Backstory for Grantaire?

Meta related to characters, plots, or other elements introduced by Victor Hugo in Les Misérables.
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Rebus
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Location: Germany

Re: Backstory for Grantaire?

Postby Rebus » Sat Jun 01, 2013 5:32 pm

Ok, perfect. Having him as a boarder was my intention anyway, but I was so confused by the website I had with the description of the schools; for some reason I was under the impression that only certain large cities had colleges that took on boarders. :?

I mean, I know tbh that most readers (especially on ff.net) would not have any idea whether my story was historically accurate or if I had just made everything up as it suits me, but I love the research and question-and-answer process in itself. And finding out about obscure bit of French history!

And I remember having read Père Goriot at some point years ago, but about all I can remember is his daughters having been awful and something about Rastignac's clothes. Maybe? And the boarding house and how they ate at the same table. I should probably reread, once I've worked my way through the Wodehouse litany.

Thanks again for all of your amazing help. Apart from making certain things miles clearer than they were before, I find all of this fascinating and appreciate your sharing.:)

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MmeBahorel
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Re: Backstory for Grantaire?

Postby MmeBahorel » Sun Jun 02, 2013 12:54 am

Balzac is brilliant for a lot of the basic period stuff. The Marriage Contract gives a whole new perspective on Valjean's actions/motivations in the run-up to Cosette's wedding. Plus Lost Illusions is also useful on "young educated people being poor in Paris" - Rastignac's buddy who is in med school also turns up there. Again, great on some weird details, not on others. There's some art patronage politics in Cousine Bette.

I also use Eugene Sue's Les Mystères de Paris (admittedly in translation) as if it were an encyclopedia, but that's usually for a working class source. Costs of things, forms of address, food - Sue covers it all. (he has a grisette go through her weekly or monthly budget in detail after saying how much it cost to set up her apartment. Freaking gold mine, that novel. Pick a searchable copy off Google Books and go to town.)

And I just wanted to add that I love you for caring :) I do Yuletide every year, and there are some things I don't sign up for because I realise I will not have enough time to do the appropriate background research in the period or locale within the deadline. I'm "do it right" person, which is how I keep ending up on research hiatus, but it really does make a better product because the research helps the writing - it gives directions one can go and does some of the lifting on its own from time to time.

Have you been pointed to my timeline? May also be helpful as you go along since you're working on backstory.
What kind of literature and what kind of life is the same question. - Tom Stoppard

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Rebus
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Location: Germany

Re: Backstory for Grantaire?

Postby Rebus » Sun Jun 02, 2013 1:32 am

I'll have to download both Les Mystères and Père Goriot. I love anything that can give me a good sense of what it was like to live in a certain period.

I've been pulling a bit of inspiration for street scenes from the opening of George Orwell's Down and out in London and Paris. I know the time period was different, but I feel like the spirit of the city would have been the same in the 1820's as at the turn of the twentieth century.

And yes, I'm always thrilled to meet people who care as much as I do about background information and rounding out all those little details. There's something about a well-researched story; when it's done well, so well that an author just has the information in his/her head without having to force it, the world he/she creates is that much richer and easier to picture and just umph.

And I had been looking for the link to that again! I saw it in another thread, and it's incredible. Must have taken ages?


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