4.1 Quelques pages d'histoire 12/4/11-17/4/11

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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4.1 Quelques pages d'histoire 12/4/11-17/4/11

Postby Ulkis » Tue Apr 12, 2011 2:54 am

Volume 4: The Idyll in the Rue Saint-Plumet and the Epic in the Rue Saint-Denis, book 1: A Few Pages of History

Chapters:

1. Bien coupé/Well-tailored
2. Mal cousu/Badly stitched
3. Louis-Philippe
4. Lézardes sous la fondation/Flaws in the structure
5. Faits d'où l'histoire sort et que l'histoire ignore/Facts making History which History ignores
6. Enjolras et ses lieutenants/Enjolras and his lieutenants

Hugo describes why Paris was rife for revolution in 1832, and talks about the king Louis-Phillipe and the many conspiracies observed by the police and citizenry.

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Re: 4.1 Quelques pages d'histoire 12/4/11-17/4/11

Postby MmeBahorel » Wed Apr 13, 2011 2:17 am

There will undoubtedly be additional notes to follow, as we're into nerd-ville again.

Livre 1

Chapitre 1
1 (the Resistance and the Movement): Ces deux termes désignaient sous la monarchie de Juillet le centre droit et le centre gauche, le premier favorables au principe d'autorité (Casimir Périer), le second voulant poursuivre la révolution de Juillet, ou la laisser << ouverte >> (Lafitte). Mais Hugo élargit le sens daté de ces noms pour faire apparaître l'époque tout entière sous le signe de la contradiction.
These two terms designated under the July Monarchy the center-right and the center-left, the first favourable to the principle of authority (Casimir Périer), the second wanting to pursue the July Revolution or to leave it “open” (Laffitte). But Hugo widens the outdated sense of these names to make it appear that the entire period was under the sign of contradition.

2 (the King of Yvetot): Refrain d'une chanson de Béranger, Le Roi d'Yvetot (1813), composée contre Napoléon.
Refrain of a song by Béranger, The King of Yvetot (1813), composed against Napleon.

3 (the Protector): Titre historique de Cromwell. Le parallèle entre la Révolution anglaise et la française, entre Cromwell et Napoléon, était déjà banal au moment où Hugo l'emploie dans Cromwell, en 1827.
Historical title of Cromwell. The parallel between the English Revolution and the French one, between Cromwell and Napleon, was already banal at the time Hugo employed in Cromwell in 1827.

4 (and principally the afflicted): Discours de Guillaume du Vair (1555-1621) prononcé devant le Parlement après les barricades de mai 1588, au moment où la Ligue se révolte contre Henri III.
Speech by Guillaume du Vair (1555-1621) given before the Parlement after the barricades of May 1588, at the time when the [Catholic] League revolted against Henri III.

Chapitre 2
5 (Iturbide): Empereur fantoche du Mexique en 1821, détrôné en 1823, fusillé en 1824. Comme dans Châtiments, son nom remplace ici celui de Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte.
Puppet emperor of Mexico in 1821, dethroned in 1823, shot in 1824. As in Les Châtiments, his name here replaces that of Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte.

6 (or the house of Orléans): En fait, c'est la maison d'Orange qui monta sur le trône en 1688 ; la maison de Brunswick-Hanovre n'y parvint qu'en 1714.
In fact, it's the house of Orange that mounted the throne in 1688; the house of Brunswick-Hanover did not rise to it until 1714.

7 (Such is the theory of skillful): L'exilé désavoue ici le Pair de France ; dans la première version du texte, avant 1848, plusieurs de ces réflexions étaient prises en charge par le narrateur lui-même. Voir M. R. Journet et G. Robert, Le Manuscrit des Misérables, ouv. Cit., p. 155. Ce n'est qu'un cas limite des nombreuses modifications qui réorientent les perspectives du livre, surtout en matière politique et religieuse.
The exile here disavows the Peerage of France; in the first version of the text, before 1848, several of these reflections were taken care of by the narrator himself. See M.R. Journet and G. Robert, The Manuscript of Les Misérables, op. Cit., p. 155. This is only a limited case of numerous modifications that reorient the perspectives of the book, above all in political and religious materials.

8 (An although-because.): En l'occurrence : quoique Bourbon, parce que Bourbon.
In this case: although Bourbon, because Bourbon.

9 (The 221): Il s'agit des 221 députés libéraux qui, en mars 1830, exprimèrent leur opposition à la politique de Charles X par une << adresse >> à laquelle le roi répondit par la dissolution de la Chambre. A la nouvelle assemblée, 202 furent réélus. De là les ordonnances de juillet et les Trois Glorieuses. Le 31 juillet 1830, La Fayette reçut Louis-Philippe à l'Hôtel de Ville et le présenta au peuple parisien.
This is about the 221 liberal deputies who, in March 1830, expressed their opposition to Charles X's politics by an “address” to which the king responded by dissolving the Chamber. At the new assembly, 202 were reelected. From there the July Ordinances and the Three Glorious Days. 31 July 1830, Lafayette received Louis-Philippe at the Hôtel de Ville and presented him to the Parisian people.

Chapitre 3
10 (a rare man): Le duc d'Aumale, chef de la maison d'Orléans en 1862, remercie Hugo de ce portrait dans une lettre du 8 juillet au général Le Flô qui la transmit à l'auteur. Hugo ne fait pas ici que témoigner sa reconnaissance au Prince qui l'avait fait académicien (1841) et Pair de France (1845) ; Louis-Philippe était à ses yeux, et demeurait, le moyen du << progrès en pente douce >>.
The Duke of Aumale, head of the House of Orléans in 1862, thanked Hugo for this portrait in an 8 July letter to General Le Flô who sent it to the author. Hugo here merely testifies to his meeting with with the Prince who made him an Academician (1841) and Peer of France (1845); Louis-Philippe was in his eyes, and remained, the means of “progress in a gentle slope”.

11 (the rue Transnonain): En avril 1834 éclatèrent des tentatives insurrectionnelles à Lyon et à Paris. Le dimanche 13 avril, les barricades élevées au centre de Paris furent enlevées avec brutalité ; l'armée, pénétrant dans la maison du 12, rue Transnonain, massacra sauvagement tous les habitants. Cet épisode sanglant rappelle que les dix premières années de la monarchie de Juillet furent marquées par une série de manifestations politiques républicaines et de soulèvements ouvriers mêlés, à Paris et à Lyon (1831, 1834 surtout et, en mai 1839, émeute parisienne dite des Saisons, menée par Barbès et Blanqui).
In April 1834 tentative insurrections broke out in Lyon and Paris. Sunday, 13 April, the barricades erected in the centre of Paris were overthrown with brutality; the army, pushing into the house at 12 rue Transnonain (wiki French only), savagely massacred all the inhabitants. This bloody episode recalls that the first ten years of the July Monarchy were marked by a series of republican political demonstrations mixed with workers' upheavals, in Paris and in Lyon (1831, 1834 above all and, in may 1839, the Parisian riot called the Seasons (wiki French only), led by Barbès and Blanqui).
[Briefly: the Transnonain Massacre arose when soldiers clearing barricades believed they were shot at from one of the windows of the house at 12 rue Transnonain. They hastily, and in fear, cleared the entire house – twelve inhabitants were killed, the rest were wounded. It was a combination of combat fear and revenge on the Paris populace.]

12 (it is impossible to doubt): Le témoin est, bien sûr, l'auteur lui-même, familier du << château >> surtout à partir de 1844.
The witness is, of course, the author himself, familiar with the “castle” above all from 1844.

13 (the laws of September): Lois répressives promulguée en septembre 1836 à la suite de l'attentat de Fieschi contre Louis-Philippe.
Repressive laws promulgated in September 1836 following Fieschi's attempt against Louis-Philippe.

14 (a condemned politician): Il s'agissait de Barbès, condamné à mort pour son action aux émeutes de 1839 et dont Hugo avait demandé la grâce au Roi par un quatrain ensuite publié dans Les Rayons et les Ombres (III). Un an après la publication des Misérables, le Victor Hugo raconté par un témoin de sa vie (chap. 52) donna explicitement sa valeur autobiographique à ces lignes énigmatiques en retraçant toute l'histoire et en reproduisant la touchante lettre de remerciements tardifs adressé à Hugo par Barbès, qui s'était reconnu à la lecture des Misérables.
This is about Barbès, condemned to death for his action in the 1839 riots and for whom Hugo requested mercy from the King by a quatrain later published in Sunbeams and Shadows (III).

Chapitre 4
15 (question of the scaffold): Hugo datera toujours son << socialisme >> de 1828, c'est-à-dire du Dernier Jour d'un condamné. Non sans raison : la question pénale est une des premières << questions sociales >> à une époque où les << classes dangereuses >> recoupent effectivement en partie les << classes laborieuses >>.
Hugo will always date his “socialism” from 1828, that is to say from The Last Day of a Condemned Man. Not without reason: The penal question is one of the first “social questions” at a period when the “dangerous classes” were effectively a part of the “labouring classes”.

Chapitre 5
16 (Quénisset): Cet ouvrier du faubourg Saint-Antoine tenta, en 1841, d'assassiner deux princes de la famille royale.
This worker of the faubourg Saint-Antoine attempted, in 1841, to assassinate two princes of the royal family.

17 (Gisquet): Préfet de police à Paris entre 1831 et 1836.
Prefect of Police (wiki in French only) in Paris between 1831 and 1836.

18 (these strange documents): Ce Q.C.D.E. se lit aussi C.Q.D.E. : c'est quod erat demonstrandum, en français, C.Q.F.D. (ce qu'il fallait démontrer).
L U go a^1 Fe = u go L^1 a fe = Hugo l'a fait. Hugo s'inscrit dans les conspirateurs comme il a déjà pris rang parmi les bandits (voir Homère Hogu).

This QCDE can also be read CQDE: that's quod erat demonstrandum, in French CQFD (what it was necessary to show).
L U go a^1 Fe = u go L^1 a fe = Hugo did it. Hugo inscribes himself in the conspirators as he has already ranked himself among the bandits (see Homer Hogu).

19 (le Populaire): Journal de Cabet, postérieur aux événements de 1832 puisqu'il parut de 1833 à 1835.
Newspaper by Cabet, later than the events of 1832 since it appeared from 1833 to 1835.

20 (we have already said this word): En III, 4, 1.
In III, 4, 1.

21 (the blind cyclops, Ingens): << Monstre horrible, informe, colossal, aveugle >> (Virgile, Énéide, III, 658).
“Horrible, shapeless, colossal, blind monster” (Virgil, Aeneid, III, 658).

Chapitre 6
22 (rue des Vielles-Tuileries): Victor Hugo y vécut avec sa mère et son frère Eugène en 1814,à proximité du Conseil de guerre où demeuraient les Foucher.
Victor Hugo lived here with his mother and his brother Eugène in 1814, in proximity to the Conseil de guerre where the Fouchers lived.

23 (Prudhomme): Louis-Marie Prudhomme (1752-1830) dirigea de 1789 à 1795 l'hebdomadaire Les Révolutions de Paris. Il n'y a jamais eu de constitution de l'an II. La Constitution républicaine date de 1793, c'est-à-dire de l'an I. Ce sont les soldats de l'an II ! Mais c'est Grantaire qui se trompe, sans doubte pas Hugo.
Louis-Marie Prudhomme (1752-1830) directed from 1789 to 1795 the weekly newspaper The Revolutions of Paris. There was never a constitution of the year II. The Republican Constitution dates from 1793, that is to say, from the year I. It was the soldiers of the year II! But it's Grantaire who is wrong, undoubtedly not Hugo. [There's a Constitution of the Year I, and a Constitution of the Year III, which may make the error more comic.]

24 (waistcoat à la Robespierre): C'est la deuxième gilet rouge du roman, le premier, << téméraire >>, était porté par Bahorel. Notons que V. Hugo, comme Adèle dans son récit de la bataille d'Hernani (Victor Hugo raconté..., ouv. Cit., p. 456) attribuent à Gautier un << gilet à la Robespierre >> quoique l'intéressé ait toujours prétendu avoir revêtu non un gilet rouge – et surtout pas << à la Robespierre >> -, mais un << pourpoint rose cerise >>. Le troisième gilet rouge sera à nouveau porté par Bahorel, à l'enterrement du général Lamarque en IV, 10, 4. Cette circonstance s'éclaire par la lecture de Histoire d'un crime (III, 6 ; volume Histoire) : << Gaston Dussoubs […] portait comme autrefois Théophile Gautier, un gilet rouge. >> Ce Dussoubs était député de la gauche en 1851. Malade au moment du coup d'État, il fut remplacé sur les barricades de décembre par son frère, Denis, qui y mourut en arborant l'écharpe de député que son frère lui avait confiée.
Toute la conversation qui suit – la partie de domino – reproduit à peu près un fragment dramatique daté du 30 mars 1855 (voir éd. J. Massin, t. IX, p.990).

This is the second red waistcoat in the novel, the first, “reckless”, was worn by Bahorel. Let us note that V. Hugo, as Adèle in her telling of the Battle of Hernani (Victor Hugo Recounted . . ., op. Cit., p. 456) attributes to Gautier a “waistcoat à la Robespierre” although the man himself had always claimed to have worn not a red waistcoat – and of course not one “à la Robespierre” - but a “cherry pink doublet”. The third red waistcoat will be again worn by Bahorel, at the funeral of General Lamarque in IV, 10, 4. This circumstance is illuminated by a reading of History of a Crime (III, 6; volume History): “Gaston Dussoubs . . . wore as Théophile Gautier used to, a red waistcoat.” This Dussoubs was deputy of the left in 1851. Sick during the coup d'etat, he was replaced on the barricades of December by his brother, Denis, who died there wearing the pin of a deputy that his brother had given him.
The entire conversation that follows – the domino party – reproduces closely a dramatic fragment dated from 30 March 1855 (see ed. J. Massin, vol. IX, p. 990).
[Denis Dussoubs was an active participant in the revolution of 1848 in Limoges, and with his death in the protests over the coup d'etat that ended the Second Republic, he became a major symbol of local republican sentiment. When the republic was restored in 1871, a major square in Limoges was named for him because the new city council wanted to demonstrate the long history of republicanism in the city. See notes on 3.8 for the waistcoat à la Robespierre.]
What kind of literature and what kind of life is the same question. - Tom Stoppard

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Re: 4.1 Quelques pages d'histoire 12/4/11-17/4/11

Postby Ulkis » Wed Apr 13, 2011 3:23 am

That reminds me . . . it was mentioned that Louis-Phillipe destroyed the last of the cells . . . did he mean the cells that were talk about in the chapter on convents?

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Re: 4.1 Quelques pages d'histoire 12/4/11-17/4/11

Postby MmeBahorel » Sun Apr 17, 2011 3:51 am

Ulkis: completely different abbeys. The one mentioned before is Villers, in Belgium; this is the Mont Saint Michel.

I, uhm, sort of go rambling. But I've googled stuff, too, so you don't have to :)

Chapter 1
Prusias: There are two of them, father who did well, expanding his territory and staying neutral in neighbouring conflicts, and son who did badly, failing in his neighbouring conquests and forced to pay reparations for his damages, so I assume the son? But then, the father's neutrality was in a Roman war, and the failures of the son don't seem to fit the context, so I am confused.

Hugo uses a whole lot of “they” here, but I feel like it's really Charles X he ought to mean rather than Louis XVIII. Louis understood that he was permitted his kingdom back and that he had to work with his subjects rather than impose a former will upon them; Charles felt his people had been permitted to get uppity and needed to be brought back to heel. The royalists may be included in this “they” at times, though the ostensible reference is the Bourbons rather than them and their supports. I may also be taking issue because I have some sympathy for Louis' position. Quite frankly, the alliance desperately wanted a king on the French throne and Louis did, for a while, try to work with people, while Charles, seemingly safe because Louis' actions had helped stabilise the situation, thought dragging everyone back forty years was a brilliant idea. And it may just be that in comparison to Charles, who was completely tone-deaf and deliberately ignorant of the social changes forty years had brought, Louis was a liberal genius.

The view of 1830 is a little odd. I mean, Lafayette handed over to Louis-Philippe damned quickly – the fact that a monarch was to remain did a hell of a lot to soothe the ruffled feathers of all the neighbouring royal houses. There's writing history to accord to your literary need, and then there's making shit up. This feels a lot closer to the latter than to the former. (In many ways, these paragraphs are an ongoing #NotIntendedToBeAFactualStatement, minus the funny.)

Of course, my opinions are significantly influenced by modern historical analysis. For Hugo, “right” is akin to “god” in a way – and thus he can separate the Revolution of 1830 from its aftermath. But any student of history today sees the aftermath as the reason the revolution happened in the first place. The aftermath was the result of bourgeois support, without which there would have been no revolution, just perhaps yet another set of riots. The bourgeois were determined not to take Charles vacating of the last election sitting down, and they returned nearly all the same candidates and refused to be bullied out of their own interests. It was that cross class temporary alliance that permitted the revolution to be a revolution; the triumph of “right” in the overthrow of a poorly-governing monarchy was incidental.

To split the Revolution and its aftermath into separate chapters is crap to a modern historian. And it some ways, it's disingenuous in Hugo as well. Surely a reader at the time would have gone “This guy might be full of crap”.

Chapter 2
“Right, too grandly proclaimed, is disquieting.” Didn't Hugo just assert in the last chapter that right wasn't all that grandly proclaimed in 1830? The existence was splendid, but the revolution itself was mild. (and really, the revolution was carved up beforehand, otherwise it would never have taken place.)

Here, Hugo at least starts to discuss the need for a monarchy to quiet the neighbourhood that he brushed over in the last chapter, but he treats it with contempt. Yes, the man is writing years later, from the perspective of wishing something were done about Louis-Napoleon (and thus the proclamation against dynasties), but it's unfair to this revolution in this period. To the preference to assure peace rather than risk yet another war. Hugo's sense of the outside world seems very underdeveloped, inappropriately so for a politician.


But then we get “This, then, is the great art, to give a success something of the sound of catastrophe, so that those who profit from it may tremble, too, to moderate a step forward with fear, to enlarge the curve of transition to the extent of retarding progress . . .” Here, he's right, even if he goes on a bit long with his comparisons. That's the thing about revolutions – there's a point at which anything seems possible, and “anything” should be a frightening notion. “Anything” can encompass anarchy as well as liberty.

It's only now that he explains the importance of the bourgeoisie, though I think his invocation of 1814 is a huge exaggeration. What the allies wanted in 1814 was far more important than what anyone in France wanted.

Chapter 3
I sort of disagree on the rue Transnonain being laid at the feet of royalty in general. The same thing would have happened under the Third Republic (it was the Third Republic that did much the same, on a larger scale, to the Commune). It was the improper training of the army and too great a desire for vengeance that led to that massacre. Not that Hugo could look ten years into the future and see what any government could do, but I do think it unfair to believe that the acts of a few soldiers belong to the king. (Now, what happened to those soldiers afterward, that's a different story, but one that is not the subject of this reference.) I mean, do you really want riots unchecked? Half the people making trouble are not the ones with political grievances, they're just the ones who like bashing things up (see, major cities after the home team wins a sports championship). Yes, there's violence and there's violence, but any regime that wishes to continue is going to put down insurrections. Hugo's argument here seems to be that only a monarchy will put down insurrections with violence; does he really agree with the implication that a republic will let itself be run over by a (comparatively) small group of the disaffected? Or does he believe that in a republic, there will be no insurrections, thus insurrection must be prioritised over the regime because it proves the regime to be in the wrong? And if he believes insurrection must be prioritised over the regime, how do the royalists/legitimists fit into this?

I really feel like he's going rambling again instead of creating anything coherent.

Belgium refused – the Belgian Revolution took place right after France's 1830 Revolution, inspired by it, and requested that one of Louis-Philippe's sons become king. The alliance countries, fearing a link of the Belgian provinces with France would re-start the Napoleonic territorial expansion they'd all fought against 15 years earlier, basically said “No way in hell”. Louis Philippe said “Yeah, I can see that's a bad idea, sorry son.” So the Belgians got Leopold, from the German house of Saxe-Coburg, instead. (I have no idea where Hugo is going with this, to be honest – pissing off the alliance seems to be asking for a war. And there was a war, briefly – the Netherlands tried to take back the provinces that had seceded, but the French army stopped that – but it would have been a different war had there been a French monarch on the Belgian throne.)

Algeria too harshly conquered – the invasion took place under Charles X, but the new government kept at the war. So did the Second Republic (pacifying the conquered territory was an ongoing issue).

Abd-el-Kadr – Algerian resistance leader. The breach of faith was the Treaty of Tafna, which gave France control of 1/3 the territory and Kader control of 2/3 of the territory. This was broken two years later when French troops crossed the line into Kader's territory.

Blaye – This is where the Duchesse de Berri was held after her failed Legitimist rebellion in 1832. She was betrayed by Deutz.

Deutz – Simon Deutz was a Jewish convert to Catholicism who worked for the Duchesse de Berry until it was much more profitable to sell her out. He got a lot of money for his efforts, and launched a huge anti-semitic backlash when it was publicised. The period discussion you'll find about him is highly anti-semitic.

Pritchard – George Pritchard was a British missionary to the Society Islands in the 1830s, hoping to acquire the islands for Britain. His request was refused by the Foreign Minister in 1839, but Pritchard continued as British consul in Tahiti. He tried to get the Tahitian queen to expel two Catholic missionaries, which led France to send in naval force to take the islands into “protection”. Pritchard worked up a rebellion, which got the islands officially annexed to France and himself arrested. Britain was of course not happy and demanded that the status of Protectorate be restored and Pritchard paid an indemnity for everything he was put through. (the French wiki goes through it all; the English not so much.)

The cells of the Mont-Saint-Michel – The abbey was also used as a prison during the Ancien Regime for special prisoners, and then after the Revolution was a considerable prison, not closed until 1863 (Hugo was a major agitator for its closing). (only discussed in the French wiki) As for the iron cages in particular, I'm finding some interesting info. The so-called iron cage was really a wooden cage built under Louis XI to imprison Cardinal Balue. I have one guidebook from 1883 that says it was destroyed by the future Charles X in 1777, one from 1911 that says it was at Charles X's request but ordered by Louis-Philippe, and an 1874 Church of England Magazine article says Louis-Philippe with no mention of Charles X. I think I believe the 1911 one as there seems to be no reason for an English-language guidebook of that period to include them both if there wasn't reason to believe both were involved. So what Hugo is praising is actually Charles X's idea and not Louis-Philippe's at all, most likely, which I find very amusing.

“Louis-Philippe was a king of broad daylight.” This is a very abrupt change to a sarcastic paragraph (a good rundown of the Laws of September is here. So is Hugo saying, after all this about Louis-Philippe really being a decent person, that his government was transparent in its repression? The comment about freedom of the press is deeply jarring because I can't figure out how to force the previous two paragraphs into anything that could resemble the tone of this paragraph. This paragraph actually looks like Hugo earnestly believes the opposite of what is factual. And what follows doesn't help in the least. Only when we get down to “What is held against him? That throne” is anything possibly connected to what has to be the meaning of this paragraph.

The whole chapter is really in praise of Louis Philippe. So why that paragraph about “daylight”?

Chapter 4
“Whatever these tempests may be, human responsibility is not involved.” Ouch. This from a man who went around during the June Days trying to get men to put down their arms or get himself shot, either one being an acceptable outcome since he didn't really know what the hell he wanted. Rather consistent, though – death, his or theirs, really doesn't matter to the big picture, and his own would mean he wouldn't have to live with the guilt of theirs.

“Every revolution, being a normal accomplishment, contains in itself its own legitimacy, which false revolutionists sometimes dishonour, but which persists even when sullied, which survives even when stained with blood. Revolutions spring, not from an accident, but from necessity. A revolution is a return from the factitious to the real. It is, because it must be.” Here he rather has a point. A revolt is a revolution that is not completed – it does not completely turn and thus does not prove its legitimacy. A revolution is legitimate because it succeeds. Which doesn't very well go with his earlier statements about the beauty and purity of “right” and “right” being “revolution.” (You also have to love the French - “revolution, being a normal accomplishment” *g*.)

In a prior re-read, I pulled out “God makes his will visible to men in events, an obscure text written in a mysterious language . . .” - the whole paragraph, with special emphasis on “Often the government itself is a faction”. It's a beautifully written metaphor, but I definitely find revolution containing its own legitimacy a far more interesting notion today.

“Errors make excellent projectiles.” So true, Victor, so true. Also, “Factions are blind men who aim straight.” Hello, electoral politics for all centuries! Here's something Hugo actually knows about. (I don't think he really knows about revolution – he tries to be a theoretician of revolution but he really isn't. His closeness with the monarchs gets in the way.)

We finally get the foreign implications that he's avoided for three chapters! Yes, preserving peace is important. Moreover, the peace has to be preserved! Of course, then he goes back to “A harmony required in the wrong way is often more onerous than a war.” I'm not sure the vast majority of people in France would have agreed with him. Lack of political rights – Death at the hands of Germans. Not much balance between the two, is there? The list of serious domestic issues that follows really needs to be addressed before provoking an international war that will be carried out on your own soil, less than a generation after the last one.

Thank you for the reminder that equal distribution is not the socialist goal. “Equitable distribution” still means profit and loss, a reward for hard work, the ability to work in a variety of non-necessary sectors including the arts; it just also means a minimum standard of living is upheld and no one dies in the streets.

“A strange shadow coming nearer and nearer was spreading over men little by little . . .” Is this a derivation of Marx's spectre (or hobgoblin *g*) of communism stalking Europe? Or am I just giggling way too much over “I don't want it to sound like Communism is dead”. (Tom Stoppard, how I love you.)

1832 was a busy year, on the heels of an economic recession, plus cholera, though it comes after far busier years, really. Some of the events: The passing of the last Prince de Condé (total soap opera here!), Brussels driving away the Nassaus (the House of Orange-Nassau had been made kings of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands in 1815), Belgium offering herself to a French prince and giving herself to an English prince (not seeing this one – they took Leopold of Saxe-Coburg, whose first wife had been Princess Charlotte, George IV's only legitimate child, but she died in childbirth, which is his only direct connection to England), the Russian hatred of Nicholas (Cholera Riots?), Ferdinand in Spain (ten years of reactionary absolutism), Miguel in Portugal (Liberal Wars – really nasty), Italian Earthquake (the closest I'm finding is one in Parma in 1834 or Ischia in 1828), Bologna under Metternich (rebellion in 1831 – Austrian troops kept the peace in the Papal States at the request of the pope), Ancona (French troops sent to Ancona in 1832 in order to hinder the Austrian intervention in Bologna – wiki in French only), Poland (poor Poland – this is the November Rising), angry looks peering at France (because they had another revolution), England a suspicious ally (does anyone blame them? See Belgium), the peerage hiding behind Beccaria (Destutt de Tracy's proposal to abolish the death penalty, the timing in order to save those of Charles X's ministers accused of treason), . . . Lafayette (resigned from the government in December 1830 – only mention in French wiki), Laffitte ruined (politically, not financially - resigned from the government in May 1831), Perier (not all that dead, really – he became prime minister after Laffitte's resignation and gave up the title only when he died of cholera), social disease breaking out in two capitals of the realm (1831 in Lyon and Paris) . . . the Duchesse de Berry in the Vendée (see above re: Blaye and Deutz) . . .

Chapter 5
Fahnestock-MacAfee, what are you on this time? “cabaret” does not mean “bistro”. Different mental images there.

LOL! “One can hardly understand what they could conceal after saying what they said.”

Hugo's invocation of the Jacquerie is very much in keeping with Romantic medievalism, but it's also easily interpreted as “bloodthirsty marauding peasants”, which is why he has to explain himself.

Workers benevolent societies were a very new thing at this period – for a long time, they had been considered organisations and thus forbidden under the Le Chaplier law. However, so long as they did not collect enough dues to be able to serve as strike funds, and they were open to the bosses, they began to be tolerated, though with suspicion.

The odd list found by the carpenter:
Unity
Barra (misspelling of Bara)
Kosciusko (Aubry le Boucher is a street in Paris, so that's the address, with no name given – pay attention, Fahnestock-MacAfee!)
JJR (Jean-Jacques Rousseau, I assume)
Caius Gracchus
Droit de révision (probably here applies to the right to change the constitution – in the US constitution, the clause the deals with amendment procedure)
Fall of the Girondins
Washington (George). Pinson (may be a nickname, like Plato, rather than a surname)
Marseillaise
Souveraineté du peuple (Sovereignty of the people)
Hoche
Marceau
Varsovie (Warsaw). Tilly. (May be a reference, may just be Hugo looking for a surname to use)

I'm confused now: was double-checking working class fashion (the pistol under his “veste”), and found This phrasebook from 1823 that uses “gilet” to mean “jacket” and “veste” to mean “waistcoat”. This magazine article from 1817 has “veste à manches” and “gilet sans manches” - with and without sleeves. In any case, the guy is not wearing a smock, and he's almost certainly wearing a jacket, regardless of what the FMA translation says. But that phrasebook is confusing me. (yet it is awesome. It has colours! And hilarious dialogues about getting fitted for shoes.)

I appreciate the feeling Hugo gives of a look through fragmentary police files – it's very much as if, with the regime having fallen, he is able to get a look at what the secret police did not destroy and has pulled out the interesting bits. And then we get his analysis of the whole set. I do wonder what was going through his head as he wrote this, and what sort of research he was doing. I suspect its based more on what his comrades were doing in late 1847, as the memory would be far more recent, but I am curious.

The sibyls being prophetesses, when Hugo refers to the tables in the taverns over their cave being nearly tripods, it is directly referencing all the table-turning that was going on in Hautville House during his exile.

“demiurgic days of revolutionary chaos” - I just love this phrase.

Also, Victor, you are totally right now glorifying war, so don't blame the legitimists for it. Revolution is war – politics by means of the sword.

“We prefer progress on a smooth slope.” Yes, you do. So much so that you keep revising your opinion of revolutions after the fact while during the fact you really don't like them at all.

Chapter 6
Plot! We have plot! A whole chapter in which there are characters doing something! It almost seems out of place.

Is this really in late April 1832? The previous chapter implies it, but then Hugo gets vague with “Around this time”. All we know for sure is that it's a Wednesday because Enjolras is rather hammering it home for Courfeyrac.

So, where is everyone going?
Coufeyrac – to the École polytechnique. You can always count on the polytechniciens as long as they are not locked inside the walls.

Feuilly (of whose identity Enjolras is a little unsure) – to the Glacière. Working class quarter, right by the Gobelins manufactory (so really in Marius' neighbourhood).

Combeferre – We've already figured out there's a military hospital at Picpus, but the barrière de Picpus is noted as being in the quartier Quinze-Vingts, named for the hospital for the blind. I suspect we're just talking men who live in the area, however.

Bahorel – l'Estrapade. The place de l'Estrapade is by the Sorbonne. In the revolution of 1830, there was a depot of the Garde Royale there which was handed over to polytechniens followed by workmen. So Bahorel has students.

Prouvaire – we figured out the mason thing

Joly and Bossuet – those are decently explained in the text

And the Barrière du Maine, other than the dance halls, is near the cimetière Montparnasse, which explains the marble workers.

At what point did Marius quit coming? Because it rather looks like he quit coming in 1828 after Combeferre smacked him down. But Enjolras wouldn't hold out for four years hoping Marius would be able to help out with the marble workers at Richefeu's.

Grantaire's answer to “Do you know anything about these comrades at Richefeu's?” is really damned snarky and completely lost in English. “Pas beaucoup. Nous nous tutoyons seulement.” The best I can come up with as a translation is “Not much. We only hang out all the bloody time.” The guys here all address each other in the familiar, except Enjolras uses the formal with Feuilly – understandable in that Feuilly is a newcomer. Grantaire is saying he has that same close relationship with the guys at Richefeu's. “We're on good terms, though” doesn't begin to cover it.

I do believe Grantaire can repeat superb things for six hours, watch in hand. They won't have any meaning, but they'll sound grand. Which also makes me wonder if he really know what an Hébertiste is, or if he just knows “most radical therefore Enjolras must like”? He can't keep his constitutions straight, after all.

What is Enjolras doing look up the skirts of the future? Isn't looking up skirts Courfeyrac's job? *g*

And because literal cursing is hilarious, whoever is losing cries “Nom d'un caniche!” which is literally “Name of a poodle!”

Enjolras has to be disappointed – the real question is if he's pissed off, or if he takes responsibility for not trusting his first instincts and just walks out, shaking his head. And I still don't know. That's the problem with Enjolras – he's not shown doing much ordinary human interaction, so figuring out his ordinary human interactions is so difficult. It may also depend on where they are in the planning stages – two months out is a less pressing matter than two weeks out, after all. At this point, they don't have a date set, which is part of why they have to get out and rile up the troops so they don't lose whole division to the waiting. If that's the case, then Grantaire's failure isn't the end of the world; it just means Enjolras will have to take time tomorrow to do what should have been done today. It's not a grand screw up, just a general “he's not to be trusted”.
What kind of literature and what kind of life is the same question. - Tom Stoppard

Ulkis
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Re: 4.1 Quelques pages d'histoire 12/4/11-17/4/11

Postby Ulkis » Mon Apr 18, 2011 12:51 am

Ulkis: completely different abbeys. The one mentioned before is Villers, in Belgium; this is the Mont Saint Michel.

I, uhm, sort of go rambling. But I've googled stuff, too, so you don't have to


Heh; thanks and thanks!

Grantaire's answer to “Do you know anything about these comrades at Richefeu's?” is really damned snarky and completely lost in English. “Pas beaucoup. Nous nous tutoyons seulement.” The best I can come up with as a translation is “Not much. We only hang out all the bloody time.”


I was about to say that Denny has "Not very well but we're quite friendly" and I thought that sounded all right, but now that I read your translation is it that Grantaire's being a bit sarcastic?

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Re: 4.1 Quelques pages d'histoire 12/4/11-17/4/11

Postby MmeBahorel » Mon Apr 18, 2011 2:38 am

It has to be sarcastic. Because what Grantaire is saying is "No, I don't know much about them at all. I just am on such close terms with them that we address each other in the familiar, like you and I are doing right now."

Hugo says Marius and Courfeyrac became friends rapidly, but at his departure from the hôtel de la Porte St-Jacques, Courfeyrac is still addressing him in the "vous" form. We don't see him use the "tu" form until Marius goes to dinner with him after falling for Cosette. All the Amis address each other in the familiar, but we've been told its a longstanding friendship with these guys. So for Grantaire to be on like terms of address, particularly to have it reciprocated (because it's on both sides - we address each other in the familiar) by men who are probably of a different social class.

It's the same as saying "no, don't know them at all, I only belonged to the same frat". If you weren't being sarcastic, you'd say, "We were part of the same fraternity". It's that "seulement" that really seals it as sarcastic.
What kind of literature and what kind of life is the same question. - Tom Stoppard

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Re: 4.1 Quelques pages d'histoire 12/4/11-17/4/11

Postby between4walls » Thu Apr 21, 2011 4:07 am

Abd-el-Kadr – Algerian resistance leader. The breach of faith was the Treaty of Tafna, which gave France control of 1/3 the territory and Kader control of 2/3 of the territory. This was broken two years later when French troops crossed the line into Kader's territory.

Abd-el-Kadr would have been in the news around the time LM was written/published as he was awarded the Legion of Honor for his actions in 1860 to protect Christians, including French diplomats, from being massacred in the 1860 Lebanon conflict.
This post by his great-great-great-great nephew, a baseball blogger, gives more info, including about his time in France during the Second Republic (he was a sort of celebrity prisoner before being freed by Napoleon III).
I don't know if Hugo met him when he was in France, but he uses him as a character in Les Chatiments in the poem "Orientale" (written before the Legion-of-Honor-winning episode), the gist of which is that even though Abd-el-Kader would, as an enemy of France, appreciate Napoleon III wrecking it, he would also despise someone so treacherous and low.
Hugo's poem is in French and English here.
By the way, could someone please explain to me how to make the links go through a single word rather than the whole URL? Thanks!
Last edited by between4walls on Thu Apr 21, 2011 7:00 am, edited 1 time in total.
Here day embraces night, and says: I will die with you and you will be reborn with me. From the heavy embrace of all desolations springs faith.

The real name of devotion is disinterestedness.

Ulkis
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Re: 4.1 Quelques pages d'histoire 12/4/11-17/4/11

Postby Ulkis » Thu Apr 21, 2011 5:23 am

By the way, could someone please explain to me how to make the links go through a single word rather than the whole URL? Thanks!


[url=web address]any word[/url]

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Re: 4.1 Quelques pages d'histoire 12/4/11-17/4/11

Postby between4walls » Thu Apr 21, 2011 6:19 am

Thank you, Ulkis!
Here day embraces night, and says: I will die with you and you will be reborn with me. From the heavy embrace of all desolations springs faith.

The real name of devotion is disinterestedness.


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