The Abaissé Read Through of Les Misérables!

Abaissé re-reads the novel in its entirety! All welcome, no matter whether you're reading in French or some other translation. Discussion topics for each step along the way.

Moderators: Charlette-Ollie, Ulkis, Frédérique

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Charlette-Ollie
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Re: The Abaissé Read Through of Les Misérables!

Postby Charlette-Ollie » Tue Aug 31, 2010 4:35 am

Hi everyone! We now have an official starting date: September 1st.

Obviously, due to timezones, we may not be able to begin threads at the same date for everyone, but as a global community I believe we can be accommodating.

So I hope you have your Bricks at the ready, because tomorrow or the day after we'll be on our way!

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Re: The Abaissé Read Through of Les Misérables!

Postby collectingbees » Wed Sep 01, 2010 1:03 am

yay! I am so in! :D

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Re: The Abaissé Read Through of Les Misérables!

Postby brittlesmile » Wed Sep 01, 2010 3:02 am

For everyone who's attempting a read-through in French, here's an online dictionary where you can find definitions for the more obscure words/usages you might come across: http://www.lexilogos.com/francais_langue_dictionnaires.htm. My French prof recommends using the Littré or the or the Trésor for Hugo.
"Détruire les abus, cela ne suffit pas; il faut modifier les moeurs. Le moulin n'y est plus, le vent y est encore."

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Marianne
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Re: The Abaissé Read Through of Les Misérables!

Postby Marianne » Wed Sep 01, 2010 3:32 am

WordReference is incredibly useful, not only for vocabulary but for phrases, constructions, and idioms. All searches automatically turn up results both from the dictionary itself and from the forums, so you'll get the threads where previous internautes have asked "what does this idiom mean?" (And often, for Hugo, they'll be asking it about the exact same phrase you're wondering about.)

Also, the ARTFL project's "Dictionnaires d'autrefois" page is great for archaic words and obsolete connotations. Silverwhistle can attest to my difficulty with "chaudière," which means heater/boiler in modern French but used to mean "cauldron." D'oh. A quick ARTFL search cleared that right up.

But I really, seriously advise not getting too bogged down in dictionaries when attempting to read in French. By all means, look up key words that are essential to understanding a passage, but don't get so obsessive about it that it's always breaking your reading flow. Especially things like species of birds/plants/parts of a carriage--if you have a general sense of what it is, let it slide. If you're worried that too many things are slipping by you, pick a short passage and translate it so you force yourself to be aware of all the details--don't chain yourself to that kind of attention to detail when you're reading. Unless you're engaged in a nitpicky canon debate (in which case you have a perfect occasion for a translation exercise) it isn't really essential whether Hugo used the future or the conditional, or whether the connotation of "épouvante" is more "uneasiness" or "sheer shit-in-your-pants horror" as long as you know it's in the general realm of "scary." Reading in French improves your French. Stopping every thirty seconds to look things up takes the fun and fluency out of reading in French. Read fluently, even if you're utterly crap at it and miss things all over the place.

....thus concludes the lecture of the day on "how to teach yourself a foreign language in a way your school will heartily disapprove of." I swear to god that just sitting my butt down and reading all 900 pages of George Sand's Consuelo for fun--no dictionaries, no tests, no analysis beyond fangirl cackling--was what moved my grasp of the language from "passable if clunky classroom French" to "competent." My only recourse to dictionaries was on words that recurred enough, and that I was clueless enough about, that they bugged me even when I wasn't actively reading, and I looked them up while randomly surfing the internet.
[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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Valancy
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Re: The Abaissé Read Through of Les Misérables!

Postby Valancy » Wed Sep 01, 2010 8:29 am

Totally seconding Marianne's advice on reading French! If you don't rely on a dictionary all the time, you also learn to figure out meaning from the context or from words with the same root you've read before, etc. Which is useful because you will not always be in a situation where you can rely on a dictionary to figure out the meaning of a word. And you're much more likely to remember a word later on if you've either figured it out on your own, or checked it out because it was essential to the meaning of a passage or because it kept coming up and you never knew what it meant.

Should we have a thread on language learning on the general forum? Or do we have one and I just haven't read that far back yet? Because I'm thinking we seem to have quite a lot of combined language-learning expertise here, which would help everyone learn better in a non-school-approved way! *totally learned most of her foreign languages outside classes and schoolbooks*

As for the read-through, my current read-through is still in the middle of the Marius volume, so for the time being I'll just join the discussions based on having last read those chapters only 1-2 months before. But when I'm finished, I might pick it up again in French and try to catch up.

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Lara
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Re: The Abaissé Read Through of Les Misérables!

Postby Lara » Thu Sep 02, 2010 1:53 am

I am SO up for this.

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Satirist
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Re: The Abaissé Read Through of Les Misérables!

Postby Satirist » Thu Sep 02, 2010 7:10 pm

I'm in!! Thank you for all the advice on reading in French. :D
You have a choice. Live or die. Every breath is a choice. Every minute is a choice. To be or not to be.
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Re: The Abaissé Read Through of Les Misérables!

Postby Inspector Karamazov » Fri Sep 03, 2010 6:18 pm

Aww, I wish I could do this. But there's this thing called college that has this thing called homework. And I don't know if I'm working yet. AND I have to finish Atlas Shrugged. So I don't know if I'll have the time.
"Where should the shout of love begin, if not from the summit of sacrifice?"

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Re: The Abaissé Read Through of Les Misérables!

Postby Ulkis » Fri Sep 03, 2010 8:13 pm

Aw. Well, you can always jump in later if you want to, in whatever spot we're up to.

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goodythreeshoes
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Re: The Abaissé Read Through of Les Misérables!

Postby goodythreeshoes » Fri Sep 03, 2010 10:34 pm

I'm here! I'm back! When do we start? I can't wait :D
Je ne suis pas notaire, c'est la faute a Voltaire. Je suis un petit oiseau, c'est la faute a Rosseau.

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MmeJavert
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Re: The Abaissé Read Through of Les Misérables!

Postby MmeJavert » Sat Sep 04, 2010 12:02 am

We've started! The first discussion thread is up; you have until 14 September basically to read Book I -- the bishop. :D
and to this day, she's glided on
always home but so far away
like a word misplaced
nothing said, what a waste

~pearl jam, "dissident"

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SylvieProuvaire1832
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Re: The Abaissé Read Through of Les Misérables!

Postby SylvieProuvaire1832 » Fri Nov 05, 2010 3:41 am

I want to do this! I would try in French, but as I'm so far behind already and my French copy is still in Maryland...eh. It'll have to be English.
Have courage for the greatest sorrows of life and patience for the small ones, and when you have labouriously acomplished your daily tasks, go to sleep in peace. God is awake.

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MmeBahorel
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Re: The Abaissé Read Through of Les Misérables!

Postby MmeBahorel » Fri Nov 05, 2010 3:50 am

As a re-read, you can always just start with where we are, you know :)
What kind of literature and what kind of life is the same question. - Tom Stoppard

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SylvieProuvaire1832
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Re: The Abaissé Read Through of Les Misérables!

Postby SylvieProuvaire1832 » Fri Nov 05, 2010 3:53 am

Well, yes, but it has been awhile since I've done a reread, and I'd like to do it properly!
Have courage for the greatest sorrows of life and patience for the small ones, and when you have labouriously acomplished your daily tasks, go to sleep in peace. God is awake.

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Meg-Giry
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Re: The Abaissé Read Through of Les Misérables!

Postby Meg-Giry » Thu Jan 13, 2011 10:03 am

I know I'm very late, but I've planed to join in. I'm now around page 60 and try to catch up. But I can't say how fast I'll be, caus I'm a terrebly slow readar :oops: Also I try to read al the comments you all written to the other chapters.


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