5.7 La dernière gorgée du calice 21/8/11-22/8/11

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.

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5.7 La dernière gorgée du calice 21/8/11-22/8/11

Postby Ulkis » Fri Jul 29, 2011 3:52 am

Volume 5: Jean Valjean, book 7: The Bitter Cup

Chapters:

1. Le septième cercle et le huitième ciel/The Seventh Circle and the Eighth Heaven
2. Les obscurités que peut contenir une révélation/Questions That May be Contained in a Revalation

Valjean reveals the truth of his identity to Marius but leaves out the fact that he saved him in the barricade. Valjean and Marius agree that Valjean will come and see Cosette every evening but Marius is disquieted by Valjean's revelations.

(Mod's note: As this is my last post for the read through I would like to thank mmejavert who set up the read-through section, my fellow co-mods Frédérique and Charlette-Ollie for putting up with my nagging in the beginning, unofficial co-mod mmebahorel for sharing her excellent resources and insights with us, and for everyone who posted and/or followed along.)

Ulkis
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Re: 5.7 La dernière gorgée du calice 21/8/11-22/8/11

Postby Ulkis » Wed Aug 24, 2011 7:48 pm

I've always liked the "is this the first time a rose has sprung from dung?" line, and I still do, but now I also realize it is more of Hugo's obsession with poop showing. :)

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Re: 5.7 La dernière gorgée du calice 21/8/11-22/8/11

Postby MmeBahorel » Sat Aug 27, 2011 4:47 pm

Aww, thanks! Sorry I'm so behind on the notes - other things have been taking over my life the past couple weeks.

Livre 7

1 (The Last Sip from the Chalice [Book title]): Allusion à la prière du Christ au Jardin des Oliviers, avant sa crucifixion : << Père, si vous le voulez, éloignez de moi ce calice ! Toutefois que votre volonté soit faite et non la mienne. >> L'arrivée de Cosette accomplit le verset suivant : << Alors un ange lui apparut du ciel pour le fortifier. >> (Luc, XXII, 42-43.)
Allusion to Christ's prayer on the Mount of Olives, before his crucifixion: “Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.” Cosette's arrival accomplishes the following verse: “And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him.” (Luke 22:42-43.)

Chapitre 1
2 (The Seventh Circle and the Eighth Heaven [Chapter title]: Septième cercle de l'enfer pour Jean Valjean et huitième ciel pour Marius et Cosette ?
Seventh circle of hell for Jean Valjean and eighth heaven for Marius and Cosette? [The Seventh Circle of Hell is reserved for the violent: violence against people and property, violence against self, and violence against God and nature. The Eighth Sphere of heaven is faith, hope, and love. Eighth sphere, fine, but I'm actually fascinated by the connection in the Seventh Circle of Hell. Violence against property, yes, but also violence against self (this is where Javert is going to land as a suicide) and violence against nature includes sodomites, which is a weird little connection to Claude Gueux in my mind. It's kind of a strange place for Valjean to end up – thieves and forgers fall into the Eighth Circle, and those are his actual crimes against the state. Violence against men and property is represented by men like Alexander the Great and Attila the Hun. It's a huge, overwhelming thing, not petty arson or breaking and entering.]

3 (Did I have a father and mother? I doubt it.): Comme la petite fille anonyme du couvent qui disait (II, 6, 4) : << Moi, ma mère n'était pas là quand je suis née >>, et comme Cosette elle-même, à la question de Jean Valjean : [<< Tu n'as donc pas de mère ?
- Je ne sais pas, répondit l'enfant.
[…] Je ne crois pas. Les autres en ont. Moi, je n'en ai pas.
Et après un silence, elle reprit :
- Je crois que je n'en ai jamais eu. >> (II, 3, 7)

Like the anonymous little girl in the convent who said (II, 6, 4): “MY mother wasn't there when I was born”, and like Cosette herself, to Valjean's question: “'You don't have a mother?'
'I don't know. Others do. I don't.'
And after a silence, she added, 'I think I never had one.'” (II, 3, 7)

4 (A name is a self.): Cette phrase est la clef de l'anonymat des misérables, jusqu'à la tombe.
This sentence is the key to the anonymity of the misérables all the way to the tomb.

5 (One day she saw the chain go by.): C'était en IV, 3, 8, La cadène.
This was in IV, 3, 8, The Chain.

Chapitre 2
6 (quid divinum): La formule a déjà été employé dans les deux autres grands combats : Waterloo (II, 1, 5 – notes 7 et 10) et la barricade (V, 1, 12 et la note 18).
The formula was already employed in the two other great battles: Waterloo (II, 1, 5 – notes 7 and 10) and the barricade (V, 1, 12 and note 18).

7 (Vade retro): << Arrière (Satan) >>, dit Jésus au démon qui le tente au désert (Marc, VIII, 33).
“Get thee behind me (Satan”, said Jesus to the demon that tempted in him in the desert (Mark 8:33).
What kind of literature and what kind of life is the same question. - Tom Stoppard

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Re: 5.7 La dernière gorgée du calice 21/8/11-22/8/11

Postby MmeBahorel » Sat Sep 24, 2011 9:16 pm

Chapter 1
Day after the wedding is Ash Wednesday, so the whole world theoretically has the gloom after the festivities of Mardi Gras.

Interesting that the books Cosette has mentioned to Marius that Valjean owns are travelogues of great English explorers of the Pacific. Valjean had intended to cross from Calais to Dover, and then . . . perhaps the far side of the world? Or is it just that he's exploring the world itself from an armchair, his need to educate himself turning to the geography of the Pacific?

The bishop is not happy with you, Valjean. You are a human being, you are alive, therefore you have a right to be happy. I'm sure he would tell you this. You are permitted a family, you are permitted happiness. Not necessarily through lies and deceit, but you are permitted these things that you claim you are not allowed. And poor Marius, he doesn't understand half your confession.

This chapter is so heartbreaking!

Chapter 2
The descriptions of Cosette here are creeping me out a bit. I can't quite articulate how. That she seems to be object only, perhaps? It's something a little beyond “oh, it's the nineteenth century and a male author”.

And of course Marius is thinking the worst here because Valjean, determined to blacken himself thoroughly, was not completely honest despite pretending to honesty. Details matter. Two instances of theft sounds a whole lot worse than “I stole a loaf of bread because my sister's children were starving, then after serving my sentence, I swiped two francs in a petty act I immediately repented.” It sounds like “I broke into at least a couple of houses – probably more – and stole some really awesome shit”. A lack of detail is a lie by omission just as much as silence is. Valjean doesn't want Marius to be fair to him, but that isn't fair to Marius.
What kind of literature and what kind of life is the same question. - Tom Stoppard


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