1806 is pretty much general success on the eastern front, whereas 1811 is the beginning of the preparations for the Russian Campaign - when he is a 'young man of twenty' at the barricade, that takes us straight to 1812. I really hope that's not
The local deputy, who nosed out all rivalry everywhere, soon began to grow uneasy over this religion. This deputy had been a member of the legislative body of the Empire, and shared the religious ideas of a father of the Oratoire, known under the name of Fouché, Duc d'Otrante, whose creature and friend he had been. He indulged in gentle raillery at God with closed doors. But when he beheld the wealthy manufacturer Madeleine going to low mass at seven o'clock, he perceived in him a possible candidate, and resolved to outdo him; he took a Jesuit confessor, and went to high mass and to vespers. Ambition was at that time, in the direct acceptation of the word, a race to the steeple. The poor profited by this terror as well as the good God, for the honorable deputy also founded two beds in the hospital, which made twelve.
(Apologies for using Hapgood; you get the point.) This fellow. This fellow (a thirty-percent-brother of Pardessus, maybe) never makes another appearance (does he?); as far as I can tell his purpose lies entirely in illustrating the general opinion on M. Madeleine and providing an opportunity for the narrator to comment on the good bourgeois tradition of keeping up (and running up!) religious appearances. Why does Hugo mention the connection with the 'legislative body of the Empire' and the minister of police? The deputy has two basic traits of the type Fouchéen
: flexibility of attitude and thirst for influence (though not, apparently, the inspiration that enables his more successful counterparts to assure their own necessity in time, not to provide an answer to a question asked, but to turn himself into the answer before the question arises). And as such he serves ideally to reinforce that Javert, for one, being neither flexible nor personally
ambitious, is not
that stereotypically evil police agent at all. (Take that, Louis Madelin.)
- Does ev
erybody in the book 'believe in' Enjolras? If we are to assume that other characters perceive Enjolras the same way the readers (of all shades and preferences) do (though they may not think of him in Hugolianly purple terms), he probably strikes them as a bit much
- as an eccentric (perhaps sweet, perhaps pathetic) with whom you just cannot get a conversation going if you do not share his interests, as laughable, as hypocritical, or as absolutely enthralling and amazing. The question of whether or not there is anyone who doesn't 'buy him' is not really explored. If there is
a comment on his unlikely strength of purpose, insusceptibility to distraction or the like, to any of his potentially de- or superhumanising traits, it is made by one of his friends and in good humour, certainly meaning neither to be disrespectful nor to call a bluff, possibly really to express genuine admiration in a comfortably casual way.
The readers never learn in depth how Enjolras actually appeared to an outsider
(as in, on a level beyond Very Handsome - though his beauty is not something we ever get to hear another individual character think about explicitly, is it? there is no line in which anybody's thoughts are represented as acknowledging it, much less marveling at it, it's just that one line of the soldier's re: shooting a flower and the narrator's general reminders that he was
Very Handsome), whether anyone ever a)laughed at him (as in, not
the way his friends do, but actually refused to take him seriously because of the way he came across [as opposed to because of the opinions he holds]) or b)accused him of being a lunatic or a total hypocrite. Both of which are relatively understandable reactions if you aren't of the sort who is immediately struck by the ... well, you know the deal. But since the narrator evidently falls into the category who is pretty damn impressed by the you-know-the-deal, the only context in which the reader could have got a look at the effect of Enjolras on an outsider, someone newly introduced to him, is when Marius is shown into the back room of the Musain. (Well, and at the barricade, I guess.) But he is so overwhelmed by the group as a whole he does not, to the reader's impression, single out Enjolras at all, neither marveling expressly at the clarity and solidity of his convictions and the consequences he draws from them (of which Marius could certainly use a slice), nor being put off by his air of (inherent, not conscious) superiority, nor being confused by how he obviously differs from the loud and loquacious lot of them.
odd that there is no mention of a distinction in this context, because Enjolras is overwhelming/intimidating/bewildering in such a completely different way from the rest taken as a unit. I can see how it's terrifying walking into a room and facing Courfeyrac and Bahorel dueling each other with fresh baguettes while Bossuet lies on the table misquoting semi-related classic plays, Combeferre corrects him, Prouvaire tries to speak in favour of the concept of adaptation, and bystanders adapt shards of the weapons into an early dinner ... and yet it might be less so than walking into a room and finding it populated only by Enjolras, full stop.)
Other than that, we see him only through the eyes of the narrator, and these certainly belong to the enthralled party (and really seem to want to suggest that yes, deep down ev
erybody did, even if the moment and development of the '!' is not described in any individual case except retrospectively for Grantaire). When his imperfection - or incompletion - is mentioned, the focus lies on a retrospective: we aren't told that Enjolras perhaps ought to listen to Combeferre a bit more often, we are told that he does and did. Whenever Enjolras comes under the scrutiny of the narrator, said scrutiny is not severely critically inclined, and the narrator never questions his genuinity or suggests that he could not be taken serious. That no character remarks on the matter in earnest at all is certainly unrealistic, and seems to suggest that Hugo is actively preventing it from entering into the reader's mind that there might
be a pose, and be it the most innocent kind, not a cover for anything 'bad', but, well, yes, an acquired perfection of a natural talent (as opposed to his flawless charisma's being one hundred percent inspiration, his serving as a direct medium of the spirit of revolution). AND IN THAT POINT (and that is the context of the never-finished nine-month old post from which I ripped eighty percent of the above paragraph
) he can be most effectively contrasted with (several real revolutionary figures, but really especially) Saint-Just, whose very achievement lies in having recreated himself in his image of a perfect Republican rather than having always been such.
- There are eleven consecutive lines in 5/Fifth/IV that have (as far as I can judge from having only the Péiade version's notes to compare) out of nowhere fallen into "Les Misères" when it grew into "Les Misèrables", namely those in which Gillenormand inquires whether Marius didn't have a friend and receives the response. Why did Hugo decide at a later date to break into the almost finished bliss of the given situation by bringing up a dead person ... then quickly burying him again?