5.4 Javert déraillé/Javert in Disarray 8/8/11

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.

Moderators: Charlette-Ollie, Ulkis, Frédérique

Ulkis
Posts: 1342
Joined: Tue Jun 03, 2008 3:41 am

5.4 Javert déraillé/Javert in Disarray 8/8/11

Postby Ulkis » Fri Jul 29, 2011 3:40 am

Volume 5: Jean Valjean, book 4: Javert in Disarray

Chapters:

1. Javert déraillé/Javert in Disarray

Just what the title says: Javert is in disarray. After Valjean rescues him, Javert has to rethink his moral code and decides he can't live with his past and kills himself.

User avatar
MmeBahorel
Posts: 1773
Joined: Mon Jun 22, 2009 3:12 am
Location: Washington, DC
Contact:

Re: 5.4 Javert déraillé/Javert in Disarray 8/8/11

Postby MmeBahorel » Sun Jul 31, 2011 7:32 pm

Livre V

1 (what happened in Javert was the Fampoux): C'est là, sur la ligne du Nord, que, le 8 juillet 1846, avait eu lieu un déraillement spectaculaire, moins d'un mois après l'inauguration de la ligne.
It is there, on the Northern Line, that, 8 July 1846, had taken place a spectacular derailment, less than a month after the inauguration of the line.

FMA use "Javert Off the Track" for this book/chapter, which is more literally true than "Javert in Disarray" (a train that has derailed and killed fourteen people is certainly in disarray but "disarray" sound like such an understatement). It translates exactly how it looks, "Javert Derailed", particularly for the railway savvy audience of 1862. (what is interesting is that the metaphorical form - or really, both the literal and metaphorical forms, don't turn up in the Academie française dictionary until 1932. Is something missing from Dictionnaires d'autrefois?)
What kind of literature and what kind of life is the same question. - Tom Stoppard

User avatar
MmeBahorel
Posts: 1773
Joined: Mon Jun 22, 2009 3:12 am
Location: Washington, DC
Contact:

Re: 5.4 Javert déraillé/Javert in Disarray 8/8/11

Postby MmeBahorel » Sun Aug 14, 2011 1:51 am

Javert's list is kind of random. Some of the entries implore pity for the prisoners; others for the men charged with the maintenance of the law. And then you get the weird ones, like the implication that the canteen window at Les Madelonettes needs additional bars – there's no pity here for either side, but a condemnation of any contact at all. And what about poor Mme Henry? If you take away part of her responsibilities, you'll probably be cutting her wages or firing her altogether and replacing her with a man. Praise her and fire her in one breath, in your last words to the world? God doesn't like you very much, I suspect.

Poor Javert. There's really not much to say – obvious parallels from the beginning of the novel are obvious and made moreso by the musical. And the idea of suicide was foreshadowed in the previous chapter, rather clumsily IMO but still there. It's not the surprise that, say, Enjolras' death was in the way it was carried out. We get suicide talked about, then we get rapids, then we get Javert's second choice unstated. And that not being a surprise just sort of makes the whole thing a sadface rather than a gripping emotional moment.
What kind of literature and what kind of life is the same question. - Tom Stoppard

User avatar
between4walls
Posts: 471
Joined: Wed Apr 13, 2011 8:50 pm
Contact:

Re: 5.4 Javert déraillé/Javert in Disarray 8/8/11

Postby between4walls » Sat Aug 20, 2011 5:44 am

Javert's arc from infiltrating the barricade to his suicide brings home how criminally misused he's been by his superiors. He's a terrible spy, too honest and rigid for the role, and yet his honesty and rigidity depend to a degree on his not interacting with criminals as normal people outside of the system, as spying requires him to do. So what do they do with a pretty competent cop? Put him in a situation which undercuts his strengths, nearly gets him shot, and then leads to his suicide.

The disordered list of observations is more affecting than an actual suicide note. Number three and number five on the list...ouch. Is he trying to protect Mme. Henry, partly at least, from an experience like his?

But how to manage to send in his resignation to God?

echoing his attempts to offer his resignation to Valjean earlier. Which goes with Javert's feeling God as "this new chief" and "this other superior." (Also reminds me of Ivan's phrase in The Brothers Karamazov about "returning one's ticket" to God. Dostoevsky liked Les Misérables a lot and, interestingly, reread it while spending two days in jail.)
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.

User avatar
between4walls
Posts: 471
Joined: Wed Apr 13, 2011 8:50 pm
Contact:

Re: 5.4 Javert déraillé/Javert in Disarray 8/8/11

Postby between4walls » Sat Aug 20, 2011 5:59 am

That the incommutable, the direct, the correct, the geometrical, the passive, the perfect, could bend! That there should be a road to Damascus for the locomotive!

The train imagery is so integral that I can't understand why Denny translates the title the way he does. Also a shift from the earlier descriptions of Javert in animal terms. The straight line as a limited ideal comes up again with Cimourdain in Ninety-Three.

Ninety-Three isn't at all a subtle book, but I think it deal more subtly with the issue of faith and the lack thereof than LM, between the annoying materialist in "After-Dinner Philosophy" and Javert's moral limitations being linked to his lack of connection with God. Javert's attitude toward organized religion is however very much in line with his character thus far.
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
Posts: 1342
Joined: Tue Jun 03, 2008 3:41 am

Re: 5.4 Javert déraillé/Javert in Disarray 8/8/11

Postby Ulkis » Wed Aug 24, 2011 3:53 am

That the incommutable, the direct, the correct, the geometrical, the passive, the perfect, could bend! That there should be a road to Damascus for the locomotive!

The train imagery is so integral that I can't understand why Denny translates the title the way he does. Also a shift from the earlier descriptions of Javert in animal terms. The straight line as a limited ideal comes up again with Cimourdain in Ninety-Three.


Who knows. He probably thought people wouldn't know about the train imagery and thus decided his sounded better.

User avatar
LauraLeZunzu
Posts: 427
Joined: Mon Jun 17, 2013 11:27 pm
Location: Spain
Contact:

Re: 5.4 Javert déraillé/Javert in Disarray 8/8/11

Postby LauraLeZunzu » Tue Jun 18, 2013 4:35 pm

I think it is not that he can't live with the things he's done; it's something more.
I think Hugo always describe Javert as such a rigid person, always over people and without wondering anything... that, when Valjean saves him, all this world changes. Anything is what he thought, and his world fall into pieces. That is hard for anyone, but imagine what it is for someone described as Javert.
He needs to go on with his traditional world, going and catching Jean Valjean; because he can't change his way of life, anyway. So instead of continue living, he decides to leave forever. And the note he writes before he dies seemed to me that clearly showed the revelation Valjean did on him, I think in a simmilar way the bishop did on Valjean. But as they are opposites, Valjean gets a new life, and Javert jus can't.
Oh, and it seemes so sad to me that Valjean just thought of him that he had going mad, instead of thinking that he had changed, at least for a few hours. Because Javert help Marius, gets Valjean to his house...
Image


Return to “Read-Through”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests

cron