1.3 En l'année 1817/In the Year 1817 28/09/10-6/10/10

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.

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Re: 1.3 En l'année 1817/In the Year 1817 28/09/10-6/10/10

Postby MmeBahorel » Sat Oct 02, 2010 3:29 am

Tholomyès is like any unattractive middle-aged man who hits on twenty year girls - he thinks his money makes him entitled to hit on hot chicks and not be turned down, while if he were that ugly and poor, he'd have a much more difficult time.

He probably made the most overt and obvious suit to Fantine, and she accepted it as true love, while it really was just the entitlement that comes from four thousand francs a year. I can hear Mrs Bennet in my head right now, "Four thousand a year! I call that handsome enough, teeth or no teeth!"

Everything about him just screams skeevy, but Fantine is too ignorant (sorry, Victor, "innocent") to figure that out. He probably coaxed her into bed over a period of months, while getting his daily jollies on the side, because he felt it would be a victory to seduce a virgin. And he won. His reaction to finding out Fantine was pregnant, after the "Oh dear god what did I do to deserve this?", was probably "but I am virile and awesome!" and if it was known that high amounts of testosterone are connected to baldness, would have made some icky statement about the potency of his manly fluids.

I'm making this worse, aren't I?
What kind of literature and what kind of life is the same question. - Tom Stoppard

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Re: 1.3 En l'année 1817/In the Year 1817 28/09/10-6/10/10

Postby Ulkis » Sat Oct 02, 2010 4:41 am

I always imagined that he was a younger version of Courfeyrac, but damn. He deserves a brofive or something for bagging someone like Fantine.


Hee. It isn't even the baldness, but the no teeth AND watering eye to boot (which Denny cut out of the book, I only found that out from the gutenberg version :shaking fist at Denny:). ugh.

His reaction to finding out Fantine was pregnant, after the "Oh dear god what did I do to deserve this?", was probably "but I am virile and awesome!"


I bet he skipped right over the first part and went to the second. He probably always figured he could leave if he wanted to. (Or maybe I am being influenced by the Bernard movie, where his friend asks what if there's a kid and Tholomyes replies, "you're so naive!")

if it was known that high amounts of testosterone are connected to baldness


really? You learn something new everyday.

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Re: 1.3 En l'année 1817/In the Year 1817 28/09/10-6/10/10

Postby MmeBahorel » Mon Oct 04, 2010 2:52 am

Notes on Chapitre VIII finally:

67 (chapter title): Voir, dans Les Contemplations, << Mélancholia >> (III, 2), mais aussi l'histoire comparable de la charrette Fauchelevent (I, 5, 6). Par image et par solidarité symbolique, cette mort d'une jument anticipe l'exécution de Fantine, seule à plaindre ce cheval mourant et assimilée à lui par Dahlia : <<fichue bête >>.
See, in Les Contemplations [Contemplations], “Melancholia” (III, 2), but also the comparable story of the Fauchelevent wagon (I, 5, 6). By image and by symbolic solidarity, this death of a mare anticipates the exection of Fantine, alone in pitying this dying horse and likened to it by Dahlia: “rotten beast”.

68 (One dines better at Édon's place) : Hugo, encore adolescent, y avait participée avec Abel et Eugène à des << dîners littéraires >> en 1818. Il y lut la nouvelle Bug-Jargal. Voir le Victor Hugo raconté... p. 311 et suiv.
Hugo, still an adolescent, had participated with Abel and Eugène [his brothers] in “literary dinners” there in 1818. He read there the novel Bug-Jargal. See Victor Hugo Recounted... p. 311 and following.

69 (Bombardas in Greece and Egypt. Apuleius): Dans les premières pages de L'Ane d'or, Apulée décrit un certain nombre d'auberges.
In the first pages of The Golden Ass, Apuleius describes a certain number of inns.

70 (Nil sub sole novum): << Il n'y a rien de nouveau sous le soleil.>> (L'Ecclésiaste.)
“There is nothing new under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes)

71 (amor omnibus idem): << L'amour est le même pour tous. >> (Géorgiques, III, 244.)
“Love is the same for everyone.” (Georgics, III, 244)

72 (old and thin and worthy of the knacker/ready for the bone-yard): L'équarisseur abattait les animaux impropres à la consommation et en tirait tout ce qui pouvait être employé : os, peau, graisse, corne.
The knacker butchered animals unfit for consumption and took from them whatever could be used: bone, skin, fat, horn.

73 (the space/length of a morning): Parodie du text de Malherbe, Consolation à M. du Perier, qui peut s'appliquer aussi à Fantine :
Elle était de ce monde où les plus belles choses
Ont le pire destin
Et, rose, elle a vécu ce que vivent les roses,
L'espace d'un matin.

Parody of a text by Malherbe, Consolation to M. du Perier, which can apply as well to Fantine:
She was of this world where the most beautiful things
Have the worst fate
And, rose, she lived as lived the roses,
The space of a morning.

The next few books have many many fewer notes, I'm sure you're all happy to hear. Thought that does lessen the likelihood of additional weird stories in the near term.
What kind of literature and what kind of life is the same question. - Tom Stoppard

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Re: 1.3 En l'année 1817/In the Year 1817 28/09/10-6/10/10

Postby collectingbees » Tue Oct 05, 2010 2:05 am

I remember Hugo mentioning that Courfeyrac was a younger Tholomyès, however, made sure to mention that Courfeyrac was a much kinder, good-hearted person. Tholomyès just makes my blood boil with his skeeziness. OH HE'S SO DISGUSTING I CAN'T GET OVER IT.

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Re: 1.3 En l'année 1817/In the Year 1817 28/09/10-6/10/10

Postby MmeBahorel » Tue Oct 05, 2010 3:07 am

I also found interesting, since Hugo asks us to compare students across generation, this part of the description:

"he doubted everything with an air of superiority - a great power in the eyes of the weak"

Obviously, "doubting everything" in this context makes me think of Grantaire believing in nothing, and may, in fact, be an argument in R's favour. (plus Tholomyès then gets a whole rambling monologue with practically a chapter to itself - "The Wisdom of Tholomyès".) Because Tholomyès is the leader of his set, which could say very little for Blacheville, Fameuil, and Listolier, but Hugo sets out several arguments in favour of maintaining a different sort of perspective if one chooses. He's entertaining, and of a certain age, and therefore he has acolytes. Grantaire may have had acolytes - he certainly knows everything necessary and can ramble on for pages in Classical allusions to rubbish - but his youth is failing, too, though in the whole "belief in the world" department. Even the most cynical young people would still believe in the alcohol and the sex, though not necessarily in the vintage or the woman, but I can see even that disappearing on Grantaire.

Anyway, I'm rambling, and I still have to actually read five more chapters, but that line did really strike me this time around. Partly, perhaps, because "for Courfeyrac, see Tholomyès" is the crappiest description ever and Hugo rectified it immediately, to beyond recognition. Unless we were supposed to think Courfeyrac had missing teeth and a weeping eye to go with his roundness? Because Victor, "Courfeyrac was like this utter douchebag, except Courfeyrac was a wonderful human being" is like saying "The Bishop was like Javert, except the Bishop was on the side of Heaven" - one could argue that yes, they each have a fixity of purpose, but that doesn't actually mean anything! (I think he meant "Courfeyrac was a happy-go-lucky natural social leader who dressed to the height of fashion and could afford it", but what an insulting comparison, Victor!)
What kind of literature and what kind of life is the same question. - Tom Stoppard

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Re: 1.3 En l'année 1817/In the Year 1817 28/09/10-6/10/10

Postby hazellwood » Tue Oct 05, 2010 3:21 am

Yeah I always thought comparing Courfeyrac to Tholomyes was REALLY INSULTING to Courfeyrac. *__*

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Re: 1.3 En l'année 1817/In the Year 1817 28/09/10-6/10/10

Postby Ulkis » Tue Oct 05, 2010 3:31 am

(I think he meant "Courfeyrac was a happy-go-lucky natural social leader who dressed to the height of fashion and could afford it", but what an insulting comparison, Victor!)


I took it kinda like that, more simply as "Courfeyrac too was a ladies' man, except if he got someone pregnant he would at least pay child support." So that's why I didn't think it was an insult to him either. Unless Hugo was saying they were similar in looks too. Then total insult. (But you know, I always got the feeling Hugo may also have been comparing Cosette slightly to Tholomyes in the way she kinda almost forgot about Marius when she saw Theodule, except as a modern reader I didn't care because my first thought was, "thank God one of them has some common sense and doesn't want to die cause they haven't seen that person they were eyef*cking in the park for a couple of weeks.)

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Re: 1.3 En l'année 1817/In the Year 1817 28/09/10-6/10/10

Postby Roses for Ophelia » Tue Oct 05, 2010 3:39 am

I always took it to mean, ' there are a lot of people who are fun and charismatic and enjoy wine women and song, but some of them are douchebags like Tholo, and some are really great people like Courfey. So don't judge people by their exterior, or else you might wind up pregnant without a daddy, and die in the first act.'
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Re: 1.3 En l'année 1817/In the Year 1817 28/09/10-6/10/10

Postby hazellwood » Tue Oct 05, 2010 3:46 am

Roses for Ophelia wrote:I always took it to mean, ' there are a lot of people who are fun and charismatic and enjoy wine women and song, but some of them are douchebags like Tholo, and some are really great people like Courfey. So don't judge people by their exterior, or else you might wind up pregnant without a daddy, and die in the first act.'


bwahahahaha ILU.

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Re: 1.3 En l'année 1817/In the Year 1817 28/09/10-6/10/10

Postby Ulkis » Tue Oct 05, 2010 4:04 am

bwahahahaha ILU.

//contributes nothing


Will quote myself:

I just wanted to also add, don't be afraid to post here. The more the merrier. Don't worry if you think what you have to say is too stupid, too silly, or even too pretentious.


giving compliments comes under this category as well!

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Re: 1.3 En l'année 1817/In the Year 1817 28/09/10-6/10/10

Postby collectingbees » Tue Oct 05, 2010 5:27 am

I mean Courfeyrac is one of the dearest of dear hearts and comparing him to such scum is an insult. Also, really Hugo? You have a page worth of description and Montparnasse gets scolded by Valjean for an epic HOW MANY pages and Courfeyrac gets a cop-out description like that? please.

Tholomyès still boggles my mind how he, like other characters, lives and has a content life, when really, he should have been trampled by a horse or something.

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Re: 1.3 En l'année 1817/In the Year 1817 28/09/10-6/10/10

Postby Aurelia Combeferre » Tue Oct 05, 2010 8:24 am

I think that's part of the injustice in the world that Victor Hugo is trying to show:

-Tholomyes, one of the sleaziest characters of the book, goes on to live a privileged life.
-Thenardier, one of the guys who really ought to see the gallows, just gets off relatively easy by being a slave trader in America

Other characters who mean well, who have altruistic and noble purposes, or who are just striving to do their best end up dead/forgotten/maimed, etc. It's Hugo's way of showing how the world does not readily reward goodness, despite its apparent merits.
"...all aptitudes having equal opportunity; politically, all votes having equal weight; religiously, all consciences having equal rights."

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Re: 1.3 En l'année 1817/In the Year 1817 28/09/10-6/10/10

Postby Ulkis » Tue Oct 05, 2010 5:16 pm

Montparnasse gets scolded by Valjean for an epic HOW MANY pages and Courfeyrac gets a cop-out description like that?


Hee.

Thenardier's 'happy' ending isn't as good as Tholomyes' is. Thenardier is one of those people who are never happy or satisfied, so we know he's probably just going to lose all his money anyway, although you're right Aurelia, he should have gone to the gallows anyway because he inflicts harm not only on himself but on others too.

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Re: 1.3 En l'année 1817/In the Year 1817 28/09/10-6/10/10

Postby Lara » Tue Oct 05, 2010 9:24 pm

MmeBahorel wrote:Obviously, "doubting everything" in this context makes me think of Grantaire believing in nothing, and may, in fact, be an argument in R's favour. (plus Tholomyès then gets a whole rambling monologue with practically a chapter to itself - "The Wisdom of Tholomyès".)


I noticed that, too! Drunk monologue rambling must be a common occurrence.

I always figured the Courfeyrac/Tholomyes comparison was, along with the womanizing and whatnot, about how they both really drew the attention of people. I mean, even though Tholomyes is balding, missing teeth, and has that weird eye, he's the leader of his posse. Courfeyrac is the center.

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Re: 1.3 En l'année 1817/In the Year 1817 28/09/10-6/10/10

Postby Col.Despard » Tue Oct 05, 2010 11:25 pm

I think it's a fairly apt observation...on the surface. I took it as Hugo making a point about a particular student breed...that diabolical playful wit, iconoclastic and charming, that becomes rather less so as one ages into Bourgeoise complacency (N.B. I've always said I had a weakness for Courfeyracs...and have sometimes overlooked certain physical shortcomings in favour of charm, wit and playfulness...albeit not all at once in a bundle of baldingness, bad teeth etc). But while there's that superficial similarity on the surface, it's evident that they could not be more different in the essentials.
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