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Eponine as stalker with a crush

Whoa. I hadn't quite grasped the extent to which Eponine really is the crazy jealous stalker girl.

...an idea flashed through her mind, to fling herself into that death, as she would have done into any other, and to thrust Marius into it also. ...She died with the tragic joy of jealous hearts who drag the beloved being into their own death, and who say: "No one shall have him!"

In short, she leads Marius to the barricade after *withholding* a letter Cosette tried to send to him. Finding Cosette's house abandoned, he plunges into despair and is willing to die. Which indeed is an overreaction on his part, and Eponine does at least take a bullet for him and finally give him the letter, which I suppose evens out her final tally. But still. Not exactly cool, girl.

How come she gets all the good songs in the musical, dang it? Poor maligned Cosette.

In other news, I love that Victor Hugo is so precise about addresses, because it enables us to Google-Street-View them and peek at what's there today. Cosette and Valjean's house, containing the garden where Cosette and Marius meet in secret for a couple of idyllic months, is evidently at 55 Rue Plumet. Marius lives at 16 Rue de la Verrerie with his friend Courfeyrac. Those streets are both still there, not that they look much like they would have circa 1830. (I could find the Rue Plumet, but not a No. 55, and no gardens resembling Cosette's.) The barricade upon which they fight is in Rue de la Chanvrerie, and that confuses Google Maps, so the name probably got changed.


( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 26th, 2012 06:40 pm (UTC)
They wrote Eponine as a much more sympathetic character for the musical.

I'd never thought of looking up the places with Google Street View. I've just googled Rue de la Chanvrerie to see if I could find what happened to it. I found this. It was destroyed and replaced by the Rue Rambuteau.
Jun. 26th, 2012 10:38 pm (UTC)
Very cool site! Glad someone's made a Les-Mis-site tour guide I can use for whatever future year I'm lucky enough to visit Paris.

I love virtual-visiting story locations through Google Street View. Almost makes up for my not getting enough exciting vacations.
Jun. 27th, 2012 07:14 pm (UTC)
It's good for visiting places you have already visited in real life, or are going to visit. I just looked up the street where I stayed in Jerusalem a couple of years ago.
Jun. 28th, 2012 05:21 pm (UTC)
Agreed. To think, we used to have to spend hours poring over actual paper maps! :)
Jun. 26th, 2012 09:19 pm (UTC)
Well, that was before Haussmann, so it's a bit of a surprise that as many addresses as that still exist. Rue de la Chanvrerie is now the Rue Rambuteau, or part of it; Rue de la Chanvrerie and several other streets were combined to make the Rue Rambuteau. It (Rue de la Chanvrerie) had already been renamed by the time Hugo wrote Les Miserables, but not at the time in which the story is set. Paris-through-the-ages is very big with him; he wrote Les Miserables right smack in the middle of Haussmann's exercise of creative destruction, so no doubt the historical geography of the city was much on his mind. Hugo's mind, I mean, although for all I know Haussmann's too.

For anyone truly dedicated to tracking down historical Parisian addresses, a good place to start is here: http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Histoire_de_l%27urbanisme_parisien. (All in French - je suis desole.)
Jun. 26th, 2012 10:49 pm (UTC)
His meticulous historical-geography details are part of the reason I'm glad the unabridged does exist. I know very little about the layout of Paris (then or now), or Haussmann or his changes, but I had to assume a lot had changed in the past 180 years. So it was indeed a pleasant surprise to find there even was still a Rue Plumet and Rue de la Verrerie (that building at No. 16 looks like it might in fact be the same one standing in the early 1800s).

I've gotten so obsessed in my re-read, it is a matter of great desolation to me that I have never been there and, more to the point, am not there right now. Not that I know enough French to get by, were I there.

Sidenote on the language: the translation I'm reading uses "thou" for "tu" on occasion, to set it apart from "you" for "vous." And I see why they made that choice, in that "thou" did used to be the informal 2nd-person singular in English; but the trouble is, it truly doesn't feel informal anymore. To me, and probably to most people, "thou" feels like someone's gone all Shakespearean on you--i.e., *more* formal. So, if I were the translator, I'd have taken some other direction. Perhaps just the occasional footnoted or italicized "tu" vs. "vous" for the passages in which the distinction mattered, because English speakers can probably grasp that concept better than an awkward "thou" translation.
Jun. 27th, 2012 03:28 am (UTC)
Alternatively, they could go the route of Hans Brinker and have a rambling paragraph (or footnote on first use) explaining the "informality" of "thou". (I was a kid when I first read Hans Brinker, and I was thrown by the kindly didactic narrator informing me that the mother used the old-fashioned intimate "thou" with her loved ones. First I'd ever heard of it.)
Jun. 28th, 2012 05:24 pm (UTC)
Yeah, it's a confusing choice from the modern point of view. We mostly hear it in Quaker speech, Shakespeare, or other decidedly antiquated settings. "Informal" or "intimate" is not the first thing that comes to mind with "thou."
Jun. 27th, 2012 04:56 am (UTC)
On a tangent, and lest anyone suspect us of erudition, I've also been waiting for your reaction to The Avengers.
Jun. 28th, 2012 05:23 pm (UTC)
Ah, that's easy: I haven't seen it yet. These days I almost never get around to seeing things until they're on DVD. But I do look forward to it--have heard almost entirely good things.

I think Joss' "Much Ado About Nothing" is coming out this summer too (starring Fred and Wesley). Should be fun.

In the meantime, I might have to channel my obsession into a super-condensed Les Misérables. (Husband: "Condensed...so, that would run to about 120 pages?")
Jun. 29th, 2012 02:06 am (UTC)
You'll like it. It's the Joss Whedon of Buffy and Dr. Horrible, and not of the train wreck that was Dollhouse or even of the near-miss that was Firefly. I think it would be OK to take the kids; we took our five-year-old, and he loved it. Plenty of other little kids, including some of his classmates, were in the theater. There's plenty of violence, but it's very cartoonish and not likely to lead to any nightmares.

Jun. 29th, 2012 05:52 pm (UTC)
Good to know! I have to confess the combination of Joss and Robert Downey Jr. sounds too entertaining to miss.
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )