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Saturday, December 3rd, 2011
7:04 pm - Revolution in Russia today

Dear Friends! In our country today, December 10 begins the revolution. Very much it was inspired by Victor Hugo and well. Tomorrow in all cities in Russia people will gather for protests against the lawlessness of power! Pray for us!


(fraternize with the hurricane)

Thursday, August 26th, 2010
3:21 pm - Marville-ous photos of pre-Haussmann Paris

I can recommend the work of Charles Marville.
There's some excellent examples online on this Paris site and in the Getty.
I was pleased to find a couple of images of the Rue Tirechappe, now vanished under (I think) the Rue de Pont-Neuf (meeting the Rue Saint-Honoré): in the Hugoverse, in the 15C this was the Frollo family home, to which 19-year-old Claude ran from the university, to find his parents dead from plague and baby Jehan crying in his cradle.
(x-post to corinthe)

current mood: geeky

(1 atom | fraternize with the hurricane)

Friday, August 20th, 2010
1:58 pm - Why Disney should have left Victor Hugo alone…

Read this and laugh (or weep).

(x-post to silverwhistle, corinthe)

current mood: WTF?!

(1 atom | fraternize with the hurricane)

1:44 pm - NDdP: stage versions

Some opera and ballet information!
Earlier this year, there was a very odd production in Dresden of Schmidt's Notre Dame, updated to 1930s US, with a Jean Harlow/Roxie Hart-esque Esméralda and Qusimodo looking like an elderly caretaker…Read more...Collapse )In the 1950s, the 19C ballet La Esméralda was given a makeover, with additional music and more book-plot. This variant (which is sometimes called Gudule's Daughter, as it reinstates the Pâquette subplot) has been revived in Moscow at the Stanislavskii Music Theatre.
There's also a Royal Swedish Opera Ballet, Ringaren i Notre-Dame, from which pictures may be seen here.

(x-post to silverwhistle, corinthe)

current mood: amused

(fraternize with the hurricane)

Tuesday, August 17th, 2010
5:59 am - The inspiration for Quasimodo?


UK archivist says uncovers real-life Quasimodo

By Mike Collett-White  Mon Aug 16, 7:57 am ET

LONDON (Reuters Life!) – A British archivist believes he has uncovered the real-life inspiration for French novelist Victor Hugo's mysterious character Quasimodo, the deformed bell ringer of Notre Dame cathedral in Paris.

Adrian Glew, who works on the Tate collection's archives in London, was studying the seven-volume handwritten autobiography of 19th century British sculptor Henry Sibson when he came across a reference to a Frenchman whose nickname was "le bossu," or hunchback.

(1 atom | fraternize with the hurricane)

Monday, September 22nd, 2008
2:12 am - Finally cross-posting this sucker: the trial of Charles Jeanne, part 1

Procès des vingt-deux accusés du Cloître Saint-Méry, évènemens des 5 et 6 juin 1832, suivi de pièces justificatives.

Avant-ProposCollapse )

Première AudienceCollapse )

(1 atom | fraternize with the hurricane)

Sunday, August 3rd, 2008
10:21 pm

So I am in Paris again, for two whole weeks at that, and I have a camera with a gigantic memory card. And you know what that means.

Pictures of most locations that could conceivably be related to Les Mis are already up at Chanvrerie.net, but I intend to make some additions and corrections this year, and this year I also have time to take requests. It can be anything within reason--the Rue de Villette or the street sign of the Rue du Bac, for the musically inclined, or the church of Saint-Jacques-du-Haut-Pas, or the Tour Montparnasse, or whatever you want.

By "within reason," I mean reachable by the Paris Métro or in Montfermeil, not illegal or expensive to photograph, not something I already have photos of, and not impossible to find. The last one really, really depends on location--I could probably find where the Thénardiers' inn was, but not the Convent of the Petit-Picpus. If you're not sure, just ask and I'll tell you if it's not workable.

Related requests are okay too. For example, last year I visited Victor Hugo's tomb in the Panthéon, the museum they made out of his apartments, some museums relating to the original French Revolution, and Saint-Merry, where the real-life barricade of 1832 was built. So if you've got, like, a Vidocq pilgrimage site or something, just let me know. ;)

...and no, I am not going to Digne or Montreuil-sur-Mer this year, so don't even ask. XD

(x-posted to lesmiz, corinthe, prouvaire, and a couple of forums)

(9 atoms | fraternize with the hurricane)

Thursday, February 28th, 2008
12:34 pm - Translation of Chatiments

An ongoing translation of Les Chatiments 

(fraternize with the hurricane)

Saturday, January 5th, 2008
7:36 pm - OED

It's been over a year since someone posted the reference to the OED citing Hugo's origination of the word coleslaw.

I discovered I do have access to the online OED through my local library, here's the direct quote:

Sliced cabbage dressed with salt, pepper, vinegar, etc., eaten either raw or slightly cooked. 1794 Massachusetts Spy 12 Nov. (Th.), A piece of sliced cabbage, by Dutchmen ycleped cold slaw. 1822 J. F. COOPER Spy II. ii. 32 Potatoes, onions, beets, cold-slaw, rice, and all the other minutiæ of a goodly dinner. 1862 tr. Hugo's Misérables III. 499 To leave my whole plateful without touching it! My coleslaugh which was so good. 1871 Lippincott's Mag. Feb. (De Vere), Coldslaw apparently cut with a harrow.  1886 MRS. RORER Philad. Cook Bk. 241 Cold Slaw, 1 quart of cut cabbage, etc... Serve when very cold.

So it appears, while not the first usage, that Wilbour's translation of Hugo was the first to spell it 'cole' instead of 'cold'.  Though, as someone pointed out in the earlier thread, it was probably a mistranslation.

I found two words that can be credited to Hugo in a way, in that they are derived from his characters

1) Gavroche
[Fr., f. the name of a gamin in Victor Hugo's Les Misérables.] 

    A street urchin or gamin, esp. in Paris.

1876 Times 2 Nov. 4/4 A Norwegian gavroche is balancing himself by a miracle of adroitness on the dorsal extremities of the slender shafts. 1882 Pall Mall Gaz. 8 Dec. 4/1 ‘Mo-sieu’..is..pronounced as ‘m'sieu’ in 1882, or, if one wishes to talk as a real gavroche, ‘m'seu’. 1921 Blackw. Mag. Feb. 251/1 Beneath the demure exterior the Parisian gavroche lurked. 1964 Guardian 16 June 9/2 Paris..adopted her as a gavroche of the theatrical boulevards.

2) Quasimodo
[the name of the hunchback in Victor Hugo's novel Notre-Dame de Paris (1831 ) (usually translated as The Hunchback of Notre-Dame); the surfing position is so called on account of the hunched position adopted by the surfer.

A position in which the surfer rides hunched at the front of the board with head down, one arm forward and one arm back; a manoeuvre in which the surfer adopts this position.

1960 Surfer 13 (caption) First the ‘Mysteriouso’..And then the ‘El Telephono’..And Now Micky Munoz Proudly Presents the Forward-Squatting-Left Arm ‘Quasimoto’. 1965 J. POLLARD Surfrider ii. 18 If you are a ‘hot dogger’, you're an expert, you can perform quick turns, head dips, quasimodos. 1970 Stud. in Eng. (Univ. of Cape Town) 1 31 Another form of crouch is the Quasimodo. 2006 Manly Daily (Austral.) (Nexis) 11 Nov. 97 It ended with the American lifeguards putting on a show of cutbacks, plank walking, quasimodos and every other bewildering movement imaginable.

However, the OED likes to quote Hugo (or at least translations of Les Miserables, and Notre Dame de Paris) for secondary or tertiary examples.  A sampling below

Other OED references to Hugo


The fact of being bedazzled; the action of bedazzling. 1806 KNOX & JEBB Corr. I. 295 To the bepuzzlement of the ignorant, and the bedazzlement of the superficial. 1877 V. Hugo's Miserables II. lxxix, All the other historians suffer with a certain bedazzlement in which they grope about.


 trans. To deck with feathers. Hence befeathered ppl. a.  1611 COTGR., Emplumer..befeather..to dresse with feathers. 1635 QUARLES Emblems III. i. 33 (D.) Her dove-befeathered prison. c1850 tr. V. Hugo's Hunchback I i. 1 Some bedizened and befeathered embassy.


That begirds or encloses all round. 1877 F. C. L. WRAXALL Hugo's Miserables V. xviii. 11 The masonry of the begirding drain.


55. carry through. trans. To conduct or bring safely through difficulties, or a crisis; to prosecute to the natural end.
1605 SHAKES. Lear I. iv. 3 My good intent May carry through it selfe to that full issue For which I raiz'd my likenesse. 1832 Blackw. Mag. Jan. 67/2 It is by similar means that conservative meetings..may be carried through in every part of the country. 1863 tr. V. Hugo's Miserables viii. (ed. 7) 163 Impudence had carried him through before now. 1874 Act 37 & 38 Vic. xciv. §10 Such petition shall be presented, published and carried through.


Hence Edenic (i{lm}{sm}d{ope}n{shti}k), a., of or pertaining to Eden; {sm}Edenize v. trans., to make like Eden; to admit into Eden or Paradise; {sm}Edenized ppl. a., {smm}Edeni{sm}zation.

a1618 J. DAVIES Wit's Pilgrim. Niv. (T.) For pure saints edeniz'd unfit. 1850 MRS. BROWNING Poems I. 75 By the memory of Edenic joys Forfeit and lost. 1862 D. WILSON Preh. Man iii. (1865) 22 The moral contrast which the savage presents to our conceptions of Edenic life. 1877 WRAXALL tr. V. Hugo's Miserables IV. v. 4 The Edenization of the world.

However, I think it's great that the first figurative usage of the word, 'genuflect' is the following:

1881 A. AUSTIN in Macm. Mag. XLIII. 406 The poet before whom Mr. Swinburne..bows and bobs and genuflects an almost countless number of times in the course of the paper on which I am commenting{em}to wit, M. Victor Hugo.


(1 atom | fraternize with the hurricane)

Friday, January 4th, 2008
11:59 pm - The Man Who Laughs - on YouTube

I've just discovered that what I believe is the entire 1928 film, The Man Who Laughs, is on YouTube (in eleven 10 minute installments)

Each individual installment can be downloaded to your own computer at KeepVid.com. 

(fraternize with the hurricane)

11:31 pm - Victor Hugo on Women's Rights - 1875

Here's the text of an article that appeared in the New York Times on April 18, 1875:

The Society for the Improvement of the Condition of Women have sent an address to Victor Hugo appealing to him in the name of right, to lend the aid of his valuable voice. The poet replies in the following characteristic letter:

MESDAMES: I have received your address, which does me honor. I am aware of your noble and legitimate demands. In our society, such as it has been made woman suffers. She is right to claim a better fate. I myself am only a conscience, but I understand your rights, and to obtain them is one of the duties of my life. You are, therefore, not wrong to rely on my good-will and assistance. Man was the problem of the eighteenth century; woman is the problem of the nineteenth. And who says woman, says child -- that is, the future. The question thus put appears in all its profundity, and on its solution depends the fate of the supreme social battle. What a strange and anomalous situation! In reality, man depends on you, for woman holds the heart of man. Before the law she is a minor, incapable, without civil action, without political right -- in short, she is nothing; before the family altar she is everything, because she is the mother. The domestic hearth is what she makes it; at home she is the mistress of good and ill. Sovereignty complicated by oppression; woman can do all against man, but nothing for herself. It is imprudent of the law to make her so weak when she is so strong. Let us recognize that weakness and protect it; let us recognize that strength and counsel it. There lies the duty of man, and there is also his interest. No, I shall never cease to say it, the problem is laid down, and it must be solved. She who bears half the burden ought to have half the right. Half of the human race is deprived of equality; it must be given to them. This will be one of the grand glories of our grand century. Let the right of woman counterbalance the right of man -- that is to say, let the laws be placed in conformity with the morals and manners of the country. Accept, mesdames, my respects.

(fraternize with the hurricane)

9:37 pm

Hi members. I have transferred maintaining of this community to 10littlebullets. I have been lazy posting here, and she is pretty energetic and incredibly knowledgeable about Hugo and Les Miz, so I'm sure she will do a good job. I'll probably still make a post sometime about a random Hugo reference I find. I remember when this community was a Yahoo group. Have any of you been around that long? Anyway, happy new year's!

(fraternize with the hurricane)

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2007
12:36 am - May 22nd.

On this 122nd anniversary of Hugo's death, I thought I'd share the cover of a 1950s German translation of "Gavroche" (Gavroche's story told through excerpts from the novel).  The name of the artist is Kurt Zimmermann.

I'm in the process of setting up a gallery of images I've found, many from scanned books in Google Books. (The above isn't there as I'm pretty sure it's not public domain yet.)

(fraternize with the hurricane)

Tuesday, May 15th, 2007
1:18 pm - The Temptation of the Impossible


I don't know if anyone has heard of this new book. Here's a selection from a review in the LA Times:
    ALTHOUGH books about other books abound, there are very few that actually tell us what it is like to read. "The Temptation of the Impossible," Mario Vargas Llosa's book about Victor Hugo's "Les Misérables," is one of these rare confessions. Perhaps because Vargas Llosa is himself an author, a Peruvian rival of the Colombian Gabriel García Márquez, he has the confidence to tell us that his comprehension is sometimes stretched, his attention fluctuates and that when he closes his eyes, only a few memorable scenes from a novel appear before them.

Vargas Llosa calls these hotspots "active craters." In Hugo's epic novel, he picks out the scene in the Paris sewers as the ex-convict Jean Valjean emerges with Marius on his shoulders and also the epic battle on the barricade at La Chanvrerie, in which the street urchin Gavroche dies and Valjean saves the life of Javert, the relentless policeman. The scenes' vitality "flows from them and expands in time and space"; they "dominate the vast landscape of 'Les Misérables.' " The vastness of that landscape, at about 1,200 pages in translation, cannot be ignored. Vargas Llosa admits that the story has a "slow pace," but he makes a good apology for it. Were the story not so long, he writes, it would not be as powerful: "Quantity is one of the ingredients in the quality of a novel."

Link to article

From the book's introduction:

The winter in the boarding school of the Leoncio Prado Military College in Lima that year, 1950, was damp and gray, the routine was numbingly boring, and my life was rather unhappy. The adventures of Jean Valjean, the bloodhound obstinacy of Javert, the warmth of Gavroche, and the heroism of Enjolras blotted out the hostility of the world, turning my depression into enthusiasm during those hours of reading stolen from classes and military training, and transporting me to a world blazing with extreme misfortune, love, courage, happiness, and vile deeds. Revolution, sanctity, sacrifice, prison, crime, men who were supermen, women who were virgins or whores, saintly or wicked, a whole cast of characters shaped by theatricality, euphony, and metaphor. It was a great place to take refuge; this splendid fictional life gave one strength to put up with real life. But the treasures of literature also made real reality seem more impoverished.

Who was Victor Hugo? Having spent the last two years totally immersed in his books and in his time, I now know that I will never know. Jean-Marc Hovasse, the most meticulous of his biographers to date—his biography is, as yet, unfinished—has calculated that a passionate bibliographer of the romantic bard, reading fourteen hours a day, would take twenty years just to read all the books dedicated to the author of Les Misérables that can be found in the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris. Because, after Shakespeare, Victor Hugo has generated across five continents more literary studies, philological analyses, critical editions, biographies, translations, and adaptations of his work than any other Western author.

Link to rest of introduction


Sounds like an interesting book. I'll post if I can track down a copy. You can buy it off of amazon.

(1 atom | fraternize with the hurricane)

Friday, April 6th, 2007
10:42 am - The Man Who Laughs

I was reading an article on the director Guillermo del Toro (Pan's Labyrinth) and I came across an interesting Hugo reference. Apparently his 2001 film, The Devil's Backbone, was inspired by Victor Hugo's novel The Man Who Laughs. That's one Hugo novel I've never read, but the description is really intriguing:

In one of his favourite Victor Hugo novels, The Man Who Laughs, there is a group of men called the Comprachicos, the buyers of children. They make their living by deliberately distorting and disfiguring the young, and then selling them as novelties: servants, beggars or carnival attractions. The title character has a permanent grin carved into his face with a knife. One of their techniques is to grow babies in jars, so that they take on the distorting shape of the containers they are confined in.

"And I think that's what the world does to kids," del Toro says.

"You are born into your family jar and you grow into the shape of it, and the rest of your life you are limping like a motherf---er."

Full article: Unravelling the entrails of the mind

(And if you haven't seen Pan's Labyrinth, it's probably at your dollar theater right now. I highly recommend it!)

(fraternize with the hurricane)

Sunday, March 25th, 2007
1:15 am - love yer brain

Want a print of Victor Hugo's heading exploding? It can be yours.

(fraternize with the hurricane)

Thursday, March 15th, 2007
10:39 am - Lee's Miserables

I have found an 1899 reference to the Confederate Soldiers reading Les Miserables and referring to it as Lee's Miserables. Pickett and His Men, by Lasalle Corbell Pickett (the widow of General Pickett). The section of the memoir contains a glowing account of how much the written word means to a soldier, and in particular, how much a copy of Les Miserables meant. 


(1 atom | fraternize with the hurricane)

Saturday, February 24th, 2007
10:43 am - Napoleon the Little and William Shakespeare

Project Gutenberg released a new Hugo e-text on Feb 14th: Napoleon the Little.

I added it to Victor Hugo Central this morning. (The gutenberg zip file, their one-page HTML version, and a few related quotes from King Leopold of Belgium and a London publisher.)

I am also busy entering William Shakespeare.

"William Shakespeare" was apparently heavily criticized by the French when it was released. Primarily because as a biography of Shakespeare it fails miserably. Hugo spends about 20 pages on Shakespeare's life, and about 280 on his own literary philosophy. Of course, if you're interested in Hugo's literary philosophy, it's an excellent work, with a poor title, and a somewhat strange introduction.

(fraternize with the hurricane)

Saturday, January 13th, 2007
12:19 am - Classic Comics Covers for Notre Dame de Paris

Marvel Classic Comics commits a heinous crime, and turns Esmeralda into a buxom, fair skinned, blonde.

(Fortunately, the travesty is only on the cover, and Inside the comic she is drawn correctly.)
Classics Illustrated has a better cover

Of course, both get the title wrong, but that's the fault of the 1923 Lon Chaney movie.  (I believe that's the first occurrence of the incorrect title)

(1 atom | fraternize with the hurricane)

Friday, January 12th, 2007
7:45 pm - my life is enriched

Here's a useless factoid from a rambling story about plants, that claims that the word "coleslaw" originated with Hugo:

"Have you given any thought to who Mr. Cole was and why he should be honored by having chopped up vegetables named after him? Well, this question is a red herring. The mixture of cabbage, vinegar, salt and pepper was not named after anyone. The word “cole" is derived from the Saxon word “cawel," which came from an earlier Latin word meaning kale, or cabbage. According to the OED, coleslaw (spelled “coleslaugh") was first used in print in 1862 by Victor Hugo in “Les Miserables." (Incidentally, since “slaugh" or “slaw" means a salad made from sliced cabbage, “coleslaw" is redundant.)"


I can't find anything to verify this. Anyone?

(2 atoms | fraternize with the hurricane)

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