4.11 L'atome fraternise avec l'ouragan 30/5/11-4/6/11

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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4.11 L'atome fraternise avec l'ouragan 30/5/11-4/6/11

Postby Frédérique » Mon May 30, 2011 6:29 pm

Volume 4: The Idyll in the Rue Plumet and the Epic in the Rue Saint-Denis, book 11: The atom fraternises with the hurricane

Chapters:

1. Quelques éclaircissements sur les origines de la poésie de Gavroche. Influence d'un académicien sur cette poésie/Some explanations on the origins of Gavroche's poetry. Influence of an Académicien on said poetry.
2. Gavroche en marche/Gavroche on the march
3. Juste indignation d'un perruquier/Rightful indignation of a hairdresser
4. L'enfant s'étonne du vieillard/The child is amazed at the old man
5. Le vieillard/The old man
6. Recrues/Recruits

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

In which Gavroche, Mabeuf, a mysterious freckled young artisan (looking for Marius) and an even more mysterious man of lofty stature join the Amis on their march towards the barricade/s.

And this read-through will breach "Corinthe" on June 5, it seems :D

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Re: 4.11 L'atome fraternise avec l'ouragan 30/5/11-4/6/11

Postby Ulkis » Mon May 30, 2011 9:20 pm

Wow, Dennys called this book "The Straw in the Wind".

And this read-through will breach "Corinthe" on June 5, it seems


:)

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Re: 4.11 L'atome fraternise avec l'ouragan 30/5/11-4/6/11

Postby MmeBahorel » Tue May 31, 2011 3:04 am

Denny randomly makes the weirdest stuff up.

Book 11

Chapter 1
1 (Baour-Lormian): Ce vénérable académicien (1770-1854) avait été, du temp du Conservateur littéraire, une des cibles préférée du jeune Hugo et vota toujours contre lui à l'Académie. Il avait été surnommé << Balourd dormant >>.
This venerable academician (1770-1854) had been, at the time of the Conservateur Littéraire [wiki French only; was Hugo's short-lived publication], one of the preferred targets of young Hugo and always voted against him at the Academy. He was nicknamed "Sleeping Oaf".

Chapter 4
2 (para bellum): << Si vis pacem para bellum >> : << Si tu veux la paix, prépare la guerre >>, dit le proverbe latin.
"Si vis pacem para bellum": "If you want peace, prepare for war," says the Latin proverb.
What kind of literature and what kind of life is the same question. - Tom Stoppard

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Re: 4.11 L'atome fraternise avec l'ouragan 30/5/11-4/6/11

Postby Ulkis » Tue May 31, 2011 7:11 pm

Denny randomly makes the weirdest stuff up.


It's especially shocking for me even though I know he does that because I've been thinking of the titles in a certain way for so long. Oh, Denny.

I don't often reread the barricade chapters so I'm looking forward to rereading it and this was a fun one to rediscover. Gavroche and Courfeyrac were definitely the stars.

The quartet of 'old biddies' amused me. There are an awful lot of meddlesome old ladies in Les Misérables, aren't there? I don't think Hugo is particularly complimentary towards even one but I am fond of all of them (except mme Victurnien and even then I'd say I'm interested in her, because her malice is so human and mundane).

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Re: 4.11 L'atome fraternise avec l'ouragan 30/5/11-4/6/11

Postby MmeBahorel » Sun Jun 05, 2011 1:03 am

Chapter 1
laburnum/faux-ébénier – specifically, Common laburnum (Laburnum anagyroides)

Gav steals a pistolet d'arçon (wiki French only), assigned to light cavalry, from about 1801 to 1819 if I'm reading wiki correctly. There's a picture.

“a sprite and a devil” / If you want to read about sprites: farfadets. “devil” is galopin[/url], which is defined as “[i]Petit garçon quelconque qui a donné un sujet de mécontentement". Little boy who has pissed you off.

“it seemed that for three months, he had been a printer's apprentice.” This interests me. Gav is eleven or so, probably going to turn twelve later in the year. Apprentices were generally placed under a master by their family, and they generally began around the age of 12. Moreover, it was expected that the family would pay something to the master, as the master was providing room, board, and training to the kid for a period of 4-6 years, depending on the trade, and some trades also required a cost for the brevet, the license one received after completing the apprenticeship. Printing is one of them. So either Gav cleaned up his act enough that someone took pity on him until he relapsed, or someone else cleaned up his act enough to get Gav placed with someone – and in both cases, one has to ask “why?” To make this make sense, there's a whole story here Hugo didn't tell. The orphanages had trouble placing their children in apprenticeships; what makes Gav so special? Alternately, Hugo isn't thinking this through, and stating that Gav had spent any time at all as an apprentice is yet another softening of the character – that look, he managed to spend three months doing honest work, that's far better than most of these violent ragamuffins you see swarming the streets.

“ten or twelve weeks had gone by” since Gav had picked up and lost his mômes. Uhm, no. 8 at the absolutely most. Hugo was obviously not constructing a timeline to write this novel.

Hugo's twisting Gavroche in two directions in this chapter. He tries to keep him innocent by linking him with nature, and childish in his anger at missing out on a pastry (notably it's a pastry shop, not a bakery, so we're looking at a treat rather than a meal, though they are one and the same), but then he is also the representative of the crowd from the previous chapter. Hugo has taken his history and now he starts a new book drilling down to the level of a single character. And that character is a softened version of a very frightening sort of person, indeed. Not much softened, but enough, from his previous appearances in the novel, for the reader to know as an individual he is not dangerous.

Chapter 2
And by helping the lancer, we are to know that despite how politically radical his language, Gavroche actually doesn't know what he's saying and he's the sort of boy we don't have to fear, not like that real people who subvert law and order. Hugo doesn't actually like the subversion of law and order, and I think we see that particularly in the way he uses Gavroche. The really radical stuff he spews at bourgeois and concierges is softened by actions such as helping the lancer. And when he says something leftist but kind, rather than subversive of law and order as general concepts, that can also be acknowledged. Soliloquizing over the ragpicker, “it's so you'll have more good things to eat in your basket”, is one and the same with telling the dog, “My poor bow-wow”.

Chapter 3
The old soldier was at many of the same battles as Pontmercy: Austerlitz in 05, Friedland in 07, and then Moscow and its retreat, plus Waterloo. The barber's “how wonderful to die on the battlefield”, combined with this conversation about the Emperor and overlapping battles with Pontmercy, may be a foreshadowing of Marius' fate.

Chapter 4
I'm not a gun authority, but Cary might be able to explicate further if anyone is curious about the weaponry that is mentioned.
fusil de chasse à deux coups – double-barreled shotgun
fusil de garde national, deux pistolets – I have no idea which rifle they were supposed to purchase at this time. If they were to have military-grade weapons, probably this infantry rifle. We know nothing about the pistols.
mousqueton de cavalerie – cavalry musket (1816 and 1822 models pictured here; text in French])
carabine – rifled; in English usage, a carbine is a rifled long gun that is shorter than a rifle or a musket.

I have to LOL at both Courfeyrac for his unsheathed sword-stick and Feuilly for shouting “Vive la Pologne!” in the middle of a revolution.

Is this the first time we see Gav in their company? We learn later that he's known to them, since Navet introduces himself as a friend of Gav's, but if this is the first time, what we're seeing is a student who is essentially saying “what the hell, come with us” to a strange street kid.

“flock” - ouailles; “geese” - oies (and that permission has been up now for about six weeks after Easter. I'm a little surprised it hasn't been torn down or pasted over with something else. I know, Hugo doesn't care about his timeline and wanted a good excuse to have Bahorel making anti-clerical puns to go with everything else.)

Is the man with the black beard one of the unnamed guys from the café? We found one!

From closing down to one, Gavroche, we've now expanded to take in other characters and a more general historical turn (with the description of the crowd).

Chapter 5
Geographically, we keep building toward Saint-Merry; thematically, we're in movement. All of our characters are on the march, but we're also refining just what we're at. There has been violence; there will be more; we are moving toward it; we are moving toward a more definite goal than just “down with everything the bourgeoisie likes” (thus the swipe at Bahorel's anti-clericalism).

I don't really understand why we get so much of Gav's song. The references are to Paris suburbs, but I really don't get the point of having the whole thing. There's no obvious thematic connection, not like when he's riffing on the Marseillaise at the bourgeois.

Chapter 6
Ok, Courfeyrac keeps a box the size of a large suitcase hidden in his dirty laundry. How much dirty laundry does he keep around? LOL

I <3 Courfeyrac. I can't help it. He's sorta being a dick to the poor concierge, but it's Courfeyrac, so he's all charming and good-tempered about it and thus it doesn't come off like a dickish move (not like Combeferre singing loudly behind Marius' back).

He addresses Éponine in the familiar; he addresses his concierge in the formal. There is a class difference between the concierge and the manual labourer, so it makes sense that Éponine and Gavroche both get the familiar, which can also be the contemptuous, but I wonder if there's something of youth in his choice of address as well. The young people he is on terms with; his concierge, he treats with the respect due her age. (Of course he uses the formal with M. Mabeuf, but that's to be expected in addressing an elder stranger of his same social class despite the economic difference. With the concierge and Éponine, we have two working class characters, one who has benefit of respect through formal address, and one who does not.)

And then we carry past our seeming goal of Saint-Merry in order to differentiate our fiction from the historical reality already described.

The whole book is rather cinematic - we're really following Gav with our camera through the streets of Paris, everything coming together to us, in a sense, rather than us going to it. We are the centre, but we are moving. And because we are moving, we go straight past history (Saint-Merry) into fiction.
What kind of literature and what kind of life is the same question. - Tom Stoppard

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Re: 4.11 L'atome fraternise avec l'ouragan 30/5/11-4/6/11

Postby Ulkis » Sun Jun 05, 2011 3:51 am

Is this the first time we see Gav in their company? We learn later that he's known to them, since Navet introduces himself as a friend of Gav's, but if this is the first time, what we're seeing is a student who is essentially saying “what the hell, come with us” to a strange street kid.


It's interesting that none of them really seem to care that he's there; so many of the films are like nooooo get outta here kid when really they were just like sure let's go.


I <3 Courfeyrac. I can't help it. He's sorta being a dick to the poor concierge, but it's Courfeyrac, so he's all charming and good-tempered about it and thus it doesn't come off like a dickish move (not like Combeferre singing loudly behind Marius' back).


I don't even think he's being that dickish, cause it sounds like he's told her this before. I wonder though how she even knows he ever went by de Courfeyrac in the first place.

(Speaking of which, here's a clip of that scene, from a film which I am reluctant to write the year because I'm paranoid about the clips being taken down.)

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Re: 4.11 L'atome fraternise avec l'ouragan 30/5/11-4/6/11

Postby MmeBahorel » Sun Jun 05, 2011 3:55 am

I think Daddy (M. de Courfeyrac) pays the bills - and sends any letters addressed to his son with his real name on them, so of course Mère Veuvain knows that her lodger is M. de Courfeyrac fils.

I see it as potentially dickish because she's so taken aback by the whole thing. Depending on the circumstances, and with someone less charming and awesome than Courfeyrac, it could be a dick move. But it is Courfeyrac, so it's isn't really. But it could be. Thus the "sorta" in my poorly phrased comment.
What kind of literature and what kind of life is the same question. - Tom Stoppard

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Re: 4.11 L'atome fraternise avec l'ouragan 30/5/11-4/6/11

Postby Ulkis » Sun Jun 05, 2011 4:51 am

No, it wasn't poorly phrased, I knew you only meant he was partially dickish :) but Hugo loving his grouchy old biddies I figured Veuvain was probably supposed to be cranky at him, heh.

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Re: 4.11 L'atome fraternise avec l'ouragan 30/5/11-4/6/11

Postby Maria Combeferre » Sun Jun 05, 2011 10:26 am

I think Courfeyrac might just be all worked up over the revolution finally happening and everything, and then someone goes shooting the bloody particle at him. Maybe it has nothing to do with being a dick, he just want's to put an end to this discussion ones and for all.

And Combeferre's song being a dickish move? That's a fresh take.
It's easier to be odd or crazy or insane than to hurt all the time.

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Re: 4.11 L'atome fraternise avec l'ouragan 30/5/11-4/6/11

Postby MmeBahorel » Sun Jun 05, 2011 2:23 pm

I adore Combeferre - I would marry Combeferre if I had the opportunity - but that doesn't mean he's flawless. And whether or not Combeferre led the mass exodus (it isn't stated, but someone had to stand up and walk out first, so it could be any of them), singing in the hallway as a final, semi-anonymous smackdown behind Marius' back but so he can hear it is not really a nice move.

The last major riot-y demonstration was in September in support of textile workers, then a couple days later in support of Poland, plus they would have spent the end of November/beginning of December monitoring events in Lyon. There was a rag-pickers riot in April 1832, but that seems less likely for the boys to be involved with; at the same time, the SAP revolt in Sainte-Pélagie. I can see your point on "finally happening" as the last likely action was the riots in September and it's now June, but there has been fairly frequent action all through the post-Trois Glorieuses period. Which brings it to a matter of interpretation - I see "yay, we're going out again, and if this doesn't work, we'll go out again after that", while I suspect you see "yay, we're finally going out again, this time it's for real, why are you interrupting, concierge".

It's all interp because Hugo isn't giving us the tone of voice or whether or not there's any eye-rolling for these statements. I see no real need for the "or I'll call you Mère de Veuvain" part, and she seems absolutely taking aback or confused, as he then has to hurry her along (or he's choosing to hurry her along, which depending on tone, could come across as less than Courfeyrac's usual charming self). Yes, he's in a hurry, but he bothers to stop to correct her, not in the most polite manner. It's all in the tone whether or not Mère Veuvain feels ill-treated at the end of this interaction; if she does, he was a bit of a dick. If she doesn't, no harm, no foul.
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Re: 4.11 L'atome fraternise avec l'ouragan 30/5/11-4/6/11

Postby Maria Combeferre » Sun Jun 05, 2011 3:56 pm

All right, I recant. It was just an idea, and not a one that I'd spent so much time on thinking through.
It's easier to be odd or crazy or insane than to hurt all the time.

Be who you are and say what you mean. Because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.

God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail.

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Re: 4.11 L'atome fraternise avec l'ouragan 30/5/11-4/6/11

Postby Ulkis » Sun Jun 05, 2011 7:32 pm

You don't have to recant, no one's yelling for having a difference of opinion.

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Re: 4.11 L'atome fraternise avec l'ouragan 30/5/11-4/6/11

Postby Col.Despard » Mon Jun 06, 2011 5:12 am

One of the things I love about Courfeyrac is that his irreverance extends to all, and he seems to love bantering with women of all ages. In the Corinthe, we get his...rather strange way of consoling Madame Houcheloup, which reads to me like more Courfeyrac banter. He's just thoroughly ready to laugh at everything- Marius' landlady's moustache, Mlle Lenoir and M. Leblanc, Marius as Monsieur l'Abbé....and on that morning, he's so thoroughly whipped up he is SO not tolerating anyone using his particle, but I'm still fairly confident that it was the usual teasing, mocking, getting-a-rise-at-every-chance Courfeyrac. If she's not used to it by now, she should be - it's Courfeyrac. Can't imagine him saying it in a snarky way...I can almost hear his delivery in my head.

I like to think he has a massive pile of laundry in his room because the lad does love his clothes.

And did he stop to pick up a cravat at this point? Wasn't the a reference to them being bare-necked in the rain? Either he kept his cravat (possible) or he picks one up along with the at and cartridges (also possible).
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Re: 4.11 L'atome fraternise avec l'ouragan 30/5/11-4/6/11

Postby Maria Combeferre » Mon Jun 06, 2011 3:13 pm

Whatever his flaws I just don't see Combeferre as being that petty (although, I guess that if were to be touchy about something (which I'm sure he was, btw, he's the mean I admire and respect most in the world, but he's not an angel) it would have to be the Republic in the top five, wouldn't it?). He's annoyed at Marius, yes. Extremely so, and most likely he did lead the exodus. But I always felt that was a sort of "I'm not listening to any more of this blasphemy" or "I need to get some air and cool down" thing. The song I think was more self asserting then mean. He sings to himself, and his friends, not about to hold his peace anymore (like some people get that overwhelming need to curse upon leaving a church, making up for their resent piety. OK, bad parable, but still.). If he does think to direct it to Marius at all, which is something I had never considered before, it would more likely be meant as a parting argument, tossed over his shoulder. And if they were to sing something to pick at Marius, did they really know no songs that make fun of Napoleon that they had to resort to glorifying the Republic as a jerk around?

As for Courfeyrac, he really do enjoy teasing Marius, there can be no doubting that, and I can definitely see him being snarky and throwing punches below the belt . But only really when his arguing with some bloody royalist or something, not to his old concierge and certainly not for better reason than for using the particle. Unless he has a REALLY bad day. Then a man who tried it might be walking away with a bloody nose. But just like that. No.

MmeBahorel wrote:Which brings it to a matter of interpretation - I see "yay, we're going out again, and if this doesn't work, we'll go out again after that", while I suspect you see "yay, we're finally going out again, this time it's for real, why are you interrupting, concierge".

Exactly. I would never have thought to imagine them marching to the barricades in frustration, half-expecting to fail.


And I expect I was being overly sensitive yesterday, I was having a rather bad moment right then.
It's easier to be odd or crazy or insane than to hurt all the time.

Be who you are and say what you mean. Because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.

God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail.


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