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[personal profile] genarti posting in [community profile] club93
Time for chapter 3.1.4! (Previously numbered 2.4.4 according to some translations.) This is "Leur vie sous terre," translated as "Their Life Underground" or "Life Underground." Dunno why one translation decided to drop out the pronoun, but discuss away!

Date: 2014-06-02 04:06 pm (UTC)
primeideal: Multicolored sideways eight (infinity sign) (Default)
From: [personal profile] primeideal
"Or else they prayed, to kill time." Again a dry and backhanded take on institutional religion. When the institutions aren’t really present anymore because people are just living underneath trees…

"All day long," said Bourdoiseau, "Jean Chouan made us tell our beads." Jean Chouan was a pseudonym of a counterrevolutionary leader; he really was born “Jean,” but had the nickname “Chouan,” “the silent one.” So he took that last name, and the Breton uprising became known as the Chouannerie—a silent war, fought by people living silently underground, able to talk to God at least but not making noise.

Alternative theory: “Chouan” might instead come from the owl’s cry, because Hugo loves his birds. Halmalo shows off an owl cry to Lantenac, proving that he can communicate with the other royalists.

"Denys, called Tranche-Montagne, disguised himself as a woman to go to see the comedy at Laval; then he went back to his cave." Another, uh, take on women as being…noncombatants?

"The firing of the Republicans was regular, that of the Royalists, intermittent; this was their guide." Goes along with the Convention architecture stuff—the Republicans are ordered, preferring stark right angles and regular patterns. The Royalists have to make use of irregular, natural formations like the forest (and/or the ocean). (Hmm, the back-and-forth book structure of ruralish-urban-rural again could be something about the cyclical nature of revolutions)?

"they found a way to tell each other everything and to warn each other in season. Relays of emissaries were established from forest to forest, from village to village, from farm to farm, from hut to hut, from bush to bush." Such as Lantenac and Halmalo with their long list of people to contact.

"Secrets entrusted to more than four hundred thousand individuals," said Puysaye, "were religiously kept." The Wikisource edition gives a footnote to volume 2; poking around eventually brought me to Robespierre’s section. " I have laid before your eyes an intercepted letter from Puisaye, in which it says that ‘twenty thousand redcoats distributed among the insurgents will raise a hundred thousand.’ When the peasant insurrection is completed, the English will make their descent." But in my searching, I also came across this reference for some of Hugo’s RL sources. The focus in this article is on “The Streets of Paris at that time,” and the influence of Sebastian Mercier, as well as Lantenac with regards to the “escaping in a tiny boat” and “being rescued by a peasant” episodes, with the influence of de Puisaye. Tried to settle in Canada. Found it too hard. Aristocracy.

Also, apparently before Hugo read de Puisaye’s stuff, the character who became Lantenac had a love for one-liners. What might have been…

This leads onto another article; the first half (historical details) of which should be spoiler-free at this point, but the second half (character influence) is not. So I’ll hold off on that one for now but hopefully will come back to it later. Basically it’s more Hugo being historically fictive or whatever. Steal from one writer and it’s plagiarism, from a dozen and it’s research, etc.

"One would have said that the birds had something to do with it. Hoche wrote, the seventh Messidor, year III: "One would have believed that they had telegraphs."" Narrator: "wow how can the peasants be this advanced, I don’t know, let’s talk about birds." Guys using the republican category: "it’s almost like they have advanced technology."

"My father took part in that war, and I am able to say something about it." lifeisyetfair posted early on that Hugo’s father was indeed a soldier in the area, and his mother was actually from the Vendée. Which makes this section a little different, the second time around. I’m inclined to give Hugo a longer leash, here, but then you might say that if anything it should be the other way around.
Edited Date: 2014-06-02 04:10 pm (UTC)

Date: 2014-06-03 11:41 pm (UTC)
primeideal: Multicolored sideways eight (infinity sign) (Default)
From: [personal profile] primeideal
"During that war in La Vendée, Captain Hugo had had occasion to go to Nantes frequently, and he had established relations there, principally with a shipper, called Trebuchét."

Victor Hugo’s daughter, describing his father and grandfather respectively

Date: 2014-06-04 03:42 am (UTC)
bobbiewickham: Kalinda Sharma of The Good Wife (Default)
From: [personal profile] bobbiewickham
...ooohh, interesting background info, thanks!


Date: 2014-06-04 03:42 am (UTC)
bobbiewickham: Kalinda Sharma of The Good Wife (Default)
From: [personal profile] bobbiewickham
More descriptions of the land and the peasants combining to make a formidable but mystifying force. The peasants get bored under the soil and sneak out—well, of course they do. They have a grapevine that bemuses outsiders; the country is hypersensitive to any tremor caused by an outsider, and the whole place goes on the alert if there’s the slightest twitch anywhere. The peasants pursue their fleeing enemies but the revolutionaries don’t, because the country is against them.

The narrator says he’ll talk of the war his father fought. For the contemporary readers of this book, Hugo was talking about something their parents or grandparents lived through, not distant and foreign history. The controversies over this civil war were probably still alive (probably still ARE, in history departments).


Date: 2014-06-04 03:45 am (UTC)
bobbiewickham: Kalinda Sharma of The Good Wife (Default)
From: [personal profile] bobbiewickham

The peasants in this chapter are described as superstitious, gullible, easily made to believe all sorts of ridiculous things by a priest; they’re also cunning, ruthless, prone to pillaging, especially fond of slaughtering their own countrymen who take up republicanism, and pleased when the war gives them an excuse to slaughter those who they dislike anyway (the bourgeois) and take their stuff. Their weapons are make-shift, their soldiers are fierce and silent and lethally efficient, and they have the occasional woman in their ranks, who are even more devoted to the cause than the men. It’s all very dramatically compelling, and very, well, Hugo in both its poetry and its sneery sort of prejudice.


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