4.12 Corinthe 5/6/11-12/6/11

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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4.12 Corinthe 5/6/11-12/6/11

Postby Charlette-Ollie » Sun Jun 05, 2011 10:51 am

Volume 4: The Idyll of the Rue Plumet and the Epic of the Rue Saint-Denis, book 12: Corinthe

Chapters:

1. Histoire de Corinthe depuis sa fondation/History of Corinthe from its foundation
2. Gaîtés préalables/Preliminary gaieties
3. La nuit commence à se faire sur Grantaire/Night begins to fall on Grantaire
4. Essai de consolation sur la veuve Hucheloup/An attempt at consoling Widow Hucheloup
5. Les préparatifs/Preparations
6. En attendant/While waiting
7. L'homme recruté rue des Billettes/The man recruited in the Rue de Billettes
8. Plusieurs points d'interrogation à propos d'un nommé Le Cabuc qui ne se nommait peut-être pas Le Cabuc/Several question marks regarding a man named Le Cabuc who was perhaps not Le Cabuc

Here we get a brief background on the wine shop Corinthe. Laigle, Joly and Grantaire have breakfast, then they decide to have the barricade built in the rue de la Chanvrerie.

The barricades arise!

Javert gets ratted out, and 'Le Cabuc'/Claquesous is killed by Enjolras after he shoots a porter.

Happy Barricade Day, everybody :D I hope you all get the spare time to do a little bit of reading/revolting/eating barricake.

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Re: 4.12 Corinthe 5/6/11-12/6/11

Postby Ulkis » Wed Jun 08, 2011 11:29 pm

I hope you all get the spare time to do a little bit of reading/revolting/eating barricake.


Mmm, barricake.

My totally random observations on this book:

I find it amusing that wine is supposed to be the gentle drunkenness or what have you. Nothing gives me a worse hangover than too much red wine, bleh.

Totally forgot about Claquesous being Le Cabuc. How very random.

Javert, perhaps don't bring your ID with you to the barricade next time? So, all joking aside, did Javert admit the truth right away because he is honorable, or because he didn't think he could get away with it? Because if it wasn't the latter, surely he could have tried to extend the cover just a bit longer.

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Re: 4.12 Corinthe 5/6/11-12/6/11

Postby MmeBahorel » Thu Jun 09, 2011 4:13 am

I finally bring notes!

Livre 12

Chapitre 1
1 (by the Saint-Merry barricade): Ceci est une dénégation, c'est-à-dire un aveu, du principe de transposition signalé à la note 22 du livre précédent.
Pourquoi ce nom de Corinthe ? Hugo s'est peut-être souvenu de la destruction de cette ville d'art et de luxe par Sparte en 244 avant J.-C., puis par Rome. Elle était le sujet de l'opéra de Rossini, Le Siège de Corinte, représenté en 1826, et qu'Ymbert Gallois, dans la lettre reproduite par Littérature et Philosophie mêlées (volume Critique), décrit comme l'un des rares moments d'<< extase >> de sa vie.

This is a denial, that is to say a confession, of the principle of transposition signaled by note 22 of the preceding book. [meaning book 10, obviously – the note on Jeanne]
Why this name of Corinth? Hugo perhaps remembered the destruction of this city of art and luxury by Sparta in 244 BC, then by Rome. It was the subject of Rossini's opera The Siege of Corinth, performed in 1826, and that Ymbert Gallois, in the letter reproduced by Literature and Philosophy Mixed (volume Criticism), describes as one of the rare moments of “ecstasy” of his life.

2 (a poor lover who hanged himself): Ces deux vers sont de Saint-Amant (La Solitude, 85-88) et non de Théophile et leur décor n'est pas le cabaret Corinthe, mais un château en ruine.
These two verses are by Saint-Amant (Solitude, 85-88) and not by Théophile and their setting is not the Corinth tavern but a ruined castle.

3 (CARPE HO RAS): << Cueille les heures. >> Horace (Odes, I, 11) avait dit : << Carpe diem >> : << Cueille le jour. >> Le trajet suivi par l'inscription, du français au latin, est exactement l'inverse à celui suivi par l'inscription gravée dans Notre-Dame de Paris, << Tu ora >> (<< Toi, prie >>) devenu << Trou aux rats >>.
“Grasp the hours.” Horace (Odes, I, 11) had said: “Carpe diem”: “Grasp the day”. The trajectory followed by the inscription, from French to Latin, is exactly the inverse of the one followed by the engraved inscription in Notre-Dame de Paris, “Tu ora” (“You, pray”) become “Hole of rats”.

4 (eat if you dare): Corneille avait écrit, dans Héraclius : << Devine si tu peux et choisis si tu l'oses. >>
Corneille had written, in Heraclius: “Guess if you can and choose if you dare”.

Chapitre 2
5 (bini): Frère chapeau : religieux laïque, portant donc chapeau et non capuchon, attaché au service d'un père de son ordre. C'est pourquoi ils vont par deux : bini.
Brother Hat: lay friar, wearing therefore a hat and not a hood, attached to the service of a father of his order. It's why the go in twos: bini.

6 (Oysters): Comme on lui faisait remarquer qu'on ne mange pas d'huîtres en juin, Hugo répondit : << C'est une bourriche qui restait du mois précédent >>, et maintint son texte.
As it was remarked to him that one doesn't eat oysters in June, Hugo responded: “It's a hamper left from the previous month” and kept his text. [This doesn't really help, as the saying is “Only eat oysters in months with an R” - they spawn from May to August – so one shouldn't be eating oysters in May, either. It's really an example of Hugo saying “I don't care if it's wrong; I want it this way, dammit”]

7 (abbé Lebeuf): Du Breul et Sauval sont les principales sources documentaires de Notre-Dame de Paris, avec l'abbé Lebeuf, auteur d'une Histoire du diocèse de Paris (1754-1758).
Du Breul and Sauval are the principal documentary sources for Notre-Dame de Paris, with the abbé Lebeuf, author of a History of the Paris Diocese (1754-1758).

8 (the fat public bookshop): La Bibliothèque royale, aujourd'hui Bibliothèque nationale.
The Royal Library, today the National Library.

9 (Vae victis): << Malheur aux vaincus ! >> (Tite-Live, Histoire romaine, V, 48.)
“Misfortune to the vanquished!” (Livy, Roman History, V, 48.)

10 (blow of a comet): L'apparition d'une comète avait précédé l'assassinat de César par Brutus.
The appearance of a comet had preceded the assassination of Caesar by Brutus.

11 (1811 comet): Souvenir d'enfance de V. Hugo, alors en Espagne – voir Victor Hugo raconté..., ouv. Cit., p. 221, et Les Chants du crépuscule, V, Napoléon II. Victor Hugo revit cette comète à Waterloo : << 3 juillet (1861). Mont-Saint-Jean. A dix heures du soir, vu la comète. Un paysan disait en la regardant terrifiée : “Elle est vivante !” >> (Carnet, éd. J. Massin, t. XII, p. 1536.)
Childhood memory of Victor Hugo, from Spain – see Victor Hugo Recounted . . . , op. Cit., p. 221 and Songs of Twilight, V, Napoleon II. Victor Hugo saw this comet again at Waterloo: “3 July (1861). Mont-Saint-Jean. At ten o'clock in the evening, saw the comet. A peasant said, watching it terrified, 'It's alive!'” (Notebook, ed. J. Massin, vol. XII, p. 1536.) [These are different comets: C/1811 F1 and C/1861 J1.]

12 (Tymbraeus Apollo): << Apollon Timbré. >> Thymbrée, en Troade, avait un temple d'Apollon, dieu de la poésie, si l'on en croit Virgile (Géorgiques, IV, 323).
“Apollo Thymbraios”. Thymbra, in the Troad, had a temple to Apollo, god of poetry, if one believes Virgil (Georgics, IV, 323).

Chapitre 3
13 (three casks): Comme le fait remarquer Y. Gohin (Les Misérables, éd. << Folio >>), l'étymologie populaire faisait de barrique l'origine du mot barricade.
As was remarked by Y. Gohin (Les Misérables, ed. “Folio”), the popular etymology made of barrique [barrel or cask] the origin of the word “barricade”. [This etymology turns up in Littré's 1872 dictionary and is implied in the definition given by the first dictionary of the Académie française in 1694 - “type of retrenchment ordinarily made of barrels of earth, for defense, to give cover from the enemy”.]

14 (Non licet omnibus adire Corinthum): Vers d'Horace (Épitres, I, 17) passé à l'état de proverbe : << Il n'est pas permis à tous d'aller à Corinthe. >> Le texte en offre un démenti puisque tout le personnel du roman – Cosette et Thénardier exceptés – se retrouve sur la barricade.
Verse by Horace (Epistles, I, 17) passed into the state of a proverb: “It is not permitted to everyone to go to Corinth.” The text offers in refutation nearly all the characters in the novel – Cosette and Thénardier excepted – meeting on the barricade.

15 (because I could never understand mathematics): Léopold Hugo en mettant ses fils à la pension Cordier en février 1815 les destinait à l'École polytechnique. Victor avait nourri pour les mathématiques toute l'opposition violente qu'il ne pouvait exprimer à son père : voir A propos d'Horace (Les Contemplations, I, 13) :
J'étais alors en proie à la mathématique.
Le caractère autobiographique de ce passage est confirmé par la réplique de Grantaire : << Je suis capitoul et maître ès jeux floraux >> : Victor Hugo avait reçu le Lys d'or en 1819 et, l'année suivante, avait été nommé << maître ès jeux floraux >> par l'académie de Toulouse.

Leopold Hugo in sending his sons to the pension Cordier in February 1815 destined them for the Ecole Polytechnique. Victor had nourished a violent opposition to mathematics that he could never express to his father: see A propos d'Horace (Contemplations, I, 13):
I was thus tortured by mathematics.
The autobiographical character of this passage is confirmed by Grantaire's reply: “I am capitoul and Master of Floral Games”: Victor Hugo had received the Golden Lily in 1819 and, the following year, was named “Master of Floral Games” by the academy of Toulouse.

Chapitre 4
16 (Mother Gibou's tea): Une farce representée aux Variétés le 20 février 1832, Gibou et madame Pochet ou Le Thé chez la ravaudeuse avait eu un succès colossal. Le clou de la pièce était l'absorption d'un thé fait de vinaigre, huile, poivre, oeuf, farine, etc. de sorte que << le thé de Madame Gibou >> était vite devenu une expression proverbiale pour désigner tout salmigondis, culinaire ou non.
A farce presented at the Variétés 20 February 1832, Gibou and Madame Pochet or The Tea with the Mending Woman, had been a colossal success. The main attraction of the play was the absorption of a tea made of vinegar, oil, pepper, egg, flour, etc. so that “Madame Gibou's tea” had quickly become a proverbial expression to designate any salmagundy, culinary or otherwise.

Chapitre 5
17 (Folard): Déjà cité en II, 1, 5, écrivain militaire auteur d'une Dissertation sur Polybe et d'un Traité de la défense des places.
Already cited in II, 1, 5, military writer, author of a Dissertation on Polybius and a Treatise on the Defense of Places.

Chapitre 7
18 (searched): Histoire d'un crime rapporte deux événement semblables, l'un vécu par Hugo dans la journée du 4 décembre 1851. << Comme j'allais sortir de la barricade Pagevin, on m'a amené un prisonnier, “un mouchard”, disait-on. Il s'attendait à être fusillé. Je l'ai fait mettre en liberté. >> L'autre, voisin, rapporté dans les notes annexes à l'ouvrage : << On finit par trouver sa carte d'agent de police dans le fond de sa culotte. Un enfant indigné lui tire un coup de pistolet qui rate. […] >> (éd. J. Massin, t. VIII, p. 171 et 291.)
History of a Crime records two similar events, one lived by Hugo on the day of 4 December 1851. “As I was leaving the Pagevin barricade, they brought me a prisoner, “an informer”, they said. He was waiting to be shot. I set him free.” The other, related, recorded in the notes annexed to the work: “We finish by finding his police agent card in the bottom of his trousers. An indignant child pulled the trigger on him, but it misfired. . . .” (ed. J. Massin, vol. VIII, p. 171 and 291.)

19 (I want the clarinet): Paroles entendu par V. Hugo sur une barricade, dans la nuit du 4 décembre 1851 : << Il y aurait des musiciens, mais il n'y a pas de clarinette. >> (Histoire d'un crime, IV, 2, volume Histoire.)
Words heard by V. Hugo on a barricade, the night of 4 December 1851: “There would be musicians, but there is no clarinet.” (History of Crim, IV, 2, volume History.)

Chapitre 8
20 (there will no longer be a Michael): Saint Michel est l'archange qui chasse Adam et Ève du Paradis.
Saint Michael is the archangel who chased Adam and Eve from Paradise.
What kind of literature and what kind of life is the same question. - Tom Stoppard

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Re: 4.12 Corinthe 5/6/11-12/6/11

Postby MmeBahorel » Sun Jun 12, 2011 11:44 pm

Chapter 1
Mathurin Régnier – 16th century satirist

Natoire – Rococo painter

Hucheloup: Derivation is Le verbe huchier signifiant en ancien français appeler à haute voix, le patronyme Hucheloup a dû être un surnom pour celui qui crie au loup, qui ameute les chasseurs. Le nom est porté en Normandie (76) et dans l'Yonne. The verb “huchier” means in Old French “to call out at the top of one's lungs”, the surname Hucheloup must have been a nickname for the one who cries wolf, who draws in the hunters. The name is carried in Normandy and in the Yonne.

It's interesting that Hugo refers to Corinth here as the haunt of “Courfeyrac and his friends” when it was first mentioned as a meeting place for the Amis in general, of whom Enjolras is the leader. And while Bossuet says they keep going there after Hucheloup's death “out of pity”, it's eminently plausible that as custom fell off with the decline in the cooking, it became an even safer meeting point. The citation of Courfeyrac both prepares the reader for a scene of good-fellowship rather than a more taut revolutionary ship and asserts Courfeyrac's primacy in the organization. R found the place, but it's a haunt of “Courfeyrac and his friends”.

Matelote (or matelotte – translated by FMA as Chowder) – Manière d'apprêter le poisson passé au roux et cuit avec un peu d'eau, du vin, sel, poivre, et farine frite. On coupe le poisson par tronçons, soit barbillon, carpe, ou anguille. On les met avec huit ou dix écrevisses sans être blanchies, dont on ôte les pattes ; on ajoute des petits oignons blanchis, cuits à moitié, des champignons coupés en gros dès ; on fait un petit roux avec de la farine et du beurre qu'on mouille avec du bouillon ; on met par-dessus le poisson qui doit être rangé dans une casserole, avec petit ognons, champignons, bouquets de fines herbes ; on y ajoute du vin rouge, sel, poivre, un morceau de beurre ; on fait cuire à grand feu, et on sert après avoir mis des croûtes frites.

Gibelotte (translated by FMA as Fricassee) – préparation qui suppose toujours qu'une chose a été dépecée. Autrefois le mot gibelotte était synonyme de capilotade, mais l'usage ne s'en est conservé qu'à l'égard du lapin et de l'oiseau de ferme.
Gibelotte de lapin en l'ancien mode – Coupez un lapin en morceaux, et une moyenne anguille en tronçons ; faites un roux et, lorsqu'il est de belle couleur, passez-y du lapin avec les tronçons d'anguille, des champignons, et des petits ognons ; quand le tout est bien revenu, mouillez avec un tiers de vin blanc et deux tiers de bouillon ; assaisonnez de sel et poivre, persil, ciboules, et thym ; ôtez les tronçons d'anguille et les ognons ; faites cuire à grand feu ; lorsque le mouillement sera réduit à un tiers, remettezz les tronçons d'anguille et les ognons ; achevez à petit feu et dégraissez la sauce.


Chapter 2
OMG, FMA cut a line that practically proves the slash! “Les deux amis vivaient ensemble, mangaient ensemble, dormaient ensembles. Tout leur était commun, même un peu Musichetta.” The two friends lived together, ate together, slept together. They held everything in common, even Musichetta a bit. That first sentence (with the all-important “slept together” phrase) is not in FMA.

They also leave out something interesting. Joly was suffering from a bad cold according to them; according to Hugo, he “avait un fort coryza” - coryza being the technical medical term. A layman would say “Il avait une forte rhume”; a doctor – or Joly the hypochondriac med student – would say he suffered from acute rhinitis.

R also isn't actually mimicking Joly – it's straight up “particularly in the mouth of a man with a stuffy nose”. Joly is definitely written with the “code id the doze” dialect, though.

So, if hypochondria is taking R again, does that mean he has suffered from numerous bouts in the past?

And how did they manage to muck up the pun? “Quel maroufle a donc dit que l'homme était un bipède sans plume ?” What idiot said man is a biped without a quill? (plume for feather and pen)

What's more, I think he's actually calling the grisette who married the banker a whore – he uses “drôlesse” when he says “What's hideous about it is that the xxx was just as pretty today as yesterday.” It's not quite “whore”, but it's far worse than “wench” - equivalent to “ho”, probably. Javert addresses Fantine that way when telling her to shut up as he's attempting to arrest Valjean. The botanical symbols are possibly ones he learned from Gros – this symbolism in art goes way back and was pushed aside in the shift to realism and various other modern styles after mid-century.

Clusium – was besieged by the Gauls in 391 BC; negotiations under Rome as a third party did not go well.

I feel sorry for the Germans, when R kinda has a point. Some of those principalities were damned small – single estates in Poland were bigger than some of the principalities; later ranches in Texas were bigger than some of the principalities. But ouch, comparing it to someone's backyard. (The German Confederation was a loose association of the German-speaking states – think of it sort of like an early form of the EU where everyone speaks German. Some of the same issues – what's this for, customs union, I don't want to go along with you people – came up. It's not a one-to-one comparison, but it explains why it collapsed as opposed to leading to German unification.)

“Beauce peasant” because the Beauce was one of the most fertile regions of France, so little work, comparatively, would be required.

On the whole, listening to Grantaire rant is depressing as hell. I mean, really – this whole thing comes down to “a chick who wouldn't go out with me just married some guy even less attractive than I am but he's a banker, the bastard, and life sucks and people are horrible and no revolution can make up for the fact that pock-faced banker got a hot chick who wouldn't give me the time of day”. He is, however, absolutely right about Marius. I wonder how much time he has spent in Marius' company, thoroughly offending the poor boy. We know about the visit to the dance hall, but how much more often, consider I cannot imagine Marius happily staying in the same room for very long.

Enjolras is awesome. Even he calls Lesgle “Bossuet” :) It may also be for purposes of cover – since Bossuet is long dead, the nickname is perhaps less likely traceable without following the messanger; any cop overhearing can't just go look up “Bossuet” and get a date of birth, address, etc. But it seems more to me to prove that Enjolras doesn't have a stick up his ass.

Also, I like Navet. His name means “turnip”, but anyone who is shouting “a bas Polignac” two years late is awesome in my book :) Seriously, it's two years late – Polignac is the one who pretty much put the match to the powder in July 1830. This “revolution”, from the bits we've seen, is based on residual anger from 1830 at best but it isn't directly about Louis Philippe.

Oh god, they got here at 9 and it's 2 by the time the other boys turn up. Five hours drinking. No wonder R is in horrible shape. What is interesting is that “il avait laissé là les bouteilles et pris la chope.” He had left behind the bottles and taken the “chope”, which is defined as “1. Sorte de gobelet en forme de cône tronqué, contenant une mesure de bière d'environ un demi-litre. A kind of beaker in the form of a truncated cone, containing a measure of beer around half a liter. In other words, wine is “white magic”; “black magic” comes from downing 500 mL of beer after at least two bottles of wine, mixing our alcohol so as to have a really awful hangover! 500 mL of beer is the abyss! (seriously, Victor, WTF?) I mean, sure, add in the brandy and absinthe on top of that and you'll probably start seeing things as much as if you had some opium handy, but why is beer the abyss? If these are really in order, too, then beer is the nightmare, brandy (eau-de-vie) is the night, and absinthe is death. The celestial butterfly drowns – in beer? I had that whole paragraph marked out as nice imagery in high school, and now I can't stop laughing about the evils of beer.

Nearly 3 francs expenditure on alcohol here. Remember, Feuilly is struggling to earn 3 francs a day. It's kind of a not bad amount for a spree, but the day began with an idea of breakfast, not a spree. We're only talking like $80 USD or something in today's terms (though in the right dive bar, that can get you a lot of booze).

And I kind of can't believe Enjolras lets them build the barricade here. But then, I've just been spending the morning with the guys who couldn't be arsed to go to the funeral.

Chapter 3
These guys love bad puns, don't they? All of them. R and his bipeds without quills, Bossuet and the omnibus, Courfeyrac and Rousseau, and the name of their organisation in general. I just want to facepalm even as I'm giggling. (they are better at it than Jack Aubrey, though.)

Margaric acid; formic acid. I'm going to assume Hugo is right on this one, but how in the hell did R ever pick this up?

Thermopylae; Drogheda. The invocation of Thermopylae presages Enjolras' (and everyone else's) death; Drogheda I believe is meant to assert his absolutism. Though Drogheda is sort of a mess and not really a great example – this is one of those times when knowing what Hugo's sources were would better explain what he means, since the act was confused among multiple reports and interpretations of those reports at the time, much less among later writers interpreting it with their own biases and for other audiences. The classics have so few sources that we're all working off the same text, as it were; by the Early Modern period you get enough text that you have multiple stories. (especially as some of the barbarity to a modern reader might be mitigated in the telling – it's easier to hear “put to death” and assume swift executions rather than “clubbed to death”, which is what happened. Which is why I'd like to know what gloss Hugo's sources put on the thing.)

Do you think Enjolras took a moment to roll his eyes when R passed out? I wouldn't blame him for it.

Will catch up with the rest a bit later.
What kind of literature and what kind of life is the same question. - Tom Stoppard

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Re: 4.12 Corinthe 5/6/11-12/6/11

Postby MmeBahorel » Mon Jun 13, 2011 1:28 am

Chapter 4
“Great perils have this beauty: that they bring to light the fraternity of strangers.” Sadly, that fraternity dissolves at the moment of either the greatest peril or when there seems to be an end to the danger.

I note Combeferre and Enjolras are working together, or at least close enough together that Enjolras can hear Gav begging for a musket from Combeferre.

Chapter 5
Courfeyrac distributes death with a grin – I love that boy.

Chapter 6
“What did they do while waiting? This we have to tell, for this is history.” This is interesting, as it isn't “history” as generally conceived, the events and great men track, but definitely something more akin to social history. What the guys on the ground did as they waited for the attack falls into social movements, popular culture, class interactions that will have little to do with the outcome of the battle they will soon fight.

“a few others besides” the named boys reciting the poem. Maybe we didn't lose quite all the unnamed guys from the back room of the café Musain? I don't think we've got enough under the rubric of “few” to get everyone, but maybe not everyone was shed after 1830 or during the cholera?

The poem itself is very class-based, about students and grisettes, and I find it interesting that Feuilly is joining in. He is the only worker whose name we get out of this whole barricade, the only one possibly made real, though we get so little of him, yet he is wholly absorbed by the students, sharing in the recitation of a poem about a subject he perhaps ought to treat with contempt. The poem itself speaks to a time of 1825 or earlier, as Foy died in the autumn of that year (Manuel followed late in 1827), but the subject would be familiar enough to Rodolphe and Mimi and that whole later set of bohemians Murger wrote about in the following decade. It's the Latin Quarter and artistic poverty, the poverty of the well-educated who are playing at art and love instead of buckling down to seriously earn a living, who waste their money on fripperies that go into hock when they realise they need dinner. Memories of youth recalled implies that those reciting the poem consider themselves removed from youth, that they have selected this poem because they are now in agreement with its author. But what the hell have they been doing in these intervening years, from their youth until now? 5 June 1832 is a Tuesday; Joly, Bossuet, and R obviously are not earning any sort of living if they are available for the funeral and willing to piss away 5 hours drinking (and Lesgle is still homeless). None of them are stated as doing anything. They're all still living a rather bohemian life, unless some of them are getting on with journalism or something in that nature to earn a bit of a living, as they're all still here for revolutionary purposes. It just seems a little premature for nostalgia for their youth if we are to take this poem as a part of “history” rather than a part of the story. Hugo's use of it surely speaks to their impending deaths; they are of a point in life where they can only look back rather than forward, despite their lack of distance from the events to which the poem refers.

The torchlight, too, is deliberately forboding rather than accurate. To set it up so that it illuminates only the flag is rather a waste of a torch if the point is to be useful to the men in the barricade; as it currently is, it is a symbol for the National Guard or the army once they show up, displaying the red flag of the extreme left. It's also to display the symbol in a particularly grotesque manner for the reader. We're on the side of these guys, but their flag is turning into a frightening apparition before their very eyes. This may also reflect Hugo's ambivalence on revolution.

Chapter 7
We've got our first count: 50 men on the barricade.

Gav, oh Gav, one-track mind there with the musket. Why do I bet he didn't actually have one two years ago until he managed to pick something up from the street after it was over, and that's why he's so desperate for one now?

As for Javert, you have to be a certain sort of person to bluff your way out of this sort of trouble. I don't think Javert has the skills in that direction, and he knows it. Better death with honour than death having screwed up trying to save yourself. We've never seen the man attempt a serious bluff, and he totally fell for Thenardier when the innkeeper lied about what he had done with Cosette. Javert is lacking this element of Vautrin; the element that is found in spades in Valjean. If he recognises that he is indeed busted, what else is there to do? His mistake was in coming into the cabaret to think instead of slipping out in the dark to immediately make his report. Having made that mistake, and knowing himself incapable of reversing it, he'll hang without apology to these men who can then add “cop-killer” to their list of crimes.

Chapter 8
Does Hugo use present-tense narration anywhere else in the novel thus far? The Le Cabuc incident is happening – we as readers are deliberately borne along on the narrative current toward an undefined because not yet known end. And that tense shift strikes me as not terribly Hugo. Everything else in this book is in the past, but suddenly we are given a narration as if we are there. Then all of a sudden, Hugo slips back into his ordinary past tense when describing the door. And the real horror of the scene plays out in past tense. It's a very weird little shift there, that for a moment the thing is happening, and the next, we're back into the safety of the story, where because it is in the past, there will be an outcome. The unknown is present; the horror is past.

Is Enjolras' pistol one of Combeferre's? Idle curiosity/speculation, nothing more. There are multiple pistols floating around the barricade, after all, but Combeferre is possibly on his heels as he is the one to respond to Enjolras' self-condemnation.

The Le Cabuc incident is probably here partly to show Enjolras' harsh devotion to the cause above all but also as an example of the agent provocateur that was frequently used at this period. The police would pay men to try to start particularly egregious actions, so that the planned repression would be better accepted (and get even more trouble-makers out of the way). If this scenario is true, then Le Cabuc would be trying to turn the barricade in an outwardly bloodthirsty direction by his murder of the doorkeeper; Enjolras, having been active for years in this climate, probably also recognises this possible motive for Le Cabuc's actions and thus executes him now, for the sake of the barricade, as Javert, who is quiet, will be executed later. These men are connected to the status quo that wants to suppress the dissent that is flaming up in the émeute; they therefore, as part of the old order, will have to die in the battle. They do not necessarily required judge and executioner to be separate, as their positions are what make them guilty, but Enjolras would prefer if he were not both in one because he has to live with not living up to the ideal for which he intends to sacrifice everything.

Which brings me to his “Death, I hate you but I use you” speech here. In what way does he believe it? Because he does believe it, but does he feel worthy of even the words at this moment, the pistol warm in his hand, the scent of gunpowder and blood in his nostrils from the execution he has just performed? It strikes me as a very, very sad speech, with the “it will come” in the last sentence more lip service than whole-hearted belief. But that's just me, looking for the human character behind the marble lover of liberty.

There's some interesting stuff related to Themis, for the non-classical scholars.
What kind of literature and what kind of life is the same question. - Tom Stoppard

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Col.Despard
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Re: 4.12 Corinthe 5/6/11-12/6/11

Postby Col.Despard » Tue Jun 14, 2011 3:49 am

I caught the "Bossuet" thing too...and it's not the only time Enjolras uses it. In the "Enjolras and his Lieutenants" scene, he calls him Bossuet both when he's speaking to them and also when he's thinking about them, which suggests that (yet again) Enjolras isn't quite as dour as some interpretations would have him. It suggests a genuine affection between him and his colleagues...likewise, it's notable that he's not sending his message to Joly, if Grantaire is correct, because he has a cold. Does he think Joly will be unmotivated, or is he letting him off the hook because he's sick?

Laughing about your observations on beer and bad puns!

Drogheda is just...urk. I HATE that comparison, as I seriously can't imagine Enjolras in any way, shape or form condoning what Cromwell did there. I know I need to read Hugo's Cromwell to get a proper take on how he saw the man, as frankly to me Cromwell's historical actions there are anathema. I mean, he sold Irish women and children into slavery in the aftermath! Enjolras would fight *hard* and would be ruthless in combat (and we'll see that in scenes to come), but Cromwell and Drogheda? Just...no. My Irish soul revolts at the very thought.

It's interesting that Hugo refers to Corinth here as the haunt of “Courfeyrac and his friends” when it was first mentioned as a meeting place for the Amis in general, of whom Enjolras is the leader. And while Bossuet says they keep going there after Hucheloup's death “out of pity”, it's eminently plausible that as custom fell off with the decline in the cooking, it became an even safer meeting point. The citation of Courfeyrac both prepares the reader for a scene of good-fellowship rather than a more taut revolutionary ship and asserts Courfeyrac's primacy in the organization. R found the place, but it's a haunt of “Courfeyrac and his friends”.

We had a discussion along these lines when we dropped by the Rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau en route to the site of the Corinth...given that Enjolras was with them, it seemed a possibility that they were on their way to the Corinth. I can see Courfeyrac frequenting it for the hell of it (after all, doesn't sound like there would be much competition to use the upstairs billiard table), and Enjolras going along strictly on Revolutionary business.

Combeferre and Enjolras working together...awwwww. I'm also partial to Enjolras' interactions with Gavroche here...he might not be as informal as, say, Courfeyrac would be, but there's also a genuine ease and almost an affection tone in their exchange. I bet any Ami within earshot was grinning when Gavroche responds to Enjolras' "Gamin!"

As always, your comments are so rich and dense it's going to take a while to go through and respond to them all...there's so much fascinating material with which you gloss the text!
"The principles of freedom, of humanity, and of justice, will finally triumph over falsehood, tyranny and delusion, and every principle inimical to the interests of the human race" - Edward Despard, 1803
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between4walls
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Re: 4.12 Corinthe 5/6/11-12/6/11

Postby between4walls » Sat Jul 06, 2013 2:24 am

Just wanted to share this interesting bit of meta from gauzythreads on tumblr, tying together the name Corinthe, Grantaire's rant, the contemporaneous Greek Revolution (of great interest to Feuilly), and Lord Byron's poem The Siege of Corinthe. I have reservations about some of the analogies she draws re:the Venetians which are contradictory as well as some of the Alp parallels which don't explain much- but the ties to the contemporaneous fighting in Corinthe are very interesting and so is the Byron poem- which ends with the losing Venetians blowing the whole thing up as the Amis do in the LM play by Hugo's son and the 1930's French movie. More closely connected to the book is the desperate horrible heroism of the final resistance.
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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