in English, with some detail. Go to page 419.

It enumerates the royal colleges, describes the course of education in specifics, mentions expense. Then it goes on to the fiver higher education faculties and describes divisions and course of study, which cities have which faculties, and requirements for the degree.

If you don't read French and thus can't access the original, which is De l'instruction publique, by Emile de Girardin, the English summary/review article will be extremely helpful. If you can read French, this thing is utterly amazing. He at least seems to be giving the dates of regulations that have changed things in the 20 years between what we need and when this was published. (oh dear god, he has an exact list of what you're supposed to have in your trunk down to what is essentially how many pairs of underwear you must take to school with you. I don't know if I'm frightened or impressed. The audience is families trying to make decisions about the education of their sons, thus this sort of detail, but wow.)
What kind of literature and what kind of life is the same question. - Tom Stoppard

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Marianne
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Re: -insert research squee here-

Postby Marianne » Tue Dec 29, 2009 3:08 am

Oh shiny.

At some point I stumbled upon a publication on GoogleBooks recording all the laws, ordinances, proclamations, etc. signed into law between the early Napoleonic period and... god knows when, mid- to late 19th century. They had the early years of the July Monarchy of course. I skimmed it one day when I had nothing better to do, and discovered a few things:

1. The French government spent most of the last half of 1831 being paranoid about cholera and ordering quarantines on imports from pretty much any country that might possibly have had an outbreak.
2. Paris was placed under siege on the 5th or 6th of June and the siege wasn't lifted for a month. I already knew this, I think, but hadn't really thought about it until I saw the date when they finally lifted the state of siege.
3. LOL Louis-Philippe shut down the École Polytechnique after the June insurrections. Sent everyone packing with a "daddy is very disappointed in you and your treasonous activity, you should be ashamed of yourselves, maybe if you're good I'll let the LOYAL ones of you go back to school" lecture tossed into the executive order.

I will try to dig up the links sometime. Will also try to dig up the links to the 1831 tourist guidebook to Paris, which was full of charming things like how much it costs to rent vs. buy a plot at Père Lachaise, how to counteract the laxative effects of drinking the river water(!), and anecdotes about the speedy name changes required for the Pont d'Austerlitz and the Pont d'Iéna to keep the Prussians from burning them down in 1814.
[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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sophiedegrouchy
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Re: -insert research squee here-

Postby sophiedegrouchy » Wed Dec 30, 2009 9:49 am

1-3 are very shiny indeed, especially the last. How I love the Polytechnique.

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ivrogne transfiguré
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Re: -insert research squee here-

Postby ivrogne transfiguré » Sun Jan 31, 2010 7:49 pm

I recently acquired two old books:
"Rapports sur les operations et les faits militaires auxquels la garde nationale a pris part dans les journees des 5 et 6 juin", published in June 1832.
Also an American Pharmacology book published in 1831 which has a long intro that discusses the state of the medicinal art, than identifies and discusses every "medicine" in existence, I guess, in alphabetical order.
Unfortunately I don't really speak any French - so I will look through the Rapports and see what I can glean, but I may have some questions about it.

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Euphrasie
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Re: -insert research squee here-

Postby Euphrasie » Mon Feb 01, 2010 11:24 pm

Has anyone seen this, or am I late to the party? It's a true shame the only copies I can find are around $25-$40, because it looks as if it has some really cool images. Most of the text about Paris is available via Google Books though.
I'm pretty sure my cat's been reading my diary.

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merlin_emrys
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Re: -insert research squee here-

Postby merlin_emrys » Mon Feb 08, 2010 6:03 pm

I hadn't seen that before, but it looks really neat! Wonder if my library has a copy ... it looks both interesting and informative and really readable, which is nice.

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Marianne
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Re: -insert research squee here-

Postby Marianne » Sun Feb 14, 2010 6:50 pm

This Groupe Hugo article on the origin and role of the name Cosette has a very interesting footnote... it mentions that the first name Cosette or Cozette, like the surname Enjolras, is uncommon but not incredibly rare, just limited in geographic distribution. Here's what the footnote has to say:

Ce nom-là [Enjolras] aussi existe bel et bien, et prédomine dans la Haute-Loire. Hugo savait-il qu’il n’y a aucun rapport étymologique avec « enjôler », sa racine étant le verbe occitan « enjeura » qui signifie « épouvanter » ?

That name [Enjolras] well and truly exists also, and predominates in the Haute-Loire. Did Hugo know that it has no etymological connection with "enjoler" (to charm or beguile), its root being the Occitan verb "enjeura" which means "to terrify"?
[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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ivrogne transfiguré
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Re: -insert research squee here-

Postby ivrogne transfiguré » Sun Feb 14, 2010 7:20 pm

Marianne wrote:That name [Enjolras] well and truly exists also, and predominates in the Haute-Loire. Did Hugo know that it has no etymological connection with "enjoler" (to charm or beguile), its root being the Occitan verb "enjeura" which means "to terrify"?


A charming man capable of being terrible - surely not a coincidence?

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Marianne
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Re: -insert research squee here-

Postby Marianne » Sun Feb 14, 2010 7:32 pm

I don't think either 'enjôler' or 'épouvanter' (or any noun/adjective derived from them) is applied to Enjolras in the text, but being forced to translate them definitely makes it obvious that synonyms of both (charmant, terrible) are right there in the first sentence of his introduction. Hugo, you sneaky bastard!

I could be wrong about 'épouvanter' though, since it seems like the kind of word Hugo would love to apply to Enjolras.
[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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lesmisloony
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Re: -insert research squee here-

Postby lesmisloony » Mon Feb 15, 2010 1:59 am

I actually laughed out loud at the end of that paragraph. I'm not sure why... but for some reason it tickled me. I say it works both ways... depends if you're Grantaire or Marius, I guess.
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a_marguerite
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Re: -insert research squee here-

Postby a_marguerite » Mon Feb 15, 2010 1:12 pm

I wouldn't put it past Hugo to sneak in a pun like that, considering he nicknamed a character called 'Laigle' from Meaux 'Bossuet' after the 'eagle of words', minister Bossuet. In some of his other poems he also seemed to derive the sense of the poem out of the sound/meaning of the words, so there you go. Enjolras does not spring fully formed from the forehead of Marianne, but the linguistic enjambment of Occitan and the most proper French of the 19th c., i.e. the Loire valley.

(Also, according to the first draft you linked elsewhere, Marianne, Marius first went by the name of 'Thomas'. Who'da thunkit?)

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MmeBahorel
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Re: -insert research squee here-

Postby MmeBahorel » Mon Apr 19, 2010 3:40 am

To file under "things that should have been obvious but took me how long to think to look for?":

The BNF has full scans of all the major newspapers. I don't know if they have searchable text, but the navigation by date has been perfectly fine for my needs thus far. I've only hit up the Journal des Débats and the Constitutionnel at the moment, digging up just what happened in November 1827, but I think I'm going to end up completely lost in the brilliance of awesome details.

Also with the brilliance of the writing style. Oh, Constitutionnel, how can I not love you when you write things like this:

Inhabitants of Paris, we beg you in the name of the motherland, battle all perfidious institutions, all murderous provocations; may no pretext be given to our mortal enemies, to assuage their vengeance. The day of justice and of liberty will shine at last on France. And you, electors of the grand colleges, save France from her troubles, rip out the ministers who try her patience and push her to the farthest reaches of despair.

I'm making translations of the relevant 1827 riots stuff for the non-French speakers. The irrelevant stuff includes winning lottery numbers and listings of what's up at all the major theatres. I may be lost for months in the deliciously over-the-top editorialising.
What kind of literature and what kind of life is the same question. - Tom Stoppard

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Aurelia Combeferre
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Re: -insert research squee here-

Postby Aurelia Combeferre » Mon Apr 19, 2010 6:25 am

Wow. I love this thread all the more now! Happy reading!

I wish I could do some research of my own, but present affairs hinder me at the moment. *sigh*.
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