genarti: Fountain pen lying on blank paper, nib in close focus. ([misc] ink on the page)
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Time for chapter 2.2.3, "Tresaillement des fibres profondes," variously translated as "The Thrill of Hidden Chords" and "A Stirring of the Inmost Nerves."

Date: 2014-05-16 10:35 am (UTC)
thjazi: Sketch of goofy smiling Enjolras (Default)
From: [personal profile] thjazi
Suddenly Hugo's Historical OC is hanging out with his RPF crew. I honestly did not see that coming, I expected Cimourdain to be operating at a certain remove from the whole thing. But NOPE he just walks into the Cafe du Portent and I find that inexplicably hilarious.

Not so funny: the casual discussion of Killing The Vendée.Cimourdain's quite properly horrified by the idea of Lantenac killing "the women"--and apparently Michelle's story has made it to Paris--but then the whole little council of four here turns around and derides Gauvain's willingness to spare the wives and daughters of aristocrats, or nuns, or priests--and Cimourdain, at least in my translation, has JUST said again that he's a priest before they get into the topic, and still goes along with the kill 'em all discussion. It seems like the Vendée is everyone's firebreak; the front line for everyone else's concerns, and of no concern to anyone else on its own account. Poor, poor Vendée.

Aaand we've got the Inexorable cropping up again. That word, and the whole conversation in this chapter, and Cimourdain being sent to watch Gauvain, and wow, I think I see the shape of this story now and I DO NOT LIKE THIS THING, this is gonna be BAD.

Date: 2014-05-17 05:49 pm (UTC)
primeideal: Multicolored sideways eight (infinity sign) (Default)
From: [personal profile] primeideal
"In times of revolution, priests are melted up into men, as bells into money and cannons." What an image. So are priests and men made out of the same materials beforehand, but turn out to be different things? Does turning bells into money just worsen the inflation problem? I’ve heard songs about dreams of peace, "melting bullets into liberty bells," seems a bit of a downer to go the other way when revolution should be a time for progress.

Cimourdain is like “okay, Lantenac’s a problem, let’s kill him” and comes up with a list of steps, while at every stage Robespierre’s like “way ahead of you, dude.” Did Robespierre and the RPF gang come up with the brilliant idea of “let’s kill Lantenac,” or was that left to the military leader in charge? (If so…well, he’s just working from the same playbook as Cimourdain! ;) )

"I am a priest; all the same, I believe in God."

"God has gone out of fashion."

"I believe in God," said Cimourdain, unmoved.

"All the same," "out of fashion," I like the wryness of these turns of phrase. (Someone’s already mentioned that Hugo uses belief in God as a marker for characters you’re supposed to sympathize with, the religious structures of the era notwithstanding—watch for a nonexample of this later on.)

"a ladder is needed." Only Hugo can subtly allude to coming events with a stupid pun about some obscure historical figure.

"And he doesn’t want any one but himself to beat Lantenac," continued Robespierre. "The misfortune of the Vendéan war lies in such rivalries as these…" Him=Léchelle here, he’s jealous of the youngster because he wants to beat Lantenac himself? There are going to be lots of misfortunes in the Vendee, but "no I want to do the honor, get out of my way" doesn’t seem to be a major motivating force.

"Opinions concerning this young man are divided. Léchelle wants to have him shot. Prieur de la Marne wants to make him adjutant-general." Divided opinions is a bit of an understatement. But very true. Prieur de la Marne is the guy who wrote the "Wanted: Lantenac" sign from the first part, so at least he and the young man are getting along.

"Gauvain!" he exclaimed.

Marat noticed Cimourdain’s pale face.

"The Viscount Gauvain!" repeated Cimourdain.

<- Basically Lantenac’s reaction, in a slightly different context. No doubt Cimourdain does not appreciate being paralleled with Lantenac.

"The Revolutionary Calendar, called the Civil Calendar, was not in existence legally at this period, and was not adopted by the Convention, according to the proposition of Romme, till the fifth of October, 1793." So in a book about 1793, the republicans are actually calling it the "year II." But last chapter we saw Danton defend himself against Marat’s jibes by citing all the dates he’d participated in. And Robespierre mentioned "it takes eighteen hundred years to root out a monarchy," citing the Christian calendar even amid bitter mixed feelings about the role Christianity should play in the new French state.

"You can make Gauvain general or send him to the scaffold." <-I’m sure Léchelle and/or Prieur de la Marne would love to weigh in here, too. ;)

Also, what about that chapter title? It’s also translated as “A Stirring of the Inmost Nerves,” which seems a little more direct…there’s not a lot that can rattle Cimourdain emotionally, yet maybe this assignment has done just that.

I think “The Thrill of Hidden Chords” sounds much cooler, though. But as a bonus level on Guitar Hero, not a historical RPF fic. ;)

Date: 2014-05-19 01:18 am (UTC)
bobbiewickham: Kalinda Sharma of The Good Wife (Default)
From: [personal profile] bobbiewickham
Cimourdain is acting like a counterbalance to Marat here. Marat is the Voice of the People: the “people” meaning those represented by the Evêché, the least refined, the least respectable, the least willing to compromise. Marat is about to leave, and Danton and Robespierre feel a “frisson” when he does, because he is like an eccentric prophet of the people and his leaving is like a curse. Losing him is losing the people. But then Cimourdain shows up, and he’s every bit as much the Voice of the People as Marat. In fact, more so: Marat fears the Evêché even while he allies with it. I love the aside about how each revolutionary has to be uneasy with the ones who are more extreme than he is—and to be able to distinguish which demands come from principle and which from covetousness. Cimourdain shows up and tells Marat he’s wrong, and affirms Robespierre’s fears about the Vendée threat. He swings the balance back from where it had been, in Marat’s favor, by throwing his rhetorical weight behind Robespierre. Did Laurent Basse deliberately let Cimourdain in because he didn't like the way the conversation was going? He was instructed to let in members of the Evêché, but I wonder if there was personal discretion involved.

Of course, he himself is thrown off-balance after hearing Gauvain’s name at the end.

As soon as I saw that Cimourdain was a priest at Lantenac’s house, I guessed that Lantenac was the great-uncle of the child Cimourdain raised, the great-uncle who fled. I also guessed that the mysterious “Gauvain,” whose signature was on the republican alert of Lantenac’s arrival and identity, and who commands the Vendée battalion against Lantenac’s forces, was the child Cimourdain raised. His child is too merciful by Cimourdain’s standards, by Robespierre’s and Danton’s and Marat’s standards. Which means that, by Cimourdain’s principles, Gauvain is coming perilously close to treason. Uh-oh. I’m remembering the royalists talking about the royalist dude who killed his republican son. Gauvain would appear to be caught in the crossfire between Lantenac and Cimourdain, both possibly willing to kill him for ideological treachery. Cimourdain is both shrewd and right to say that he has to be particularly strict with the noble republican commander, because if a priest is supervising a noble, that’s going to make the people especially suspicious, and for good reason.

I note that Cimourdain calls Marat “tu,” while Danton, Robespierre, and Marat were vous-ing each other (except at the very end when Marat was being even more insulting).
Danton makes fun of Léchelle by turning his name into a pun on “l’échelle” or “the ladder.” Hugo cannot resist his puns.


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