3.3 Le grand-père et le petit-fils 16/2/11-23/2/11

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: 3.3 Le grand-père et le petit-fils 16/2/11-23/2/11

Postby deHavilland » Thu Nov 21, 2013 6:55 am

In the original French, Hugo uses "le sabreur," a swordsman, someone who fights with a sabre, a cavalry infantryman who fights with a sword, etc. Napoleon's brother-in-law, Murat, was known as the "beau sabreur" as in the dashing warrior. Given that the sentence ends with "as M. Gillenormand called him on his amiable days," this pretty well adds up to the fact that Gillenormand won't refer to Pontmercy by name, but at his best will at least refer to him by what was practically his military profession.

Hapgood's "slasher" translation adds more of a negative connotation to the word than seems to have been initially implied, though I could see a crotchety Gillenormand downplaying the heroic sabreur as a being nothing more than a man waving a sword wildly about and calling that a display of military prowess. Wilbour goes with "sabrer" which is almost a cop out, whereas the F/M uses "swordsman."
"Quand vous aurez besoin de Bahorel, capitaine, Bahorel est là! Je sais faire trébucher tous les chevaux du garde-corps avec une ficelle... Rien qu'une petite ficelle. Enfin, pensez à Bahorel du Café Musain!"

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Re: 3.3 Le grand-père et le petit-fils 16/2/11-23/2/11

Postby Aurelia Combeferre » Thu Nov 21, 2013 9:46 pm

November 22, 2013

The Utility of Going to Mass in Order to Become a Revolutionist

http://www.online-literature.com/victor_hugo/les_miserables/172/

Marius learns something of perspective from a church warden
"...all aptitudes having equal opportunity; politically, all votes having equal weight; religiously, all consciences having equal rights."

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Re: 3.3 Le grand-père et le petit-fils 16/2/11-23/2/11

Postby Aurelia Combeferre » Fri Nov 22, 2013 10:51 pm

November 23, 2013

The Consequences of Having Met a Warden

http://www.online-literature.com/victor_hugo/les_miserables/173/

How Marius reeducates himself.
"...all aptitudes having equal opportunity; politically, all votes having equal weight; religiously, all consciences having equal rights."

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Re: 3.3 Le grand-père et le petit-fils 16/2/11-23/2/11

Postby Aurelia Combeferre » Sat Nov 23, 2013 11:29 pm

November 24, 2013

Some Petticoat

http://www.online-literature.com/victor_hugo/les_miserables/174/

A tale of two cousins
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Re: 3.3 Le grand-père et le petit-fils 16/2/11-23/2/11

Postby Aurelia Combeferre » Sun Nov 24, 2013 10:02 pm

November 25, 2013

Marble Against Granite

http://www.online-literature.com/victor_hugo/les_miserables/175/

A baron and a bourgeois cannot live under the same roof.
"...all aptitudes having equal opportunity; politically, all votes having equal weight; religiously, all consciences having equal rights."

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Re: 3.3 Le grand-père et le petit-fils 16/2/11-23/2/11

Postby humanracer » Tue Jan 14, 2014 12:01 pm

MmeBahorel wrote:Some additional notes I've put together.

Chapter 1
The Fualdès affair was the murder of local prosecutor Antonin Fualdès on orders of a right-wing royalist organization. Here briefly in English - the links within the wiki article go to the more detailed French pages.

This is the implication on Lamothe-Valois. Thus the idea of amnesty.

Chapter 2
Your full details on half the Napoleonic Wars, some of the battles listed out of chronological order:
Spires [Speyer] (1792), Worms (1792), Neustadt (1792), Turkheim (1792), Alzey (1792), Mayence [Mainz] (1792)
At this point, I think Victor is a little confused, because I sure as hell am confused. Mainz was taken in 1792. Then it was taken back in 1793. The fall of Mainz meant the Army of the Rhine was allowed to be sent back to France only if they did not take up arms again the Coalition. They got sent the Vendée. Which explains (sort of) how Pontmercy would end up in Belgium all of a sudden, but the dates aren't matching up too well for me right now (and neither is the geography, really). Unless he means the 1794-5 siege by the French at which Mainz was retaken. (There was a lot of fighting over Mainz.) But that would have to be listed after the Italian battles below.

Marchiennes (1793), Mont-Palissel [part of battlefield at Jemappes (1792)]
The Army of the Rhine merged with part of the Army of the Moselle in 1794. The first Army through the Col di Tenda was the Army of Italy, formed in 1792 from part of the Army of the Alps. Even with subsequent changes, this was very much an army of Southerners. Pontmercy may have been following General Biron, who got transfered from command of the Army of the Rhine to the Army of Italy for a couple of months in early 1793?

Col di Tende (1794), Lodi (1796), Novi (1799)
After Novi, the French Army had to evacuate Italy. I can't place the naval battle, but it's starting to sound like Sharpe - Pontmercy is such an awesome soldier, he was even involved in naval battles! (ok, I haven't read Sharpe's Trafalgar as the title makes me facepalm.) Still, Pontmercy's leaving because the French lost. There now appears a gap in his career, but Alexandria fits in here. (yet nothing else related to that campaign, so it looks like a weird outlier.)

Günzberg(1805), Wettingen [I think Wertingen (the day before Günzberg)], Austerlitz (1805)

Mantua (1796-7) [or when it was retaken by the Austrians in 1799 - or both, as the timing works out between Lodi and Novi]

Alexandria (1801) [the French arrived in 1798, but Pontmercy was a little busy getting kicked out of Italy in 1799]

Ulm (1805, a week after Günzberg), Hamburg (1806), Eylau (1807), Friedland (1807)
He gets to go home for a while here, get married, make a baby, before heading East again.

Moscow (1812) (and again, Pontmercy is so awesome, he survived the retreat from Moscow, after he survived the churchyard at Eylau!), Beresina (1812), Lutzen (1813), Bautzen (1813), Dresden (1813), Wachau [possibly part of Bautzen?], Leipzig (1813), Glenhausen (1813) [actually Gelnhausen, on the way to Hanau
Napoleon isn't doing too well here, getting chased all the way back through Austria and several German principalities. and then we get the real series of defeats in France itself.

Montmirail (1814), Chateau-Thierry (1814) (on the banks of the Marne), Caron is this guy, the banks of the Aisne [Craonne (1814)], Laon (1814)
I can't figure out Arney-le-Duc, as Google wants to tell me about a battle against the Huguenots in 1570. It's not far from Châtillon-sur-Seine, where Bonaparte had his peace conference, but I'm finding nothing where Pontmercy ought to have been killing cossacks in the area. The battles are a bit north of there, in the departments of Marne and Aisne, while Arney-le-Duc is in Bourgogne.

The first of January was a day for family visits, thus the meaning of having Marius write letters to his father then. St George's feast day is April 23.

Chapter 3
Secretary to Mme de Berry means “ultra of the highest order” - her husband, the duc de Berry, was assassinated in 1820 by Bonapartists, and her child, born after her husband's death, was rallied around by the legitimists for years.

Poor translation by FMA here: “A few of the less visible deputies” should really be “A few deputies of the unobtainable sort” - “du genre introuvable”, meaning members of the Chambre introuvable.

Trestaillon is the name of a man who, in Nimes, after the Hundred Days, went around at the head of a gang murdering Protestants, because the Protestant population had, in general, supported Bonaparte since Bonaparte gave them religious freedom and the right to hold government positions.

The Comte d'Artois is Charles X. Campaspe is Alexander the Great's mistress

Frayssinous and Beugnot.

The time since Coblentz – Koblenz was a principal place of exile for the émigrés during the Revolution.

Hugo's definition of “ultra” leaves out all the political orientation and yet is beautifully precise.

M. Martainville.

Fiévée, Agier, [url]http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Joseph_Colnet_Du_Ravel]Colnet[/url].

FMA's rendering as “secondary education” is “collège” - at the Restoration, the lycées were renamed “collèges royaux”, so at least Marius got out of the house some before law school. I'm assuming he was a day student, as that would be cheaper. At this point, the religious schools hadn't been allowed to re-open, otherwise I'm fairly sure he would have ended up in one of those. But I can't imagine Marius having many friends.

Chapter 8
You can check out the swimming schools on page 426. It's open May through October, so we know these scenes must take place in warm weather.

For your language-learning pleasure, “some abominable floozy” is “Quelque abominable goton”.

Louis XVIII died in September 1824, so we are definitely into 1828 by now. I work off the assumption that this is September 1828 when Marius gets kicked out, but Hugo's his usual vague self.

“Pistole” was an ancien regime coin worth 10 francs, the name surviving though the original coins were minted under Louis XIII in imitation of Spanish gold in circulation.


Thanks so much for this. Along with "the year 1817", chapter 2 of this book is one of the most difficult ones in the novel for me. I find it hard to stay focussed when Hugo rattles off a list of people and places that I know nothing about. You should write the notes for whatever translation comes out next!

Did anyone else find the bit about Hugo's uncle fighting alongside Pontmercy a bit tedious?

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Re: 3.3 Le grand-père et le petit-fils 16/2/11-23/2/11

Postby MmeBahorel » Fri Jan 17, 2014 4:20 am

Once you understand that this book is in large part about Victor Hugo, some of the random stuff suddenly makes so much more sense :)
What kind of literature and what kind of life is the same question. - Tom Stoppard


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