jfc Hugo no wonder you had a stroke
Traveling to Melbourne this weekend to see the musical and the exhibition ….
jfc Hugo no wonder you had a stroke
Traveling to Melbourne this weekend to see the musical and the exhibition ….
So I just saw a phenomenal production of les mis. And get this, instead of Coufereyac being the one that took care of Gavroche, it was Grantaire. Different, yes, but watching Grantaire of all people break down and fall to his…
The Gavroche - Courfeyrac interplay seems to be an extrapolation of the novel, where it is Courfeyrac who notices he has crossed the barricade, and who first urges him to come back:
“Courfeyrac suddenly caught sight of some one at the base of the barricade, outside in the street, amid the bullets.
“Gavroche had taken a bottle basket from the wine-shop, had made his way out through the cut, and was quietly engaged in emptying the full cartridge-boxes of the National Guardsmen who had been killed on the slope of the redoubt, into his basket
“‘What are you doing there?’ asked Courfeyrac.
“Gavroche raised his face:—
”I’m filling my basket, citizen.’
”Don’t you see the grape-shot?’
”Well, it is raining. What then?’
“Courfeyrac shouted:—‘Come in!’
“‘Instanter,’ said Gavroche.”
It’s fairly typical of Courfeyrac to notice and urge Gavroche to safety - reminiscent of his scene with Mabeauf, in which he tries to persuade the old man not to join them. And I can see why, if they were going to have anyone play “big brother” in the movie, it was Courfeyrac - it certainly has more textual basis than Grantaire, albeit a slim textual basis (although I’d love to see someone work with the Bahorel - Gavroch connection). But I do have ambivalent feelings about it, for the reasons outlined above - Gavroche isn’t a mascot or a tag along child, and he has his own agency.
why talk about the 1832 june uprising as a “failed rebellion” when you could be talking about it as “effective state repression of protest”
The Marble Lover of Liberty.
So much beautiful Enjolras art at the moment!
the day I stop drawing Enjolras will be the day they sign my death certificate
And, given the quality of your work, I think we can all be grateful for that! I love his intensity and focus here - and the remarkable amount of movement you’ve managed to incorporate into this, even though he isn’t actually in motion - he’s very non-static even though he’s standing still. Gorgeous!
And if there’s Enjolras with a violin, there must evidently be Combeferre with a cello (are we all just channelling Master & Commander on some level? Combeferre - Maturin works, but Enjolras - Aubrey…well….)
There has been talk of musical!Amis again, so I thought I’d drag this one out…although recent discussion has convinced me we also need to see a violin playing Courfeyrac as well (might work on that for the weekend).
DESPARD THIS IS SO BEAUTIFUL
Thank you! It’s one of the few I’m still fond of…should do more like this (and thank you to the OP who put it up here - glad you liked it!)
This beauty spent well over a year inside my violin case. I lost track of the number of questions/compliments it garnered over that time.
Yes okay Despard art is always good but
THE POLISH ON IT
… I have GOT to up my game around here, I swear.
The original tune to ‘La Faute à Voltaire’? (Kind of…) and the Bahorel connection
The internet seems to point me towards two songs as sources for Gavroche’s ‘La faute à Voltaire’. One of them (this article says that it was the earlier of the two) is by someone called Jean-François Chaponnière, and you can find the lyrics here. It does indeed have the ‘C’est la faute de Voltaire / C’est la faute de Rousseau’ refrain, but the structure of the stanzas doesn’t seem to fit very well with Hugo’s version.
The other source version is rather closer in terms of structure. It’s by Pierre-Jean de Béranger (who seems to turn up an awful lot in these posts). It has a few variants kicking about, but this appears to be the full version. (This version leaves out the verse accusing the clergy of sodomy, presumably on the grounds that it was a little too racy…)
The general background to both songs is complicated and political and so I am really not the right person to try to explain it, so the potted version, as far as I can make it out, is as follows. It is very Bahorelian. Both songs were written in 1817 in response to a ‘mandement de carême’ – the same kind of notice that Bahorel tears down in 4.2.4, L’enfant s’étonne du vieillard. (Hapgood translates it as a ‘Lenten admonition’, so given my incredible ignorance about matters ecclesiastical I’ll go with that.) The 1817 admonition, as far as I can work out, was basically a declaration that Voltaire and Rousseau were dangerously seditious authors who were pretty much single-handedly responsible for causing the Revolution. There were apparently a few book-burnings, but for the most part it seems that people reacted by writing satirical songs in which they mockingly blamed Voltaire and Rousseau for pretty much everything going, up to and including the temptation of Eve. They also brought out new editions of the authors’ works. (See here for an account in English of all this, which also includes a partial verse translation of the Béranger song.)
There is more than that, though, to link the song to Bahorel – to the extent that I would be very surprised if it were a coincidence. The last verse of the Béranger version runs as follows:
À ces causes, nos chers fils,
Dieu permet qu’on vous permette
De manger des salsifis
Et des œufs à la mouillette.
Si vous mangez bœuf ou veau,
C’est la faute de Rousseau ;
Buvez-vous de l’eau claire ?
C’est la faute de Voltaire.
For these reasons, our dear sons,
God permits that you are permitted
To eat salsify
And eggs with soldiers.
If you eat beef or veal,
It is the fault of Rousseau ;
Do you drink clear water ?
It is the fault of Voltaire.
I’m not even going to try to get all the Lenten fast references out of that (salsify, seriously ?) but my point here is : permission to eat eggs. Gavroche is singing a song that is based on a song that is pretty much all about Bahorel, and this just makes their relationship even more painful better. (I should say here that many thanks are due to pilferingapples for first winning me over to the friendship between these two.)
Anyway, I promised tunes. I haven’t had any luck tracking down the tune to the Chaponnière song ; the lyrics I linked to above just says the tune is a new one by ‘M.E.’, which is not very easy to track down. The Béranger version, though, says that it should be sung to the tune of ‘Allez voir à Saint-Cloud’, and after a bit of work I managed to track down (in the ever-helpful Clé du caveau) a tune called ‘Allons la voir à Saint-Cloud’. The furthest I have been able to trace it back is to a vaudeville called ‘La girouette de Saint-Cloud’, which was first performed in Brumaire, year 8 (which I think works out to November 1799 in the Gregorian calendar). Anyway, the tune seems to fit the Béranger song, and (because it has the same metre) it works for Gavroche’s version too. Because Gavroche’s verses are shorter you only need use the second half of the tune (after the repeat) but for the sake of completeness I transcribed the whole thing.
Unpopular opinion, but I think people give Enjolras and Courfeyrac way too much credit when they claim that they were annoyed with Grantaire when the barricade was being built just because he was annoying the ladies in the pub. Considering Joly was also grabbing women out of nowhere and kissing…
I agree that the degree to which it is Grantaire’s treatment of Matelote that triggers the responses from Courfeyrac and Enjolras is left ambivalent…I do think it is a component of it, at the very least in Courfeyrac’s response which follows hard on the heels of a paragraph in which Grantaire says some quite ugly things, but I suspect it is more his general intoxicated ranting that really causes them to shut him down - had he not said a word about either Matelote or Mme Hucheloup in that paragraph, but continued yelling drunkenly out a window while they were trying to build a barricade, I suspect they would have still tried to get him to cool his jets. There are very practical reasons for doing so - he’s a distraction at a critical time, but he’s also sending the wrong message about the insurgents building the barricade.
Bossuet intervening in Grantaire’s handsy approach to Louison in the Musain scene would seem to indicate that at least some of his friends think he goes too far (although, again, how much of that is directed at the Louison grabbing and how much just trying to divert him from a rambling monologue is unclear), but yes - it is a point that Joly, too, engages in not-dissimilar mocking with Mme Hucheloup. The kindest interpretation you could put on that is that he’s trying to distract her in her acute distress, but the more likely interpretation is that he has a similar sense of “humour” as Grantaire, and drinking only prompts him touch in appropriately.
Courfeyrac, I think, gets a lot of stick for the “Collection” comment that is undeserved. He’s teasing Marius in the scene when he mentions it, knowing how reserved Marius is about women, so it’s unclear how serious he is. Certainly we don’t see any indication of hordes of mistresses he dangles along in the text (indeed, he doesn’t speak of any specifically, nor does he talk about his romantic life, so it’s difficult to judge, although we know he certainly does examine Cosette from the perspective of a potential romantic partner, so it’s safe to say he’s interested in women)…we do know, for example, that when he divines that Marius’ love affair has gone astray, he assumes that Marius is at fault and has behaved badly, not the unknown woman involved.
Which is not to say that Courfeyrac doesn’t share examples of both the sexism and the misogynistic traits of his peers - in an instance of the latter, like Javert and Grantaire he feels compelled to comment on a woman’s supposed hirsuteness as a source of amusement (his joke that seeing as the servant wears Marius’ beard, Marius does not)…indeed, women and hair is something Hugo seems a bit preoccupied with, as he has his voice of God narrator make a comment about Mabeuf’s female servant having a moustache.
In short, I agree that Grantaire is not alone in the sexism and misogynist stakes (I wish I could call it “period misogynism”, but things like the harassment of female waitstaff by customers and “jokes” about physical attributes like hair are still very familiar and common today). I think the reason these often come up in regards to Grantaire are in response to fanonical tendencies to depict him as a martyr and victim without any unpleasant traits beyond drinking and occasionally rambling as the result of his depression - they’re used as an example to counter the idea that Grantaire is a much put-upon victim, an absolutely lovely guy who just suffers from depression.
Enjolras’ flaws in regard to women are often addressed a degree that is sometimes quite exaggerated - I’ve seen the assertion frequently made that he canonically “hates” women, that he personally banned them from the back room of the Musain, and that his vision of the future has no place for them (some of these came up recently in the spate of posts on “why Enjolras is a terrorist/naive little boy/deeply flawed person and you all are uncritical fans”). I’ve spoken quite often about Enjolras sharing the flawed response to women and women’s issues many male and some female liberal and republican thinkers had at the time (Virtuous Republican Motherhood), and while this is partly based on surmise given a few indirect textual clues and an understanding of the republican movement of the period, I don’t think it’s too much of a leap. Enjolras’ personal approach to women - its flaws and how it evolved (and his relegation of women to the domestic sphere, which is why they have no part in his life, as he - initially at least - has no concern for intimate domestic matters) is a topic of frequent meta conversations, so I don’t think he’s escaped scrutiny on this score at all.
As for Courfeyrac, I’ve seen (even just in the past 24 hours or so) an emphasis on the “For Courfeyrac, see Tholymes” line with implications he is as flawed in his approach to women as the man who abandoned Fantine (and without regard to the fact that we’re told that it is a surface resemblance of playful wit and lighthearted charm- a diabolic beauty of the mind - and that their internal characters are fundamentally different).
They all have their flaws - some personal to them, and some more general to the era - and neither a critical reading or a fictional characterisation should ignore them. A canon period Enjolras who, for example, welcomes women into the Musain and cedes the floor to them to discuss how the current system of government institutionally disadvantages women is as out of character as a Grantaire who would berate Enjolras for not listening to women and presuming to speak for them. Grantaire is not a vile monster in relation to women - look at the interesting relationship we see hinted at with Floréal which (in spite of his friendzoning bullshit and unpleasant snark) is on quite a friendly footing.
On the elderly lady with the candle, I do definitely see that as evidence of Enjolras’ progression in seeing individuals; as people and not just in abstract as The People. It is not as the mother of a soldier he refers to her as, but rather as the mother of a citizen, of someone at the barricades - that widely eclectic group who are gathered to fight. Tied in with the whole virtuous motherhood thing, yes, but it directly undermines it rather than supports it - if she were emblematic of Virtuous Republican Motherhood then she would be stoically giving up a son for The Cause, and Enjolras would be supporting her sacrifice. Instead, she’s praying for him (no suggestion she’s praying for the cause the theoretical son is fighting for), and this bolsters Enjolras’ determination to get men away from the barricades who have dependents - Combeferre actually uses it as a springboard for his whole speech about what the women and girls left behind have to face. I’d argue this is a subversion of the whole Roman Mothers ideal (“come back with your shield or on it”) - she wants her son back, and Enjolras wants to give him to her. Enjolras isn’t just scouting the forces that oppose them and reporting back on regimental numbers; he’s also observing the human impact of the struggle. The metaphorically bared breast of this Evadne has a great impact on him.
Annnnnnd it’s getting late here and I suspect I stopped making sense a few paragraphs ago (or perhaps from the beginning of my response?)
I’m not going to discuss everything in your response as I simply don’t have the time right now, but to be clear: I’m not arguing that R being disgusting wasn’t a factor in how annoyed they got, it certainly was, but my base issue here is less to do with Courf and Joly and more to do with a particular kind of fandom compensatory behaviour which you even mention in your response in regards to ‘martyr Grantaire’.
I disagree with you on Courfeyrac, though. If anything I don’t see enough about his flaws. That being said, we’re from two greatly different sides of the fandom so we’re inevitably going to come across different common tropes.
I agree that overcompensating in either direction can have the effect of distorting characterisations (and I know that you have specifically mentioned Grantaire’s behaviour towards women often). Courfeyrac I find is not really discussed much at all in broader fandom, and is given a fairly flaky personality in fanon, uninvested in their cause (even taking pleasure in disrupting Enjolras and derailing meetings) and even referred to as a manwhore. He’s generally a really all-round lovely guy so it’s understandable that the preponderance of what little discussion there is around him is going to be generally favourable, but I do see a disproportionate focus on him being compared to Tholymes (without the context of that quote) or on the “collection” quote…on the other hand, I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone discuss how he doesn’t automatically take his friend’s side against the girl involved when he realises Marius run into romantic difficulties - he doesn’t blame her at all, but (based on his knowledge of Marius), assumes that responsibility lies with Marius.
I’m always confused by that characterisation of Courfeyrac; the super laid back one, I mean. He’s friendly and fun loving to a fault, but he’s also temperamental and highly dedicated, not to mention loyal. The day he’d brush off The Cause™ as unimportant would be the day he’d start using the ‘de’ in his name again.
(On a lighter note, while I agree that Courfeyrac is a really lovely guy and I want to give him the benefit of the doubt, even if I was friends with Marius I’d automatically assume he’d be the one who messed up in such a situation simply because he’s Marius. Bless his little heart.)
This is true - odds are, if Marius is sulking about the place because his love affair has gone astray, it’s a safe bet that Marius being Marius is at the bottom of it!
It’s rather sweet that Courfeyrac sort of goes ah well, you screwed this up…but then proceeds to try and cheer him up by taking him out with Bossuet and Grantaire. Which would be quite a trio to hit the tiles with.
Joly and Combeferre shopping for corpses at the local morgue. Because there are those who actually *wanted* to see this. O_o
You people. What shall I do with you all.
oh wow, there’s so much detail here! So much horrible, horrible detail. XD
Also: Combeferre if really just pushing that hairstyle for all it’s worth, isn’t he? XD