Final thoughts on Les Misérables
Today on Facebook: For someone who wrote with an element of disdain about Les Misérables last week, it may be that I should have finished with the book and the latest film offering on that note. However, my research into Les Misérables led me to an old version of Slate’s Culture Brow Beat where I found an article that questioned the length of Hugo’s novel. Not wanting to distract from last weeks post, and wondering how to use the article, I placed it here¹.
I haven’t read the book or seen the film yet but feel that I now have do both, just in case I’m invited to a soirée where intellectual foreplay is important and my contribution to the conversation may — perhaps — even provide ‘le clou de la soirée‘.
The link on the image below is to an article aimed at women but which, to my mind, offers gender neutral advice on the subject of intellectual foreplay. On the other hand, I may be over-compensating for my anima.
Those with a deep commitment to their anima and animus may care to read this article in the FT. Who knows when information such as this, and the introduction of anima and animus into the conversation at a soirée, doesn’t become the highlight of the evening.
But I digress: back to Les Misérables and the article Why Is Les Misérables So Long?¹ by Troy Patterson that I found in Slate’s Culture Brow Beat. The article begins with a metaphor in which Patterson relates the reading of Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables to that of scaling a literary mountain. Writing that the journal of his attempt to scale this magnum opus is on behalf of prospective readers tempted by the upcoming film adaptation to read the novel. His assumption that viewing the film adaptation will encourage more than a minute prospective readership is something that I very much doubt, and those that may read the novel certainly won’t be encouraged to do so by his metaphor on a metaphor.
He writes that from a modest mountain hut on page 251—the conclusion of the first of five parts— he is somewhat tempted to keep elaborating on the climbing metaphor that he has introduced. Partly because the novel begins at the edge of the Alps in the early 1800s (with the story of Myriel the Bishop of Digne in the department of Basses-Alpes) and partly because the novel sets a certain example, in that while the novel’s opening sections offer copious evidence of Hugo’s gifts for tartness and pith they are also evidence his copiousness.
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