4.2 Éponine 18/4/11-21/4/11

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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4.2 Éponine 18/4/11-21/4/11

Postby Frédérique » Mon Apr 18, 2011 7:59 pm

Volume 4: The Idyll in the Rue Plumet and the Epic in the Rue Saint-Denis, book 2: Éponine

Chapters:

1. Le champ de l'alouette/The field of the lark
2. Formation embryonnaire des crimes dans l'incubation des prisons/The embryonic formation of crimes in the incubation of prisons
3. Apparition au père Mabeuf/Apparition to Père Mabeuf
4. Apparition à Marius/Apparition to Marius

You can find the French text of this book here and the Hapgood English translation here.

In which Marius puts the gloomy remnants of his hope as concerns reencountering Cosette in coincidence, making his primary residence in the Field of the Lark. The captured bandits have more (or, as the case may be, less) luck, in as far the address being flung around between prison courts is that of a certain house at Rue Plumet - which in turn leads to Éponine's learning it and being able to forward it to Marius. While the latter withers away in a lovesick fever and neglects his work by consequence, Père Mabeuf sinks into material destitution first and melancholy second.

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Re: 4.2 Éponine 18/4/11-21/4/11

Postby MmeBahorel » Mon Apr 18, 2011 11:16 pm

See Marius angst. Angst, Marius, angst!

Livre II

Chapitre 1
1 (Escousses and Lebrases): Escousse et Lebras se suicidèrent après l'échec de leur drame Raymond, joué à Paris en février 1832, répétant ainsi le geste du Chatterton de Vigny.
Escousse (wiki French only) and Lebras killed themselves after the failure of their drama Raymond, put on in Paris in February 1832, repeating thus the gesture of Vigny's Chatterton.

2 (no one goes there): Sauf Balzac qui, note M. M.-F. Guyard (Les Misérables, Garnier, << Classiques Garnier >>), décrit ce lieu au début de la quatrième partie de La Femme de trente ans.
Except for Balzac who, notes Mr M-F Guyard (Les Misérables, Garnier, “Garnier Classics”), describes this place at the beginning of the fourth part of The Thirty Year Old Woman (French wiki only, with spoilers but a picture of the scene in question).

3 (shepardess of Ivry): Voir déjà II, 4, 1 et note 3. Hugo avait vu, en septembre 1827, le bourreau << répéter >> l'exécution de Louis Ulbach qui devait avoir lieu le lendemain. Ce spectacle et cette mort firent sur lui une impression profonde qui ne fut pas étrangère à la rédaction du Dernier Jour d'un condamné.
See above II, 4, 1 and note 3. Hugo had seen, in September 1827, the crowd “rehearsing” the execution of Louis Ulbach which was to take place the next day. This spectacle and this death made a profound impression on him which was not foreign to the writing of Last Day of a Condemned Man.

Chapitre 2
4 (Némorin with the daughter than Schinderhannes): Némorin : amant d'Estelle dans le roman de Florian. Schinderhannes (Jean l'Écorcheur) : chef d'une bande de voleurs, guillotiné en 1803 – figure importante de l'imaginaire sadique hugolien, dans Châtiments en particulier.
Némorin: Lover of Estelle in Florian's novel. Schinderhannes (John the Skinner): Head of a band of thieves, guillotined in 1803 – important figure in the sadistic Hugolian imagination, in Châtiment in particular.

5 (roughly sculpted with a nail): Déjà Panchaud – en III, 8, 10 (p.603) – avait de cette façon signé son nom. Le condamné du Dernier Jour... observe avec la même fascination les noms gravés sur les murs de sa cellule et Hugo, visitant la Conciergerie en septembre 1846, note soigneusement les noms et inscriptions charbonnés sur les murs avant d'écrire lui-même, au crayon, quelques vers sur un pilier – voir Choses vues, ouv. Cit., 1830-1846, p. 397-433.
Previously, Panchaud – in III, 8, 10 (p. 603 [p. 761 in Signet edition]) – had signed his name in this fashion. The condemned man in Last Day . . . observes with the same fascination the names engraved on the walls of his cell and Hugo, visiting the Conciergerie in September 1846, notes with care the names and inscriptions scratched with charcoal on to the walls before writing himself, in pencil, several verses on a pillar – see Things Seen, op. Cit., 1830-1846, p. 397-433.

6 (affiliated with Patron-minette): Le lecteur, lui, en est sûr : voir la liste des affiliés de Patron-minette en III, 7, 4.
The reader is sure of it: see the list of those affiliated with Patron-Minette in III, 7, 4.

7 (already seen the name): C'était en III, 2, 6.
It was in III, 2, 6.

Chapitre 3
8 (devils of Vauvert and goblins of Bièvre): Le château de Vauvert était hanté par les diables, croyait-on à Paris depuis le Moyen Age. La manufacture installé sur la Bièvre tire, elle, son nom de son fondateur au XVe siècle, Jehan Gobelin.
The chateau of Vauvert (French wiki only) was haunted by devils, Parisians believed since the Middle Ages. The manufactory installed on the Bièvre takes its name from its 15th century founder, Jehan Gobelin. [According to the French wiki entry, the chateau of Vauvert was crumbling after being abandoned sometime after Robert II's death in 1031. Beggars and thieves moved in during the 11th and 12th centuries, making it a veritable Court of Miracles, which is where the “devils” come from.]

Chapitre 4
9 (he took Savigny; he took Gans): Célèbre historiens et philosophes du droit, allemands, de la fin du XVIIIe-début du XIXe siècle. Hugo savait peut-être que cette querelle opposait à Gans non seulement Savigny, mais aussi Gustave Hugo.
Famous historians and philosophers of law, Germans, from the end of the 18th to the beginning of the 19th century. Hugo knew perhaps that this quarrel opposed Gans with not only Savigny but also Gustave Hugo.
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Re: 4.2 Éponine 18/4/11-21/4/11

Postby Col.Despard » Thu Apr 21, 2011 4:10 am

Thanks for all those notes, MmeBahorel - I have a sneaky little interest in 19th century murder cases, so my ears always pricked up with the d'Ivry shepherdess and her murder. Was very pleased when Marianne took us to this location, where she was working on pinpointing the boundaries of the Field of the Lark in relation to modern-day streets and landmarks. Here are a couple of photos I've uploaded to my tumblr:

Rue du Champ de l'Alouette

Place de la Bergère d’Ivry

Period print of the Rue Croulebarbe
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Re: 4.2 Éponine 18/4/11-21/4/11

Postby MmeBahorel » Sat Apr 23, 2011 6:36 pm

Book 2

Chapter 1
I still don't trust M'ame Bougon. Yes, Hugo says she suspected Marius of involvement, which should imply that she had none, but then, if her involvement was merely to look the other way while people were coming in, she could still suspect Marius, since he disappeared that very night, then came back early the next morning to move out with no forwarding address.

“On top of everything, his poverty returned.” In other words, from doing little, he returned to doing nothing but mope. But staying with Courfeyrac, he doesn't have to pay any rent. Of course he was paying so little at the Gorbeau house that it almost comes out as wash, anyway, I suppose, especially as Courfeyrac has expensive habits. I have no sympathy for him, since as a contractor, it's up to him to go out and ask for more work, but I agree with Hugo here: “nothing is more dangerous than discontinued labour; it is habit lost. A habit easy to abandon, difficult to resume.” This is the reason the unemployed feel less and less employable over time. (also why I'm going crazy at my job. I feel like I haven't worked – really worked – for so damned long that if I ever get a real job, I'll completely fail because I'll have forgotten how. It's ridiculous, but I know this feeling very, very well, and it's why I have no sympathy for Marius. If you don't tell the agency you're available, it's your own fault if you aren't working that week.)

“Man in the dreamy state is naturally prodigal and luxurious; the relaxed mind cannot lead a disciplined life.” This is really the difference between Grantaire and everyone else – he sleeps his way through life while everyone else thinks. The difference between R and Marius is that the single focus of Marius' dreams is another person (but for selfish reasons) while R's are more diffuse – Enjolras isn't his sole focus.

However, I seriously dislike Hugo's next assertion, coming after a description of the poor man, that “By continually going out for reverie, a day comes when you go out to drown yourself.” The poor who commit suicide in such numbers are generally not idle – financial pressures in times when unemployment is high, or the failure of a venture in which every thought and act were entwined, or, in the case of a lot of women, the coming baby that will just die anyway after destroying what was left of her life since her reputation was forcibly taken are the reasons for suicide, not castles in the air leading to idleness. And I look at it this way because while suicide can be the “refuge” of the bourgeois, suicides at the time were mostly working class, and crime is always associated with the working classes. The invocation of Escousse and Lebras, a couple of kids, doesn't change that I see an implication that suicides in general are the result of giving in to idle pleasures of the mind.

Ok, Victor, in the depths of Marius' angst, he finally pays attention to everything else? No wonder Enjolras thought he might show up for a meeting – he was paying attention for once! *g*

The Ruisdael Hugo is referring to is almost certainly Jacob (he had other painters in his family). Jacob van Ruisdael, unlike most Dutch Golden Age landscape artists, composed his scenes rather than painting what was actually there. This would endear him more to someone like Hugo than the strict realism of so many of his contemporaries (so I assume from Wiki, who says Goethe called him the poet among painters). He does a lot more forest glades than I'm used to from Dutch landscapes, and there's also some fake architectural ruins in there that are much more akin to early French classicists like Poussin and Claude Lorrain.

I just kind of want to smack Marius upside the head with a cluebat. He really needs it right now.

Chapter 2
This is interesting – Javert's actions at the end of III, 8, 22 imply that he knew just what was up, or at least seriously suspected it. But here, “The murder victim who escapes is more suspect than the murder; and it is probable that this person, such a precious captive to the bandits, was no less of a prize for the authorities.” The whole “it is probable”, and we're in Javert's POV here, makes it sound like he wasn't all that certain of Valjean, that his delay was less him licking his teeth and toying with his prey and more focusing on one thing to the detriment of another.

“dolt of a lawyer” is “dadais d'avocat” :)

“police judge” or “examining magistrate” is “juge d'instruction”: basically, the judiciary is in charge of the inquiry, pushed in this case by the prosecutor's office as there is no victim to press charges.

My assumption is that Kruideniers alias Bizarro is a saltimbanque (street acrobat), or former saltimbanque, based on the name. Which is kind of fascinating, one of the scariest prowlers of the barrières is a guy who stands on his hands for tips. Street performers, at this period, were beginning to be subject to more and more repressive regulations, particularly in the market towns which were their bread and butter – they'd travel from fair to fair, usually working in family groups, and literally living off the coins thrown to them by fairgoers. Unlike a circus or sideshow with an organised gate, these guys are just like the painted mimes you see in the tourist hubs today. The fact that they moved around from town to town is what associated them with the dangerous classes – they were not natives and thus were dangerous, while the local beggars were just an annoyance in comparison.

Chapter 3
Delancre: Pierre de Lancre, judge and witch-hunter in the Basque country in the early 17th century. (seriously, this is awesome)
Mutor de la Rubaudière : May not exist – French wiki finds only Hugo, and a google search and Gallica search only give me Hugo as well.

The weather is fairly accurate – the summer of 1832 was very hot and had extended periods of dry weather. We're still in spring here, but the basic idea is right.

Poor Père Mabeuf.

Chapter 4
How long has Marius had this particular assignment? Surely by now the publisher expects something! (this is sort of reminding me of the scene in Voyage where Michael starts handing out chapters to his sisters to translate for him because he hasn't gotten his translation done and the printer wants his advance returned. Only Marius has no sisters to help him out. But I am wondering if he's been eating on Courfeyrac's tab or if he's been slowly eating – and giving to Thenardier – an advance on this work he isn't doing.)

I suspect that half of how Éponine can now be found beautiful is because she's on grass on a sunny spring day – the elements that are ugly and pathetic in the middle of winter, in the grey city, will look different in the sun in a background of green.

Missing lines from Fahnestock-MacAfee, after “If I wanted to, I could make you look happy.”
“What?” asked Marius. “What do you mean?”
“Oh! You used to be more friendly!” she replied.
“Fine, what do you mean?”

The first time he asks is the first time he addresses her today, and he uses the “vous” form. She is taken aback and complains. He relents, repeating his conversation in the familiar rather than the formal. This probably contributes to her giving him the information.

Marius, you are such a doofus.

Also, I think the translation should go something closer to “Swear? What does that mean? You want me to swear what?” She's being very informal with her language all through this – not merely the obvious slang (she's been in “le bloc”), but also where FMA use “the affair”, she's really saying “the thing”. “Oh, because of the thing. These dust-ups are disagreeable.” They're trying to throw it in with dialectical elisions as well as slang, but it just doesn't quite match in places.

Poor Éponine. She's really behaving very well, considering Marius is a doofus and she isn't really properly socialised. But really, Marius, you've got to pay some attention to her as a human being. You started off addressing her in the familiar because she's below you, and she's taken it to mean a closeness you didn't intend. And you're too dense to see that. (Is that why he started out with “vous” with her this time? Hugo did say he was paying more attention to his surroundings now.)

Timeline
If Enjolras and His Lieutenants takes place around the end of April, that being the last sense of time Hugo gives and then states that this scene is taking place “around this period”, then Marius has been back with Courfeyrac for over two months. Marius' return to Courfeyrac's inner orbit makes Enjolras' statement make SO MUCH MORE SENSE I want to rearrange chapters. Sure, Marius doesn't come anymore, but he's within constant contact again and I can't call you out for not bringing him, Courfeyrac, as this action requires that each man take it up willingly, but I sort of thought you would bring him, which is why I was counting on him to go to Richefeu's!

I am, however, running into issues with the gang. Everyone was arrested February 3 – that is canon. Éponine was picked up after, let's say a day or two later, as it couldn't have been much beyond it. So she gets out two weeks after that, let's say she's estimating on the two weeks, puts her out around the 20th of February. In mid-February, Brujon was discovered to have sent his initial messages; a week after that is when he sends the note into Ireland and goes into solitary for it. It will take at least a few days to get that note to Magnon, which in my reading of this, would have to push it to after the two weeks Éponine was in – Magnon can't have been waiting for her to come out AND have the message.

If we say “mid-February” means the 10 (which is pushing it – Hugo says “vers la deuxième quinzaine”, towards the second half – but we have to estimate something), then the message goes into Ireland on the 17 or 18 (since it was about a week after Kruideniers, Glorieux, and Barrecarrosse got picked up, having received their messages), which is really pushing it to get to Babet, la Salpetrière, and Magnon before Éponine gets out on the 19 or 20. It barely works if it goes into Ireland on the 17th and Éponine gets released on the 20th. Anything else is cutting it too fine, and I think starting the process as early as the 10th is not quite what Hugo was intending, particularly if the three were not arrested immediately upon the discovery of Brujon's messages but had a couple of days in there to throw off this very timeline.

And I think the timeline will get even more screwed up with the next book.
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Re: 4.2 Éponine 18/4/11-21/4/11

Postby Aurelia Combeferre » Sun Apr 24, 2011 3:15 am

I find the entire thing of Éponine being "underaged" quite interesting in this chapter. So how old is she really now at this point?
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Re: 4.2 Éponine 18/4/11-21/4/11

Postby Majestic_Picnob » Sun Apr 24, 2011 3:46 am

Well, she's sixteen when Marius first meets her. How much time has passed at this point?
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Re: 4.2 Éponine 18/4/11-21/4/11

Postby MmeBahorel » Sun Apr 24, 2011 4:19 am

This is April 1832. Hugo is actually reasonably specific on this one (it's at least 8 weeks, probably closer to 9 weeks, after the robbery which happened on 3 February, and he does go on to describe the rue Plumet garden in April since that's when Marius and Éponine will turn up there). In spring 1818, Éponine is about 2 and a half (so born in 1815). So she's two months from turning 17.

A person could write angsty fic about how she got death for her birthday.
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Re: 4.2 Éponine 18/4/11-21/4/11

Postby Aurelia Combeferre » Sun Apr 24, 2011 4:41 am

@MmeBahorel: Poor Éponine. That age issue would make a difference should I ever choose to rewrite "A Thenardier's Redemption"---that would mean she could really earn a stay in Saint-Lazare for some of her antics in that fic.

Just noticed your "location", Majestic_Picnob. I love it. Miss those "Legends of the Hidden Temple" days.
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Re: 4.2 Éponine 18/4/11-21/4/11

Postby Ulkis » Sun Apr 24, 2011 4:27 pm

(Is that why he started out with “vous” with her this time? Hugo did say he was paying more attention to his surroundings now.)


Interesting point. I imagine it could be also that he's subconsciously (or not so subconsciously) still holding a grudge against her because he gave her his five francs and then ended up not being able to follow Cosette and Valjean in the carriage. And of course he probably thinks she majorly shady now. (Which she kind of is.) From his POV even if she wasn't involved in that plot who knows what else she's been up to.


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