genarti: Fountain pen lying on blank paper, nib in close focus. ([misc] ink on the page)
[personal profile] genarti posting in [community profile] club93
And now, we're to 3.2.1! (Or... 3.1.1, depending on your version, but we're still going with the French edition's numbering.) "Plusquam civilia bella," another Latin title, which means all the versions keep it the same, plus or minus some capitalization and sticking a space into "plusquam." Discuss away!

Date: 2014-06-06 04:27 pm (UTC)
primeideal: Multicolored sideways eight (infinity sign) (Default)
From: [personal profile] primeideal
I Googled, and it looks like it's from the "Pharsalia" or "Bellum civile," by Lucan. "The struggle between Caesar and Pompey was an even greater nefas than civil war (plus quam civilia) because the opposing generals were related by marriage (Pompey was Caesar's son-in-law by his earlier marriage to the latter's daughter Julia)." http://uts.cc.utexas.edu/~silver/Lucan/lucan-poem.html

So, of course, when our stranger hears that Lantenac and Gauvain are fighting, his reaction is "Yes, it is more than civil war, it is domestic war." And he can speak Latin, because he's talented like that! ;)

Date: 2014-06-06 04:20 pm (UTC)
primeideal: Multicolored sideways eight (infinity sign) (Default)
From: [personal profile] primeideal
"Ah! soon there will be no more posts in France. There are no more horses. A horse worth three hundred francs brings six hundred, and fodder is high." <- So the economics stuff (inflation, etc.) going on in Paris has had an effect out in the provinces, too.

"My sabre and my pistols." <- Haha, nice one-liner. The "horses have a right to be tired" is also sort of funny, in a dramatic way.

"You see, citizen, this is how it is. In the cities and the large towns we are for the Revolution, in the country they are against it; that is to say, in the cities they are French, in the villages they are Breton." <- So the innkeeper includes himself as part of the "we" of the revolution. He knows that the traveller is wearing revolutionary clothing, so maybe he wants to suck up to him? "Oh, no, I’m not like those peasants who will judge you for your cockade…" Make the traveller feel safe? Could be anything.

"Not all," interrupted the cavalier. <- It’s a little amusing which parts of this feel the most relevant today. Not all priests!
"And, then, as luck would have it, this Lantenac, on bis arrival, while massacring a lot of prisoners, had caused two women to be shot, one of whom had three children who had been adopted by a battalion from Paris." This is a great "as-you-know-Bob" speech. Hugo doesn’t even care anymore about infodumping (except for one non-dumped piece of info…)

"Tumba Beleni, the tomb of Belus, of Bel, of Belial, of Beelzebub." <- You just get this wall-of-text summary of book one, and your response is an etymological rant?! This is kind of adorably dorky.

"It is evident that to them Saint Michael is the Royalist general, and Beelzebub is the patriot commander; but if there is a devil, it is surely Lantenac, and if there is an angel it is Gauvain. Won’t you take something, citizen?" <- We’ve got Michael, the army-leading angel, namedropped in Les Mis, of course—a good contrast to the forces of evil, but subservient to God’s even greater goodness which will ultimately transcend war. I found the Wikipedia page specifically referencing Michael in Catholic teaching useful: Not only is the angel a war leader, but he’s also seen as being a guardian of the church (and so revered and associated with Lantenac by the peasants, who see their church coming under fire) and responsible for souls at death and judgment day.

"That is just it," replied the cavalier. <- Very subtle, Hugo. Actually, if this was an opportunity for the mysterious cavalier stranger dude to meet up with someone like his own son, perhaps whom he hasn’t seen in many years, I’d have expected a little more positive excitement about the prospect. But, circumstances are grave, etc.

"After all, a priest may have children." <- I’m not sure what the circumstances he’s referring to in 18th-century France are. But I enjoy the innkeeper, this time around. He’s just trying to deal with this weirdo and it’s like, "uh, are you a priest? You can speak, like, Latin and stuff, but, uh…I mean no offense either way, but…ah forget it I’ll just mutter under my breath, this is awkward."

"Go to the right!"

He went to the left.

This probably works on a political level too.
Edited Date: 2014-06-06 04:29 pm (UTC)

3.2.1: Plus Quam Civilia Bella

Date: 2014-06-11 12:58 am (UTC)
bobbiewickham: Kalinda Sharma of The Good Wife (Default)
From: [personal profile] bobbiewickham

Cimourdain rides through Brittany with a big old tricolor cockade. This is not recklessness or stupidity. Cimourdain knows and appreciates the danger. No, this is a conscious risk taken because Cimourdain highly values pride, or honor, or honesty, or some combination of those things; he disdains the idea of hiding his colors out of prudence. He has his sword and pistols, and that helps, but he can still be outnumbered and surrounded. Yet, for all his revolutionary flag-waving, he’s obviously a priest, and the innkeeper can identify him as one.

The exchanges between Gauvain and Lantenac are oddly hilarious, as is the innkeeper’s description of the exchanges as “pleasantries.” They both promise to kill each other, but what a difference! Lantenac is formal, polite, wordy, makes a point to emphasize both rank and familial relationship, uses incongruous courtesies like talking about how he “has the honor to inform” Gauvain that he’ll kill him if he has the “good fortune” to seize his person, and is almost poetic in his description of how he’ll kill Gauvain: he says he’ll have him “beautifully” shot with an arquebus (a type of gun).

Gauvain is terse and doesn’t waste words: if he takes Lantenac, he’ll have him shot. That’s it. Rank and family don’t matter, they’re just Gauvain and Lantenac. There is no honor in informing Lantenac of this, nor is there any point in pretending there’s an honor to it. He’s just informing him.

The warnings are posted facing each other, as if glaring at each other.

It’s all very funny, and then Cimourdain bows in the direction of Gauvain’s poster, and it is no longer funny, it is suddenly poignant. We’re told that the peasants call this a battle between Michael and Beelzebub (shades of Les Mis and Enjolras), but while the peasants think Gauvain is Beelzebub and Lantenac is Michael, the innkeeper thinks it’s the other way around. I’m starting to see what @edwarddespard meant when she crack-theorized that Enjolras was a reincarnation of both Gauvain and Cimourdain, as Enjolras also gets the Michael comparison. But we know what happens to Enjolras, and we know the heartbreak of being Michael.

The innkeeper’s theory of the war is interesting: rural peasants vs. urban bourgeois. Accurate, or not? I will need to read more French Revolution history to find out, though it seems to erase the urban working class completely, and perhaps also the peasants who did things like raid granaries.

Cimourdain goes straight to Dol, despite the innkeeper’s warnings, because he wants to save something as precious as his son. Is that almost-son Gauvain, or is it the Republic to which he wants to be father and husband? Both, obviously, but it’s equally obvious that Cimourdain will have to choose between them at some point.

Here’s my THOROUGHLY UNSPOILED prediction for the end of the book: Lantenac, Cimourdain and Gauvain all die on the same guillotine, after Cimourdain reports Gauvain to the Committee of Public Safety but then chooses to die with him in a fit of Romantic remorse.

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