MmeBahorel wrote:Voilà l'autre, à présent ! Te tairas-tu, drôlesse ! Gredin de pays où les galériens sont magistrats et où les filles publiques sont soignées comme des comtesses ! Ah mais ! tout ça va changer ; il était temps !
That's the only point in this book where he refers to Fantine as anything - "fille publique" is very standard language, even legal language - it comes up in regulations, and it is used by Parent-Duchâtelet in his study of Parisian prostitution. In Fantine's arrest, the narrator describes Javert's thoughts and uses "fille publique" there, as in "fille publique cracher au visage d'un maire". Only when he gets really bitchy with her does he address her as "drôlesse", both in jail, and here. The Académie française dictionary of 1835 defines it as "DRÔLESSE. s. f. Fille ou femme méprisable. C'est une drôlesse. Il est très-familier.".
For me, I'd use "prostitute" for "fille publique" and "whore" for "drôlesse". I think Julie Rose is pushing a context here that doesn't actually fit with Javert on the whole. He thinks in legal terms but lashes out in what might be considered "the language of the street". (Fahnestock/Macafee use my preferred terms on this one, but I looked that up after writing the rest of this post. Wilbour probably had to balance how he could publish references to whores in the UK in 1862 with Hugo's legal accuracy - because the French legalised it and talked about it all the time, Hugo could use both legal and common terms. Rose has the freedom to use whatever language she thinks suits best, and I don't think I agree with her on what language suits best in this instance.)
I know I'm posting right after myself, but I must say MmeBahorel, YOU ROCK. SERIOUSLY. I'm such a crazy Javert fan that this is like finding a type of chocolate that I didn't know existed. THANKS SO MUCH.
Wow, and I thought I was a hard-core LM fan.
*scurries off to study*