Gleams which pass

Meta related to characters, plots, or other elements introduced by Victor Hugo in Les Misérables.
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Re: Gleams which pass

Postby sophiedegrouchy » Sat Mar 17, 2012 12:32 am

Hot damn. You're...too good to be true.

A slightly modified approach to really, really back you up:
"Communisme" in that time frame, French language gets 35,200 hits.
"Communisme"+"Marx" gets...24. Welp.

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Re: Gleams which pass

Postby MmeBahorel » Sat Mar 17, 2012 2:26 am

Thank god for Google Books. Trying to sort, for hours, through precursors to Marx and his hobgoblin who were *not* labeled "socialist" would have been a nightmare.
What kind of literature and what kind of life is the same question. - Tom Stoppard

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Re: Gleams which pass

Postby between4walls » Mon Sep 03, 2012 8:41 am

18th Brumaire not being translated till decades later makes this unlikely, but if Hugo was aware of it, the not-so-indirect accusation of bad faith in it could have given him a personal reason to be annoyed with Marx. "Victor Hugo, out of pretended liberalism..." However, it's a throwaway reference in a single line buried in a long article in a foreign language; I doubt he knew or cared.
Here day embraces night, and says: I will die with you and you will be reborn with me. From the heavy embrace of all desolations springs faith.

The real name of devotion is disinterestedness.

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Re: Gleams which pass

Postby swr2408018 » Fri Jan 25, 2019 1:22 am

Frederique notes and asks:

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?

These are the lines in context:

… Le grand-père fit une pirouette sur ses talons de quatrevingt-dix ans, et se remit à parler, comme un ressort qui repart:

Ainsi, bornant le cours de tes rêvasseries,
Alcippe, il est donc vrai, dans peu tu te maries.

À propos!

--Quoi, mon père?

--N'avais-tu pas un ami intime?

--Oui, Courfeyrac.

--Qu'est-il devenu?

--Il est mort.

--Ceci est bon.

Or in translation:

… The grandfather made a pirouette on his ninety-year old heels, and resumed speaking, like a spring that bubbles up again:

"Thus, putting an end to your daydreams,
Alcippe, then it's true, in a little while you'll be married."

"By the way!"

"What, Father?"

"Don't you have a close friend?"

"Yes, Courfeyrac."

"What's become of him?"

"He's dead."

"That's good."

The odd exchange actually makes sense in context; it is a mental tangent from the two lines of quoted verse. Gillenormand is adapting the opening lines from Satire X--Les femmes ("The Women"), a poem by Nicolas Boileau-Despréaux:

Enfin, bornant le cours de tes galanteries,
Alcippe, il est donc vrai, dans peu tu te maries.

Or in English:

At last, putting an end to your love affairs,
Alcippe, then it's true, in a little while you'll be married.

Boileau-Despréaux's poem is a misogynistic screed against marriage and women, likely one close to Gillenormand's own (former?) heart; here are a few choice lines in translation about the dowry, the marriage contract, and the future lovers:

About the money, it's all said; we're already agreed.
Your good future father empties his strongbox:
And already the notary has, in an energetic style,
Scribbled the genuine instrument of your yoke.

To see growing up all around oneself,
Under the peaceful laws of an pleasant mother,
Some little citizens whom you believed you've fathered!

For you won't be one of those horrible jealous men,
Skillful at making yourself uneasy, wretched,
Who while a wife is distressed in their eyes,
Always thinks that another consoles them in secret.
However, I see my talk is already souring you.

So with that thought in mind, Gillenormand is likely thinking that today's close friend is all too likely to be the "other" who ends up "consoling" one's wife in the future, so it's a good thing he's dead. Shades, also, no doubt, of Hugo's close friend Sainte-Beuve and his affair with Adèle Hugo.

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