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A pure delight. Debbie Zapata The French Revolution was not simply capturing the Bastille and living happily ever after. As with all revolutions, there were unexpected results. Victor Hugo deals with this painful topic in his final novel, 'Ninety-Three. I'm so close to speechless I can only say that every single person on the planet should read this book now. Monsieurouxx An incredibly realistic Painting of the French Revolution.
Some might say "it's not realistic, it's pure fantasy, it's much too lyric an passionate, and much too orientated in favor of the revolutionnaries" - indeed, it's only a novel, BUT it's realistic because it shows every aspects of this revolution, and that's precisely because it's lyric that you can understand it.
A revolution cannot be described by facts, but by presenting the storm, the hates, the men, in one word : by showing that amazing race between opponents, between "men from the old world" the nobles and "men from the new world" revolutionaries: intellectuals and armymen , this race where you'll lose your head at any mistake, because you don't have the right to fail, because if you're weak the King i. If you're not French and believe that the Revolution was all about Robespierre's "terror"; if you believe that it was only a bunch of farmers blindly cutting heads, then read this book, you'll understand how wrong you are.
You'll get the soul of this Revolution. Last but not least, this novel is written in a very epic manner, so it's very pleasant to read.
PS : I don't know if an English translation of the book would be very good, because Victor Hugo is "the" French writer. Pierre E. Loignon Voici mon roman favori de Hugo. Wayne Barrett I have read that the English translation is not nearly as good as the original French but the only French I know is 'French fry', so I had to settle. Not that that is a bad thing because in my opinion this was still a great classic from Hugo.
This was the final work of the author of such masterpieces asLes Miserables andThe Hunchback of Notre Dame, telling of the French revolution of Admittedly, I had never heard of the book and only know about it because I came across an old copy of it in an antique book shop.
And I'm glad I did because it is another wonderful piece of classic literature for my collection. Laura Free download available at Project Gutenberg.
This book has several translations but we found only this one, made by Aline Delano, to be more closer to the original French text. The original file was provided by Hathi Trust Digital Library. Critical Note by Robert L. VII, Jefferson Press, ?
In Notre Dame, Les Miserables, The Toilers of the Sea and The Man Who Laughs, one after another, there has been some departure from the traditional canons of romance; but taking each separately, one would have feared to make too much of these departures, or to found any theory upon what was per- haps purely accidental. The appearance of Ninety-Three has put us out of the region of such doubt. Like a doctor who has long been hesitating how to classify an epidemic malady, we have come at last upon a case so well marked that our uncertainty is at an end.
It is a novel built upon a sort of enigma," which was at that date laid before revolutionary France, and which is presented by Hugo to Tellmarch, to Lantenac, to Gauvain, and very terribly to Cimourdain, each of whom gives his own solution of the question, clement or stern, according to the temper of his spirit.
That enigma was this: "Can a good action be a bad action? Does not he who spares the wolf kill the sheep? And something in the same way, although one character, or one set of characters, after another comes to the front and occupies our attention for the moment, we never identify our interest with any of these temporary heroes nor regret them after they are withdrawn. Page I was in Paris on the 10th of August. I gave Westerman a drink. Everything went with a rush in those days!
I saw Louis XVI. You just listen now. To think that on the 13th of January he was roasting chestnuts and enjoying himself with his family! When he was made to lie down on what is called the see-saw, he wore neither coat nor shoes; only a shirt, a quilted waistcoat, gray cloth breeches, and gray silk stockings.
I saw all that with my own eyes. He has been intrusted to our care; we must save him. He is needed for the throne of France. He is a great general. He was to land with us in France; now he must land without us. If we save the head we save all.
What then is Revolution? It is the victory of France over Europe, and of Paris over France. Hence the immensity of that terrible moment '93, grander than all the rest of the century. Nothing could be more tragic. Europe attacking France, and France attacking Paris,--a drama with the proportions of an epic. Page The Gironde, speaking in the person of Isnard, temporary president of the Convention, had uttered this appalling prophecy: "Parisians, beware!
Brief and terrible was the breath of life in those days. Page Revolution is a manifestation of the unknown. You may call it good or evil, according as you aspire to the future or cling to the past; but leave it to its authors.
It would seem to be the joint product of great events and great individualities, but is in reality the result of events alone. Events plan the expenditures for which men pay the bills. Events dictate, men sign. Page "Liberty, equality, fraternity,--these are the dogmas of peace and harmony.
Why give them so terrible an aspect? What are we striving to accomplish? To bring all nations under one universal republic.
Well, then, let us not terrify them. Of what use is intimidation? Neither nations nor birds can be attracted by fear. We must not do evil that good may come.
We have not overturned the throne to leave the scaffold standing. Death to the king, and life to the nations. Let us strike off the crowns, but spare the heads. Revolution means concord, and not terror. Schemes of benevolence arc but poorly served by merciless men. Amnesty is to me the grandest wordin human language.
I am opposed to the shedding of blood, save as I risk my own. Still, I am but asoldier; I can do no more than fight. Yet if we are to lose the privilege of pardoning, of what use is itto conquer?
Let us be enemies, if you will, in battle; but when victory is ours, then is the time to bebrothers. Far from it. The dawn of '89 came to affirm those higher truths, and not to deny them. The destruction of bastiles signified the deliverance of humanity; the overthrow of feudalism was the signal for the building up of the family. Page The genius of France was made up from that of the entire continent, and each of its provinces represents aspecial virtue of Europe; the frankness of Germany is to be found in Picardy, the generosity of Swedenin Champagne, the industry of Holland in Burgundy, the activity of Poland in Languedoc, the grave dignityof Spain in Gascony, the wisdom of Italy in Provence, the subtlety of Greece in Normandy, the fidelity of Switzerland in Dauphiny.
Page "Grand events are taking form. No one can comprehend the mysterious workings of revolution at the present time. Behind the visible achievement rests the invisible, the one concealing the other. The visible work seems cruel; the invisible is sublime. At this moment I can see it all very clearly.
It is strange and beautiful. We have been forced to use the materials of the Past. Hence this wonderful ' Beneath a scaffolding of barbarism weare building the temple of civilization.
Contundente frase que de nuevo inclina la balanza hacia el otro lado. Sebastien What an amazing novel. Beautifully crafted, I love the narrative, with the characters standing in as avatars for ideas, and interplay with symmetry and contrasts between the various characters and ideas. Personally I love the stylization of the writing, lyrical and poetic, and so much fantastic imagery really this part is just awesome!
Sometimes the 19th century novel goes a bit bonkers with meandering descriptions of geography, place, customs, objects.
Like I said though, this book only has a few such moments, and usually when this is happening it involves a broader metaphor that seems to make sense for developing the story and message of the book.
This story takes place with the historical backdrop of the French Revolution year , as the Terror is getting under way.
It pits two opposing forces, revolutionary and reactionary. Progressive vs traditional. Duality is featured throughout the book. And yet there is nuance to the political analysis and views. Of course this wasn't all cut and dry, but there were interesting linkages going on, and internecine struggles for supremacy between the subgroups on each side. The story seems to capture an essence of the times, intertwining legend with history and in doing so approaching a kind of truth that can be hard for one or the other to achieve on its own.
This seems to be a theme with Hugo, or at least a manifestation of his philosophy, by combining legend story with history we can approach a greater truth. Hugo strikes me as a humanist who likely had deep sympathies for progressive ideals but he also fairly represents how high ideals can lead to the greatest crimes, with idealists leveraging the excuse of noble ends to justify execrable means.
This critique is applied to both reactionaries and revolutionaries in this story as we see various characters in both camps guilty of this, some of whom stoop to the lowest basest most cynical self-serving justifications for their commitment of crimes against their fellow man.
But there is nuance and subtlety, both in the writing and also the representation of the characters. Some characters are presented in a more favorable light than others, but never as pure black or white entities. The moral dilemmas the characters face are great, each individual is anchored by their various strain of idealism. These ideals get smashed and tested against the vortex of reality with crosscurrents tugging the individuals this way and that, each struggle further revealing inner character and nuance of each person I would recommend this book for two reasons: first off the magnificent quality of the writing and storytelling.
And I could add a 3rd: experiencing Hugo and his sublime sensibility and ideas. Cannot wait to read more. It is ornamented a certain way, grand and architectured to a high degree, so certainly not for everyone I'm guessing he might be one of those love it or hate it kind of writers for people , but it appeals to me and my tastes!
I think I serendipitously read them in the "right" order, which happens to be in publication order: The Chouans, by Balzac, La Vendee by Trollope, and this by Hugo. They each have a somewhat different perspective.
The middle part of this was a slog, but it was sandwiched between two parts that were compelling. The sloggy part felt more like nonfiction and included lots of names with which I was unfamiliar, but were probably part of any history learned in school in France. I suspect many - both US and others -might just as easily be unfamiliar with the minor players of the US Revolution.
Apollonius Rhodius. Translated by Seaton, R. Loeb Classical Library Volume The Argonauts' tale was always a favourite of mine thanks to the movie , and I was excited to find the original text has the rhythm of the film. First class adventure, although it would have been nice Apollonius Rhodius had gone deeper into some aspects he judges non vital to his story. It was a major literary product of the Hellenistic civilization that thrived in Alexandria, Egypt, during the reign of the Ptolemies, Alexander the Greats successors.
March of the heroes to the port: Jarovell of Jason and Alcimede. BOOK 1. Jason and King Pelias 2. Assembly of the Argonauts 3. Women of Lemnos 4. Cyzicus and the Gegenees 5. Hylas and the Naiads. BOOK 2. Wrestling of Amycus 2. Phineus and the Harpies 3. The Clashing Rocks 4.