Victor Hugo: Romancier de l’Abîme
Travailleurs de la mer
- Author: editor J. Hiddleston
- Title: Victor Hugo, Romancier de l’Abîme (essays)
- Published: 2002
- List Reading Challenges 2018
- Monthly reading planning
- Here is the list of the French Books Read.
- I have included reviews of books 2017 – 2018.
- Perhaps you can find a book you’d like to read!
- If you are interested reading any books by Victor Hugo
- ..it is always nice to have some back round information
- …you might not know!
- I’m reading Les Miserables at the moment
- …and want to read Hugo’s
- Dernier jour d’un condamné
- Travailleurs de la mer
- Here are a few notes I made after reading these essays.
Structure: 11 essays
7 essays in French
4 essays in English
Ch 2: Dernier jour d’un condamné
- Victor Hugo abandons ‘romanticisme noir’
- …in Bug-Jargal and Han d’Island.
- ..for romantic realism in Dernier jour d’un condamné.
- Hugo creates a character
- who presents arguments against capital punishment. (voice of V Hugo)
- Hugo uses the first person narrative.
- Trivia:…character never reveals the crime committed
- Trivia:…character reveals sarcastic bravoure
- ….rather than remorse for his crime.
Ch 6: Travailleurs de la mer
- In this chapter Delphine Glees draws my attention
- not only to Hugo’s writing Les Travalleurs de la mer
- but also to the drawing he made to accompany the book.
- Drawings do not represent the reality
- …but the fluctuating conditions of the sea and ships.
- Hugo stresses the impossibility of remaining stable in the world.
V. Hugo was also an artist
Ch 8: L’Homme qui rit
- This was a difficult chapter to understand
- because I have not read Hugo’s L’Homme qui rit.
- In this work Hugo uses costumes to reflect
- the personalities of the characters
- …and at times a sense of danger.
- Clothes are iridescent, opaque, white, black
- …and at time sparkling with lies!
- Themes Hugo often uses are:
- Gullibility (crédulité) of people (easily fooled)
- Poke fun at the grotesque – Quasimodo- in
- Notre-Dame de Paris …to forget their own misery.
- Manipulation of the aristocracy
- …sometimes court jesters are smarter than the king!
Ch 10: Barriers
- Hugo is fascinated by barriers…they are
- fragile, arbitrary and at times not ‘watertight’. (étanché)
- Barriers of the elements: Travailleurs de a mer
- Barriers of the social classes: Les Mis and Quatrevingt-treize
- Barriers that keep things out and keep thing in: Les Mis
- These frontiers exert pressure on the exterior and interior.
- The struggle between these frontiers will help humanity to advance.
- Hugo is interested in the shells people wear…their homes,
- their geographical shell (land of birth)
- …that may reveal their true identity.
- Hugo spends a great deal of time describing shells:
- constructions, edifices, scaffolds, walls, clothes that people wear.
- Shelters with barriers can be found in Les Mis:
- Gorgeau’s shack, the Petit-Picups convent, the house on rue Plumet
- …and ’l’éléphant de la Bastille.
Ch 11: Suicide
- Suicide is widespread in Hugo’s novels…
- …with the exception of Dernier jour d’un condamné.
- Some say Hugo’s obsession with suicide
- stems from the trauma of his brother’s suicide.
- Javert: commits suicide in Les Mis
- Valjean: places himself in a potentially suicidal position ( on the barricades)
- Trivia: Dante places suicides in the 7th circle of hell:
- … above Judas but beneath heretics and murderers.
- Suicide: the character is in an intolerable position
- no other way to make amends
- no other way of fulfilling a patriotic duty
- no other way of remaining faithful to one’s principles
- no other way of avoiding dishonour
- Javert: suicide represents
- the triumph of the spirit against the letter of the law.
- the triumph of humanity and love
- …against the blind and rigid principle.
- This book was like a box of chocolates
- …you never know what you’re going to get!
- Not having read all the works of Victor Hugo
- …some of the references went over my head.
- But I did manage to lean one or two things.
- The tone of the book is academic.
- Personally I think some of the
- illustrious authors still need to ask themselves:
- Is this really good writing?
- Chapter 9 by Yves Gohin was an example.
- His analysis is impressive
- …but his style of writing left much to be desired.
- Gohin creates never-ending sentences that are
- impossible to read and grasp his concepts.
- He uses too many independent clauses.
- Gohin had something worthwhile to say
- …but his thoughts ramble clumsily from one to other
- …using sentence fragments that
- left ‘this reader’ exhausted and confused.