3.6 La conjonction de deux étoiles 8/3/11-16/3/11

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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3.6 La conjonction de deux étoiles 8/3/11-16/3/11

Postby Ulkis » Tue Mar 08, 2011 5:35 am

Volume 3: Marius, book 6: La conjonction de deux étoiles/Conjuction of Two Stars

Chapters:

1. Le sobriquet: mode de formation des noms de familles/Birth of a nickname
2. Lux facta est/And there was light
3. Effet de printemps/The workings of spring
4. Commencement d'une grande maladie/Beginning of a grave malady
5. Divers coups de foudre tombent sur mame Bougon/Shocks for Ma'am Bougon
6. Fait prisonnier/Made captive
7. Aventures de la lettre U livrée aux conjectures/Confusion over the letter U
8. Les invalides eux-mêmes peuvent être heureux/A puff of wind
9. Éclipse/Disappearance

In this book, Marius falls in love with a girl he sees in the park and follows her around acting dopey.

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Re: 3.6 La conjonction de deux étoiles 8/3/11-16/3/11

Postby Aurelia Combeferre » Tue Mar 08, 2011 8:08 am

This part of the book should seriously be titled "How not to go about romancing a pretty stranger in the park".

Seriously, Marius' behavior could have prompted a restraining order from Valjean, had those things existed in those days! :lol:
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Re: 3.6 La conjonction de deux étoiles 8/3/11-16/3/11

Postby 9430 » Tue Mar 08, 2011 12:08 pm

But wasn't it par for the course in those times? Of course, it is incredibly stalkerish today, but wasn't that kind of behaviour seen as incredibly romantic in that era?
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Re: 3.6 La conjonction de deux étoiles 8/3/11-16/3/11

Postby MmeBahorel » Tue Mar 08, 2011 1:41 pm

There's romantic and there's par for the course. Par for the course is marrying your neighbour or your school friend's sister - someone you actually have met. Not the girl you started stalking in the public park :) (Yes, Hugo did sort of stalk Adèle, but they had been neighbours and childhood playmates, and the only issue was that he was broke and her parents didn't want her to marry someone poor.)

Notes!

Livre 6

Chapitre 1
1 (wide look): Autoportrait très ressemblant de Hugo à vingt ans. Mais ses cheveux étaient châtain clair.
Very close self-portrait of Hugo at 20 years old. But his hair was light chestnut.

2 (on the side of the rue de l'Ouest): Voici réapparaître le quartier de la jeunesse de Victor qui hanta le Luxembourg pour y voir Adèle en 1820-1821.
Here reappears the area where Hugo, in his youth, haunted the Luxembourg in order to see Adèle in 1820-1821.

Chapitre 2
3 (Lux facta est): Troisième verset de la Genèse : << Et la lumière fut. >>
Third verse of Genesis: “And there was light.”

4 (today we find them disquieting): Particulièrement vrai de Hugo qui ne vit pas Léopoldine grandir et s'obstinait – sa femme le lui fait observer – à l'appeler << ma Didine >> quand elle était déjà une grande jeune fille.
Particularly true of Hugo who did not see Léopoldine grow up and persisted – his wife made him take notice – in calling her “my Didine” when she was already a rather big girl.

Chapitre 4
5 (his edition of Gil Blas): Voir I, 3, 1, note 27 et le passage du Victor Hugo raconté... (p. 305) où est raconté comment V. Hugo se fit le << nègre >> de l'académicien. << L'obligant écolier démontra en une vingtaine de pages l'originalité de Gil Blas et l'académicien mit en tête de l'édition Didot cette étude qu'il signa de son nom. >>
See I, 3, 1, note 27 and the passage in Victor Hugo Recounted . . . (p. 305) where is recounted how V. Hugo became the “ghost writer” of the academician. “The obliging schoolboy demonstrated in around twenty pages the originality of Gil Blas and the academician put at the beginning of the Didot edition this study which he signed with his own name.” [Yeah, it says “nègre”. Yes, I'm rather creeped out. Yes, this is modern French and in my French-to-English dictionary because I was never going to come up with that translation on my own.]

Chapitre 6
6 (prosodies-Quicherat): Dictionnaires et traités de versification latine.
Dictionaries and treatises of Latin verse writing.

Chapitre 7
7 (the secret struggles of chastity): Encore un trait autobiographique que trahissent, avec simplicité, les Lettres à la fiancée.
Yet another autobiographical trait that gives away, with simplicity, the Letters to a Fiancée [full French text on wikisource].

8 (“first quarrel”): Mars 1822, la cheville d'Adèle avait déchaîné de la même façon la jalousie de Victor qui avait sermonné sa << fiancée >>, très sérieusement argumenté sur la question et concluait : << Je te supplie désormais, bien aimée Adèle, de prendre garde à ce que je te dis ici, si tu ne veux m'exposer à donner un soufflet au premier insolent dont le regard osera se tourner vers toi ; tentation que j'ai eu bien de la peine à réprimer hier et aujourd'hui et dont je ne serais plus sûr d'être maître une autre fois. >> (Lettre du 4 mars 1822, éd. J. Massin, t. I, p. 1181.)
March 1822, Adèle's ankle had unleashed by the same method Victor's jealousy, and he had lectured his “fiancée”, very seriously argued the question, and concluded: “I nevertheless beg you, beloved Adèle, to pay attention to what I tell you here, if you do not want to risk that I will have to punch the first insolent man whose eye dares to turn toward you; temptation that I had to repress yesterday and today and of which I cannot be sure to master another time.” (Letter of 4 March 1822, ed. J. Massin, vol. I, p. 1181.)
Last edited by MmeBahorel on Wed Mar 09, 2011 12:04 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 3.6 La conjonction de deux étoiles 8/3/11-16/3/11

Postby Ulkis » Tue Mar 08, 2011 6:42 pm

Very close self-portrait of Hugo at 20 years old. But his hair was light chestnut.


Ah, so Hugo had passionate nostrils as well?

Seriously, when I was trying to come up with a summary, I thought, "I could have sworn that Marius does more than stalk Cosette here." But no, that's pretty much all that happened. I do find his dopiness endearing though, panicking about her seeing dust on his boots, etc. (Except for the ankle thing. Calm down there, Marius.)

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Re: 3.6 La conjonction de deux étoiles 8/3/11-16/3/11

Postby Aurelia Combeferre » Sat Mar 12, 2011 2:21 pm

If you want to add more to the summary, you could say that Marius seems to fail the 'tests' given to him by an old man who is suspicious about his presence in the Luxembourg. :lol:
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Re: 3.6 La conjonction de deux étoiles 8/3/11-16/3/11

Postby MmeBahorel » Sun Mar 13, 2011 6:06 am

Chapter 1

Sicambri: a Germanic people living in what is now the Netherlands. This is yet another pointer to Hugo. (I facepalm so hard over this. It's all so very “I was damned attractive in my younger days, and as I was awesome, my character will be understood as awesome”. Except Marius is not awesome. He is pretty, but he is lazy and scared to death of girls, something no one could ever have accused Hugo of *g*.)

fled like a Parthian: The Parthian Empire originated in what is now Iran. The phrase must come from the Roman-Parthian Wars, probably from the Parthian archers, who would feign retreat at a gallop - and then turn around and shoot you while you pursued them if you were dumb enough to think you were routing them from the field. Thus, Courfeyrac fled rapidly, but left behind a parting shot of wit.

But found the girl rather depressing: This is interesting, as M. Leblanc is the possibly rather sad sight. He does not return a look, focuses only on the granddaughter, and if he is the retired soldier Marius suspects, he was in his prime at the same time as Colonel Pontmercy. It's no wonder that Marius likes him, as he is probably ascribing certain aspects of his father's friends to the unknown gentleman. But the girl chatters gaily, so his issue must be that she looks around with “an unpleasant assurance”. Or that she shows no signs of growing up to be in the least attractive. So the problem is either that the girl, so young and otherwise unprepossessing, has the confidence in herself and/or the world that he lacks, or that such confidence in an ugly girl will lead to no good. I just find the juxtaposition curious, that she chatters gaily and Marius finds her depressing.

Also, I <3 Courfeyrac :) Marius does too, otherwise he wouldn't quit avoiding Courfeyrac after a week. I think Courfeyrac has decided that corrupting Marius ought to be his mission in life, something to fill the time between errands for the freedom of man. He keeps giving Marius very good advice – and making bad jokes – and not getting annoyed that Marius doesn't take said advice. Marius must keep coming back for more because Courfeyrac is just so damned charming about being completely annoying. (well, he can't be completely annoying; we only get the highlights.)

Chapter 2

Raphael: A nice Madonna here and not a bad one here.

Jean Goujon: It looks like his famous Venus and Cupid is a bas-relief currently in the Hermitage in St Petersburg, pictured here. Don't see the big deal about her neck.

Chapter 3
Does Victor speak about this “virgin glancing like a woman” from lots and lots of experience? I'm sort of getting creeped out about him taking advantage of the maids and not quite certain if he ought to blame them or not.

I am, however, cracking up at Marius' sudden realisation that he had the “slovenly indecency, and unheard-of stupidity” to go walking in the Luxembourg dressed like crap. I'm going to assume that this is why I have a bookmark at this page. (I have no idea why I have a bookmark in this section. I would blame it on writing Cosette femslash, except the notecard marking the place is from the Richard III paper I wrote first semester, junior year of high school, pre-dating the appearance of any slash in the fandom. It may have been moved from elsewhere in the book, but the whole thing is just odd. Other bookmarked pages have obvious reasons; this one has to be related to Marius' clothes. Maybe I'll blame it on the following chapter, which begins on the same page, and is Courfeyrac being Courfeyrac.)

Chapter 4
I <3 Courfeyrac :) Yes, I felt a need to underline “I just met Marius' new hat and coat, with Marius in them.”

As for the “he was probably on his way to an exam”, Courfeyrac is both plausible and not paying attention. Marius already got his law degree, but the plausibility is that exams were conducted in July for students who finished their year's studies in that month, rather than at the beginning of the next term, which was how it usually went, except there would be an advantage to these students because the next term starts after a two-month summer vacation.

Yes, Marius deserves to be called stupid behind his back for totally ignoring Courfeyrac. But Courfeyrac is good-humoured about calling him stupid.

The bourgeois is a really fascinating little detail – it brings in the political situation in an almost subconscious manner. July 1831 was not a calm month: legislative elections on the 5th did not live up to Louis-Philippe's expectations, there were riots on the 14th (Bastille Day) that had to be dispersed by undercover police officers after an attempt to plant a liberty tree in the place de la Bastille was suppressed, and of course, at the end of the month is the first anniversary of the July Monarchy. The bourgeois is almost certainly an Orleanist, and my guess is that we are post-14 July, and coming up on the 27th, so that we have the riots of the 14th to point to as anarchy and the celebration of triumph against despotism on the 27th.

Why is Marius contemplating the Manuel du Baccalauréat? He would have sat his bac five years ago, so why does he have it on the brain? And I suspect the opinion comes from hanging around Courfeyrac's friends – Combeferre obviously has a particular respect for Molière if he bothers adapting that playwright as a smackdown, and you've got him and Bahorel earlier arguing about the need for classical French tragedy. Not that Marius was necessarily incapable of having these thoughts on his own, but they do fit in with things Combeferre has said.

“He had a sharp ringing in his ear.” Oh god, I know this feeling. It's like the ringing of silence as if you're suddenly in this bubble of hormones and you can barely hear yourself talk, which is awful because you're desperately trying not to say anything stupid, and your head also sort of swims as if you're drunk. (Thank you, particular actor who is the reason I know this feeling all too well. Since I didn't manage to get over it in more than five years, it's probably best you've left the business because I'm likely never getting over it.)

Marcos Obregon de la Ronda: Picaresque novel by Vicente Espinel. You can read the whole thing, in English, here. All about Gil Blas, which used aspects of Espinel's novel. The Spanish again links Marius with Hugo, as well as the literary bragging rights. Which seem sort of out of character for Marius, since Marius works as little as possible. But then, that may well be the point, that he suddenly has someone worth bragging to. And it's worth bragging about, considering François de Neufchâteau is dead. The hazard of Hugo pulling autobiographical details? If Marius wrote that foreword, he did it at the age of 10 (that edition of Gil Blas was published in 1820, when Hugo was Marius' age). We're up to two zombies in Marius' life now!

And yes, I am laughing at him again for tripping because he thought she might be looking at him. It's actually quite cute, since we aren't to stalkerrifc territory yet. And for thinking that surely she must not be insensible to his nice coat and trousers.

Chapter 5
Yes, Marius, the sparrows are mocking you for being a pansy :)

Chapter 6
I do kind of get where Marius is coming from here. He's gotten caught, he's trying not to get caught, he doesn't want to look eager, and then all he can think about is the major flaw he can see, so of course she must have seen it, too.

Audry de Puyraveau (wiki in French only) was a deputy of the extreme left, first elected in 1822. I can find no sign of an awesome speech in 1831, but Hugo has his details considerably off in this book, trying to bridge his life with the period in which he has set this story.

As in, Frédérick Lemaître did not appear in L'Auberges des Adrets at the Porte-Saint-Martin until February 1832. There was a previous production in May 1830. At the beginning of August, the Théâtre de la Porte-Saint-Martin had up a play about Napoleon (the listing for 3 August is “Napoléon, Encore le préjugé”; the Opera that night had “Le Philtre, Manon Lescaut”). I think Lemaître gets the shout-out because a) he's famous and b) he originated the title role in Hugo's Ruy Blas. It's also a segue into the next book, as the lead character in L'Auberge des Adrets is the bandit Robert Macaire. These details (Lemaître and Robert Macaire) would be readily known to a contemporary reader.

I will cut Marius some slack – Courfeyrac's “collection” merely “almost horrified him”. And he's behaving fairly close to a normal human being for once.

And just as I'm cutting Marius some slack, Hugo is creeping me out again. I swear, these were not so bad when I didn't know he slept with every woman in sight and kept a diary about it. “Disfigured by shame or transfigured by love” - vagina dentata or wife. Ew, Victor.

Chapter 7
Oh, Cosette. I fear this is merely the first of many times you will have that “what are you on?” expression when looking at Marius.

Ursule is probably Marius' best bet. Other options, according to an 1858 “Noms de baptême et prénoms”, are Ulrique and Uranie. Still – he's an idiot.

Chapter 8
Theocritus: bucolic poet. The robes of Isis come from Plutarch (paragraph 77). Bartholo is Rosine's guardian in The Barber of Seville, appearing also in the Marriage of Figaro – Cherubino makes love to women; Bartholo first makes an impediment to marriage, then forces a marriage in revenge. (also fun comparison: in the opera of Figaro, Cherubino is a trouser role, while Bartholo is a bass – as wide a vocal difference as one can get.)

Second time for the “What are you on?” look.

Chapter 9
Marius, you are damned lucky Valjean is in hiding, otherwise I think you would have gotten your ass kicked, and deservedly so. Courfeyrac would probably agree with me, sort of, after teasing you for being too much of a pansy to talk to her. Because this would be a lot less creepy if you talked to her!
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Re: 3.6 La conjonction de deux étoiles 8/3/11-16/3/11

Postby Aurelia Combeferre » Wed Dec 11, 2013 12:17 am

Catch up: December 8, 9, 10

December 8: The Sobriquet: Mode of Formation of Family Names

http://www.online-literature.com/victor ... ables/188/

How a pair may acquire the nicknames LeBlanc and Lanoire

December 9: Lux Facta Est

http://www.online-literature.com/victor ... ables/189/

Spring arrives, Marius doesn't notice....

December 10: Effect of the Spring

http://www.online-literature.com/victor ... ables/190/
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Re: 3.6 La conjonction de deux étoiles 8/3/11-16/3/11

Postby Aurelia Combeferre » Wed Dec 11, 2013 12:18 am

December 11, 2013

Beginning of a Great Malady

http://www.online-literature.com/victor_hugo/les_miserables/191/

Interesting behavioral changes
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Re: 3.6 La conjonction de deux étoiles 8/3/11-16/3/11

Postby Aurelia Combeferre » Wed Dec 11, 2013 9:47 pm

December 12, 2013

Divers Claps of Thunder Fall on Ma'am Bougon

http://www.online-literature.com/victor_hugo/les_miserables/192/

What a concierge notices

EDITED on December 13 owing to a goof.
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Re: 3.6 La conjonction de deux étoiles 8/3/11-16/3/11

Postby Aurelia Combeferre » Thu Dec 12, 2013 9:52 pm

December 13, 2013

Taken Prisoner

http://www.online-literature.com/victor_hugo/les_miserables/193/

All it takes is a glance
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Re: 3.6 La conjonction de deux étoiles 8/3/11-16/3/11

Postby Aurelia Combeferre » Sat Dec 14, 2013 3:29 am

December 14, 2013

Adventures of the Letter U Delivered Over to Conjectures

http://www.online-literature.com/victor_hugo/les_miserables/194/

The confusion that may lie with a handkerchief.
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Re: 3.6 La conjonction de deux étoiles 8/3/11-16/3/11

Postby Aurelia Combeferre » Sun Dec 15, 2013 12:06 am

December 15, 2013

The Veterans Themselves Can Be Happy

http://www.online-literature.com/victor_hugo/les_miserables/195/

Standards of modesty and perhaps jealousy.
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Re: 3.6 La conjonction de deux étoiles 8/3/11-16/3/11

Postby Aurelia Combeferre » Sun Dec 15, 2013 9:53 pm

December 16, 2013

Eclipse

http://www.online-literature.com/victor_hugo/les_miserables/196/

Mistakes and absence
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