2.1 Waterloo 11/11/10 - 29/11/10

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.

Moderators: Charlette-Ollie, Ulkis, Frédérique

User avatar
Mrs Eaves
Posts: 18
Joined: Tue Nov 23, 2010 4:12 am

Re: 2.1 Waterloo 11/11/10 - 29/11/10

Postby Mrs Eaves » Fri Nov 26, 2010 4:43 am

Oh man... so this digression was kind of ridiculous. I mean, it had some great commentary, but most of the time, I was ready to skip the entire section and move on to actual plot. I'm really thankful that I already knew who most of the people were, otherwise I don't think I would have gotten through it.

Although after I finished that section, I felt so accomplished just because of the sheer amount of text that I got through. *shrug*

User avatar
Aurelia Combeferre
Posts: 8847
Joined: Mon Nov 13, 2006 9:57 am
Location: somewhere with the abased
Contact:

Re: 2.1 Waterloo 11/11/10 - 29/11/10

Postby Aurelia Combeferre » Wed Aug 14, 2013 12:27 am

August 14, 2013

What Is Met With on the Way From Nivelles

http://www.online-literature.com/victor_hugo/les_miserables/71/

Hugo sets the scene for a long digression. Brace yourselves.
"...all aptitudes having equal opportunity; politically, all votes having equal weight; religiously, all consciences having equal rights."

User avatar
WhoIam
Posts: 1756
Joined: Wed May 22, 2013 10:43 pm
Location: In my castle on a cloud

Re: 2.1 Waterloo 11/11/10 - 29/11/10

Postby WhoIam » Wed Aug 14, 2013 12:40 am

The way he ends the chapter here strikes me as dramatic enough to make the reader wonder, "So what's so important about the battle of Waterloo?" and then Hugo proceeds to tell the reader in meticulous detail exactly what is so important, to the point where the reader figures out that while it is important, it is not all that interesting.
Image
All the world's a party, and I'm usually the awkward wallflower in the corner with a glass of water and a copy of Les Mis.

User avatar
Aurelia Combeferre
Posts: 8847
Joined: Mon Nov 13, 2006 9:57 am
Location: somewhere with the abased
Contact:

Re: 2.1 Waterloo 11/11/10 - 29/11/10

Postby Aurelia Combeferre » Wed Aug 14, 2013 1:23 am

I love his descriptive writing here, actually.

Maybe it will become clearer when we reread this, but Hugo seems to have been doing more of a showing off of his retelling (indulging his inner fanboy) as opposed to making any allusions as he sometimes does in other digressions or talk of historical events. Plot-wise this battle serves mostly to contextualize the situation with Colonel Pontmercy and Thenardier. :?
"...all aptitudes having equal opportunity; politically, all votes having equal weight; religiously, all consciences having equal rights."

User avatar
Gervais
Posts: 5975
Joined: Mon Sep 03, 2012 11:10 pm
Location: Smelling your soul within your handkerchief

Re: 2.1 Waterloo 11/11/10 - 29/11/10

Postby Gervais » Wed Aug 14, 2013 2:51 pm

Aurelia Combeferre wrote:
Maybe it will become clearer when we reread this, but Hugo seems to have been doing more of a showing off of his retelling (indulging his inner fanboy) as opposed to making any allusions as he sometimes does in other digressions or talk of historical events.

Yeah. It works for it, though; makes the whole thing slightly surreal and a little questionable, but in a good way. Like, when your grandparents or teachers or someone tells an amazing story about their childhood, almost; you know it happened, but not how much is being embellished, but they expect you to not care or really question it because it makes such a good story in their eyes. If that makes sense.
Image

"The peas, Woyzeck. The PEAS."

User avatar
Aurelia Combeferre
Posts: 8847
Joined: Mon Nov 13, 2006 9:57 am
Location: somewhere with the abased
Contact:

Re: 2.1 Waterloo 11/11/10 - 29/11/10

Postby Aurelia Combeferre » Wed Aug 14, 2013 2:59 pm

That. And aside from the fact he might have been trying to 'chronicle' things or set the facts straight, I don't know what additional purpose he has for this digression. Is there some context in the 1860s for him to have devoted so much time for this tract?
"...all aptitudes having equal opportunity; politically, all votes having equal weight; religiously, all consciences having equal rights."

humanracer
Posts: 316
Joined: Mon Apr 29, 2013 10:02 pm

Re: 2.1 Waterloo 11/11/10 - 29/11/10

Postby humanracer » Wed Aug 14, 2013 7:29 pm

Here is one interpretation from author Victor Brombert:

"In the criticized and misunderstood Waterloo digression, Hugo links the fictional, symbolic characters with the factual. The digression is a lengthy description of the battle that marked Napoleon's defeat. Hugo saw history as God's action and text, which man need only read and interpret. The Waterloo digression is his interpretation. His strong belief in God and need for comfort from his life's tragedies forced him to conclude that all is working universally toward the Infinite, which is in control. This progression toward the Infinite is more than a forward movement of events; it is also a fluctuation of revolution and relapse into seemingly defeated states. Hence, the French Revolution was followed by reinstatement of the Bourbons, followed by Napoleon's reign, followed again by reinstatement of the Bourbons, and so on. The Bourbons were not just rulers, and therefore, revolution was necessary. But neither was Napoleon a just leader. Waterloo was to have ended France's tyranny, but liberation under Napoleon was impossible because Napoleon was himself tyrannical."

I haven't read this part of the novel yet so I will have to get back to you as to whether I agree with the above or not.

User avatar
Aurelia Combeferre
Posts: 8847
Joined: Mon Nov 13, 2006 9:57 am
Location: somewhere with the abased
Contact:

Re: 2.1 Waterloo 11/11/10 - 29/11/10

Postby Aurelia Combeferre » Thu Aug 15, 2013 4:31 am

August 15, 2013

Hougomont

http://www.online-literature.com/victor_hugo/les_miserables/72/

A carnage described.
"...all aptitudes having equal opportunity; politically, all votes having equal weight; religiously, all consciences having equal rights."

User avatar
Aurelia Combeferre
Posts: 8847
Joined: Mon Nov 13, 2006 9:57 am
Location: somewhere with the abased
Contact:

Re: 2.1 Waterloo 11/11/10 - 29/11/10

Postby Aurelia Combeferre » Thu Aug 15, 2013 11:32 pm

August 16, 2013

The Eighteenth of June, 1815

http://www.online-literature.com/victor_hugo/les_miserables/73/

Hugo sketches out Napoleon and the battle plan
"...all aptitudes having equal opportunity; politically, all votes having equal weight; religiously, all consciences having equal rights."

humanracer
Posts: 316
Joined: Mon Apr 29, 2013 10:02 pm

Re: 2.1 Waterloo 11/11/10 - 29/11/10

Postby humanracer » Fri Aug 16, 2013 3:36 am

I have only read the first two chapters but I am detecting an anti war sentiment in Hugo's writing. Hugo is describing carnage and destruction. I see no trace of sentimentality in his observations. Nearly everything described here, from doors to wells, has been altered by war. I really like Hugo's summary at the end of the seocnd chapter:

"Bauduin, killed, Foy wounded, conflagration, massacre, carnage, a rivulet formed of English blood, French blood, German blood mingled in fury, a well crammed with corpses, the regiment of Nassau and the regiment of Brunswick destroyed, Duplat killed, Blackmann killed, the English Guards mutilated, twenty French battalions, besides the forty from Reille's corps, decimated, three thousand men in that hovel of Hougomont alone cut down, slashed to pieces, shot, burned, with their throats cut,--and all this so that a peasant can say to-day to the traveller: Monsieur, give me three francs, and if you like, I will explain to you the affair of Waterloo!"

In a sense Hugo is asking what did all the killing really achieve? A bit of tourism? If Hugo had lived to see the First World War he would have been utterly appalled by it.

I do not really get the criticism by some people that the Waterloo section was about downplaying the victory of the UK. Maybe I will change my mind after reading more.

User avatar
Aurelia Combeferre
Posts: 8847
Joined: Mon Nov 13, 2006 9:57 am
Location: somewhere with the abased
Contact:

Re: 2.1 Waterloo 11/11/10 - 29/11/10

Postby Aurelia Combeferre » Sat Aug 17, 2013 2:42 am

August 17, 2013

A

http://www.online-literature.com/victor_hugo/les_miserables/74/

How to imagine the Battle of Waterloo.

This is excellent.
"...all aptitudes having equal opportunity; politically, all votes having equal weight; religiously, all consciences having equal rights."

User avatar
Aurelia Combeferre
Posts: 8847
Joined: Mon Nov 13, 2006 9:57 am
Location: somewhere with the abased
Contact:

Re: 2.1 Waterloo 11/11/10 - 29/11/10

Postby Aurelia Combeferre » Sun Aug 18, 2013 3:52 am

August 18, 2013

The Quid Obscurum of Battles

http://www.online-literature.com/victor_hugo/les_miserables/75/

Why the narrative of a battle may as well be confusing.
"...all aptitudes having equal opportunity; politically, all votes having equal weight; religiously, all consciences having equal rights."

User avatar
Aurelia Combeferre
Posts: 8847
Joined: Mon Nov 13, 2006 9:57 am
Location: somewhere with the abased
Contact:

Re: 2.1 Waterloo 11/11/10 - 29/11/10

Postby Aurelia Combeferre » Mon Aug 19, 2013 3:23 am

August 19, 2013

Four o'clock in the Afternoon

http://www.online-literature.com/victor_hugo/les_miserables/76/

English movements in the battle.
"...all aptitudes having equal opportunity; politically, all votes having equal weight; religiously, all consciences having equal rights."

User avatar
Aurelia Combeferre
Posts: 8847
Joined: Mon Nov 13, 2006 9:57 am
Location: somewhere with the abased
Contact:

Re: 2.1 Waterloo 11/11/10 - 29/11/10

Postby Aurelia Combeferre » Tue Aug 20, 2013 1:29 am

August 20, 2013

Napoleon in a Good Humor

http://www.online-literature.com/victor_hugo/les_miserables/77/

The Emperor at the start of a battle
"...all aptitudes having equal opportunity; politically, all votes having equal weight; religiously, all consciences having equal rights."

User avatar
Aurelia Combeferre
Posts: 8847
Joined: Mon Nov 13, 2006 9:57 am
Location: somewhere with the abased
Contact:

Re: 2.1 Waterloo 11/11/10 - 29/11/10

Postby Aurelia Combeferre » Wed Aug 21, 2013 4:04 am

August 21, 2013

The Emperor Puts a Question to the Guide Lacoste

http://www.online-literature.com/victor_hugo/les_miserables/78/

Bonaparte makes a tactical observation or two.
"...all aptitudes having equal opportunity; politically, all votes having equal weight; religiously, all consciences having equal rights."


Return to “Read-Through”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

cron