sophia_sol: drawing of Combeferre, smiling and holding up a finger like he's about to explain something (Default)
Ages and ages ago, @hernaniste on tumblr made a post offering to share a copy of her thesis with anyone interested. The thesis is about Les Miserables and religion and it is GREAT, hot damn. What a delightful piece of academic literature to read. I don't have anything intelligent or insightful to say in response, but if you are a person at all interested in the intersection of those topics, highly recommended! It has some excellent insights, and I now know a lot more about perspectives on christianity in revolutionary-era France than I did before. And also dang I just love Les Mis forever and how it's endlessly accessible for new ways to engage with it because there's just so much going on.

I'm not naming the thesis here because hernaniste didn't in her post but if you're interested I'm guessing you can probably still message her and ask for a copy!
sophia_sol: drawing of Combeferre, smiling and holding up a finger like he's about to explain something (Default)
Sooooo turns out I never actually did an announcement post for the fic I wrote ages ago for a Les Miserables exchange!


some flowers on earth, and all the stars in the sky (730 words) by sophia_sol
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Les Misérables - Victor Hugo
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Cosette Fauchelevent & Père Fauchelevent
Characters: Cosette Fauchelevent, Père Fauchelevent, Jean Valjean
Additional Tags: Fix-It, Families of Choice, platonic Convent Husbands a little

Cosette worried about Fauchelevent too, and during her free hour would often hover over him to anxiously tell him that he was surely feeling better today; and Fauchelevent would always agree.

Also! I was given an absolutely delightful fic written for me by Melannen!

Le Comte d'Barbarie (1845 words) by melannen
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Les Misérables - Victor Hugo
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Baptistine Myriel & Sister Simplice
Characters: Baptistine Myriel, Sister Simplice, Sister Perpetue, Père Fauchelevent, Jean Valjean, Valjean's Guinea Pig
Additional Tags: Madeleine Era, Christianity, Epistolary, Convent Husbands, guinea pigs

The news from M-sur-M, where all the men are mysterious, all the women are virtuous (especially the ones who aren't) and all the domesticated rodents have complicated inner lives.


Nov. 19th, 2013 08:43 pm
sophia_sol: drawing of Combeferre, smiling and holding up a finger like he's about to explain something (Default)
On this reread of Les Miserables I’m paying a lot more attention to the money than last time because it is INTERESTING. Also I happen to be in the middle of Hugo glorifying Marius’ voluntary poverty and I am annoyed so I am writing this instead of continuing to read.

Here are some of the things I have noticed. Probably I’m not saying anything surprising here. I’m just documenting for myself my observations:

Marius makes about 2 francs a day. Feuilly, on the other hand, who fandom often thinks of as “the poor one,” makes 3 francs a day - so that’s actually a very livable wage Feuilly is making. Bahorel’s allowance comes to a little over 8 francs a day.

One cannon shot costs 6 francs to fire. (Hugo mentions this when discussing the waste of the formal shots that are a sign of respect within the navy, and the amount of money wasted.) This is really interesting to me, because a recurring theme within the Aubrey-Maturin novels is the importance of captains having to supplement their stores of powder because the allowance from the government is not enough to get your crews really practiced at firing accurately. So all of a sudden I have a bit more of a sense of HOW MUCH MONEY it costs to do all of that practicing.

Fantine, after she is fired from the factory, makes 12 sous a day, which is then reduced to 9 sous a day - which is around a quarter of what Marius makes when Marius is poor. (20 sous per franc is the conversion.) Of course, there’s a decade or so (I think) between those two time periods, and the value of money may well have changed in that time; and also there’s the difference in cost of living in Paris versus the small town of M-sur-M. But it gives one an idea of how little Fantine was living on - especially considering she had to send 10 sous of that 12 to the Thenardiers for Cosette, so she was living on 2 sous a day, which is ONE TWENTIETH of what Marius lives on.
sophia_sol: drawing of Combeferre, smiling and holding up a finger like he's about to explain something (Default)
So I saw Les Miserables last night in Toronto! I HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR THIS DAY SINCE HIGH SCHOOL. (which was, for the record, some time ago by this point.) And you know, in some ways I wish my high school self could have seen this instead of my current self, because....I have spent the last ten months on the internet reading ridiculous quantities of meta about Les Miserables (both book and musical) and the historical context in which the story is set. I KNOW TOO MUCH.

lots of thoughts and feels under the cut. )
sophia_sol: drawing of Combeferre, smiling and holding up a finger like he's about to explain something (Default)
Thanks/blame for this fic go to [personal profile] carmarthen, who is a wonderful enabler and beta.

Title is from the traditional dirge "O Death"

Title: Spare Me Over
Fandoms: Les Miserables, Elisabeth Das Musical (canon knowledge of Elisabeth not required, as all that's borrowed is Death.)
Characters: Death, Fantine, Montparnasse, Eponine, Cosette, Grantaire, Prouvaire
Length: 1661 words
Content notes: blood, death, unhealthy attitudes to death, brief reference to child abuse
Summary: Five people Death doesn't kiss (yet), and one he does.

Read this fic at AO3 if you prefer

Or read this fic here! )
sophia_sol: drawing of Combeferre, smiling and holding up a finger like he's about to explain something (Default)
okay so. I reread Terry Pratchett's Night Watch this week! The last time I read it was MANY YEARS ago, and the last time I read it I was still inexplicably unaware of the connection between it and Les Miserables. Looking at the date Night Watch was published, I'm pretty sure I read it for the first time before I got into Les Miserables, and I'm guessing that since my initial impression of the book involved zero knowledge of Les Miserables, once it was cemented in my head it never occurred to me on rereads to connect it with Les Miserables. DESPITE noticing the line about stealing a loaf of bread on rereads!

Probably my lack of connection was also because in high school the revolution part of Les Miserables was the part I was least interested in, and that's where the connection from Night Watch is strongest.

ANYWAYS. It was deeply weird rereading it now, both because of me having grown up some and because of me being newly acquainted with a) the revolutionary portions of Les Miserables and b) the fact that Night Watch can be read in the context of Les Miserables.

My conclusions: cut for spoilers )
sophia_sol: drawing of Combeferre, smiling and holding up a finger like he's about to explain something (Default)
Thing One: Used bookstores are so dangerous. I now own four more Rosemary Sutcliff novels than I used to, which means that my collection of Rosemary Sutcliff novels is now 500% larger than it used to be.....

Thing Two: The used bookstore I was in had a copy of Catullus's poetry. I was like "ooh Catullus, I should own that!" But then I was like "BUT TRANSLATORS MATTER" because I was recently betrayed by a translater (THANKS EDWIN GILE RICH AND YOUR DEQUEERIFYING OF VIDOCQ'S MEMOIRS) so I thought I'd better check its quality first. My method: flip to Catullus 16 and see how the first line was translated, because that will tell you a lot about the translator. The translation in the bookstore went this route: NOT EVEN ATTEMPTING TO TRANSLATE the words "pedicabo" and "irrumabo" and leaving them in the Latin, with nary a footnote or anything. I went "hmmmmmmmm yeah I think this doesn't speak highly for the translator's willingness to be honest about what Catullus is saying" and left the book behind. Sigh.

Thing Three: I was relistening to the CSR Les Miserables recording today because it's soothing (...idek you guys apparently that's what happens when I listen to something THAT MANY TIMES) and for the first time, all the listening to other cast recordings IMPACTED HOW I LISTENED TO IT. It was super weird! Like for a moment in Red & Black I expected to hear the TAC Enjolras sing the line "Marius, you're no longer a child" even though I don't even LIKE the TAC Enjolras! And at one point in "Do you hear the people sing" I expected to hear "A la volonte du peuple"!
sophia_sol: drawing of Combeferre, smiling and holding up a finger like he's about to explain something (Default)
wow okay apparently my headlong fall into love for the Amis was kind of inevitable once I learned about them and their cause and all that?

see, today I got reminded of a comment I left more than a year ago on a fic in my previous fandom (one of my very favourite fics in the entire fandom). Check out the following excerpt from my comment:

but anyway my POINT IS, it's tragic to think of them dying in the course of their attempts to change the world, make the world a better place, right, and for a moment when I finished this fic I was devastated to think that was what was going to happen next, but then -- somehow this fic also makes it all okay, because even if they die, even if they die the fight doesn't die with them. They were a part of something larger than themselves, a whole world of people saying fuck you to the people in charge's idea of what life should be, and they will make it, even if the they aren't around to see it. And that's beautiful.

all I did to that excerpt was edit out the names of the protagonists and of the group of people in charge, and all of a sudden BAM it's like I'm writing about Les Miserables
sophia_sol: drawing of Combeferre, smiling and holding up a finger like he's about to explain something (Default)
whooops so I JUST REALIZED that my initial instinct these days when I have something short and silly to share with the internet that doesn't seem worthy of an entire post to itself is to POST IT STRAIGHT TO TUMBLR.

I used to save these bits and pieces up and post them together as Things posts when I felt like I'd gathered enough! Apparently the pull of immediate gratification is too strong? I'm so bad at having patience; I don't know how I ever managed to restrain myself and wait for like FIVE WHOLE THINGS in the past.

....all of which is to say, when relistening to the TAC today, I realized that Enjolras cannot decide whether he has a rhotic or non-rhotic accent, and now that I’ve noticed I can’t NOT NOTICE and it is SO DISTRACTING. (Good thing I already wasn’t particularly a fan of this Enjolras!)
sophia_sol: drawing of Combeferre, smiling and holding up a finger like he's about to explain something (Default)
Reading the lyrics of The Marseillaise today, I was kinda struck by it -- because yeah it makes a lot of sense as a song of the revolutionary period, but as the national anthem of modern-day France? It just seems kind of....incongruous. Really? You're still going to sing about watering furrows with impure blood? Really?

But then, hell, I've always felt a bit uncomfortable even with my own country's national anthem, and that's about as unbloody as national anthems get --



I definitely didn't just spend way too much of my afternoon reading through the wikipedia list of national anthems until getting bored somewhere in the H's because they all start sounding kind of the same, what are you talking about, but if I had, dude, there's a lot of REALLY GOOD ONES out there that don't mention any kind of violence at all, not even obliquely! I think my fave is Cape Verde's, because it is a) successfully poetic, b) nonviolent, c) super into freedom, d) hopeful in tone, and e) not just all "my country is the BEST country".

But idk, I'm bad at patriotism, so reading most of these national anthems just made me either go "lol so cute" or roll my eyes. I have trouble thinking of myself singing ANY of them with any kind of genuine sentiment, really. And Canada's is actually rather mediocre when it comes to all the awesome that other countries have for their national anthem. I mean, Australia's, for example, is all "Australia's a super great place to live and everyone knows it, and we welcome anyone who wants to come hang with us!" It's a "lol so cute" anthem but in a really endearing way, and I could get behind having something more like that, instead of the sexist language, and the unnecessary reference to God, and the military-language-in-disguise of "we stand on guard for thee" that Canada has.

BUT ANYWAYS THAT WAS NOT THE ORIGINAL POINT OF THE POST. The original point was that one of these days I'm going to have to try to figure out how to reconcile my pacifist upbringing/inclinations and my deep love for Les Miserables despite its glorification of Just War.

sophia_sol: drawing of Combeferre, smiling and holding up a finger like he's about to explain something (Default)
Soooo I accidentally meta'd on tumblr about Courfeyrac and Tholomyes in response to someone else's reblog of someone else's gif, YOU KNOW HOW IT IS ON TUMBLR.

So I thought I'd best repost here.

I've seen a lot of people complain about the "For Courfeyrac, see Tholomyes" thing, so when I finally got to that part of the brick I was PAYING ATTENTION. Because Hugo clearly thought he was saying something here, and you KNOW Hugo wasn't down with Tholomyes' behaviour and was down with Courfeyrac's.

And you know what? I actually really like what Hugo's doing here! Because there are some superficial similarities between the two: cheerful, charming, into the ladies, etc.

"That Tholomyes is astounding!" said the others, with veneration. "What trousers! What energy!"

That's the sort of thing you could totally imagine being said about Courfeyrac, amiright?

BUT. Although Hugo says, "For Courfeyrac, see Tholomyes," he follows that up with this:

"any one who had listened to Courfeyrac in 1828 would have thought he heard Tholomyes in 1817. Only, Courfeyrac was an honorable fellow. Beneath the apparent similarities of the exterior mind, the difference between him and Tholomyes was very great. The latent man which existed in the two was totally different in the first from what it was in the second. There was in Tholomyes a district attorney, and in Courfeyrac a paladin."

So what Hugo's saying ISN'T that Courfeyrac is a terrible person like Tholomyes, he's saying that ALTHOUGH Courfeyrac is a lot like Tholomyes in a lot of ways, he's different in one VERY IMPORTANT way: he's honourable! So Hugo's saying that it's not inevitable that young men of that nature are thoughtless and terrible human beings! It's not inevitable that Tholomyes behave in such an awful way to Fantine, because Courfeyrac is proof that a Tholomyesish person can be a GOOD HUMAN BEING.

So my read is that Hugo is using the comparison to DISS THOLOMYES EVEN FURTHER through the comparison with the awesomeness of Courfeyrac; he's not trying to drag Courfeyrac's name through the muck but let him shine the brighter through the comparison with the reprehensible behaviour of Tholomyes.

And I think that's pretty awesome!


There are my thoughts on Courfeyrac and Tholomyes that I have been meaning to write up for -- oh gosh, SIX WEEKS? REALLY? *headdesk*

(all brick quotes in the above are from the Hapgood translation because yay for ctrl-f on webpages and yay for project gutenberg!)
sophia_sol: drawing of Combeferre, smiling and holding up a finger like he's about to explain something (Default)
What I did today: Listened to La Faute A Voltaire wayyyyyyyyyy too many times. Um.

So, if you are familiar with Les Mis recordings, you might be able to infer from this that yesterday I introduced myself to the Les Miserables Original French Concept album. And I just can't do the same sort of Thoughts about it that I've been doing for the other cast recordings I listen to, because it is SO VERY DIFFERENT that I get all caught up in that and cannot give my opinions of any of the character portrayals.

IT IS SO DIFFERENT OMFG. I just have no opinions whatsoever right now, because I'm too busy going WHAT IS GOING ON???? I need to read the English translation of the lyrics to make sense of things, it is clear. (I think I have the translations open in one of my tabs right now? I'll get to it. Sometime.)

So most of my thoughts, actually, are on the subject of my reaction to the fact of it being in French. Because it was weirdly less weird for me to listen to than the Spanish! When I listened to the Japanese Red Cast, it was all nonsense syllables to me, so I could ignore the words entirely in favour of paying attention to everything else. When I listened to the Madrid Cast, it was juuuuuuuust recognizable enough as being Almost Actual Words that I kept on having my brain getting tripped up on it.

But listening to the OFC? It was actually pretty much just like listening to something in English for me, even though I don't actually KNOW French. Here is why: I'm not actually very good at keeping my attention focused on the lyrics of songs I'm listening to (thank you, ADHD), so generally speaking when I listen to songs in English they osmose into the back of my head but I couldn't tell you what's going on unless I'm working really hard at Paying Attention. So I catch the odd word or phrase here and there but mostly my brain is like OH HELLO TANGENT I AM GOING TO WANDER DOWN, WHAT, I'M NOT LISTENING TO MUSIC WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT. So pretty much what I hear is YEP THEY ARE DEFINITELY SAYING WORDS.

And as a person who lives in Canada and has thus studied the requisite years of French in elementary school and high school, I have heard enough French in my life that my brain parses French as YEP THEY ARE DEFINITELY SAYING WORDS. It sounds like entirely familiar language to me. So. I listen to the OFC and even if I am paying very close attention by brain comfortably feels the same as if I were not-really-paying-attention to a song in English. Because I catch the occasional word or phrase and the rest of it is just YEP WORDS.

It's kind of disconcerting how not disconcerting it is.

(okay I have to mention one other thing, which is that pilferingapples' Disco Amis were what inspired me to finally get around to listening to the OFC and wowww yep I started giggling when I reached the line "Lamarque est mort". That is QUALITY ART DEPICTING QUALITY TRUTHS ABOUT A CERTAIN SONG ON THIS ALBUM OMFG)
sophia_sol: drawing of Combeferre, smiling and holding up a finger like he's about to explain something (Default)
This weekend I was internetless! (see my post on tumblr for more? LOOK, IT'S EASY TO UPLOAD PHOTOS ON TUMBLR......)


First of all, I finished rereading North & South, by Elizabeth Gaskell! AN EXCELLENT BOOK. I, um, don't appear to have anything else to say about it. Except that now I also want to rewatch the miniseries.

Then I finished reading Sarah Rees Brennan's Unspoken, which I started reading, um, MONTHS ago, I think? It's a very good book, but it's...idk, it's not for me? I enjoyed SRB's Demon Lexicon trilogy because the bits of her id she was writing for in that series spoke to me super hard, but the bits of her id she's writing for in this book do not. I am not into the Hot Blond Aristocratic Death thing, or Intrepid Lady Reporters. I loved Rusty the most out of anybody, and Holly and Angela second. But.... the stuff the book was actually ABOUT didn't speak to me. Which, I want to make it clear, does not mean anything except that it's not what I'm personally into!

Then I started reading All Men of Genius, by Lev A.C. Rosen, which on the surface sounds AMAZING: Importance of Being Earnest crossed with Twelfth Night, starring a lady who is into science? Sign me up! But it turns out it is extremely super much part of the steampunk genre, and while I can live with that it is not a particular draw, and the first fifty pages just read like Oh Look This Is Certainly A Steampunk Novel and I was just.... I have preferable ways to occupy my time. So I closed it and put it away. I am very proud of myself! I have this terrible tendency to be like "but I heard this book was good! So I need to KEEP SLOGGING THROUGH IT to make sure I don't miss out on its amazingness!" But not every book is for everyone and it is OKAY to give up on books that are not for me! AND I DID THIS TIME.

Then I read The Freedom Maze, by Delia Sherman, which is mostly a very good book, but it made me uncomfortable. Cut for spoilers. The non-spoiler version: I am uncomfortable with how racism was handled. )

Then I began to read The Count Of Monte Cristo, by Alexandre Dumas (père) because apparently I am into 19th century french novels now. Okay then! I am a quarter of the way in and it is thus far VERY different from Les Miserables in feel. Cut for spoilers for the first quarter of Monte Cristo and a wee bit for Les Miserables )
sophia_sol: drawing of Combeferre, smiling and holding up a finger like he's about to explain something (Default)
Aw yiss so I went and saw the Les Miserables movie again on Friday night, this time with all my book knowledge, and TOOK COPIOUS NOTES while watching.

It was a strange feeling, watching the movie while note-taking. I found that it greatly lessened my emotional engagement with the story, which was really sad. I DIDN'T CRY AT THE END! I only even got teary-eyed a few times! BUT! Now I can SHARE WITH YOU my opinions about the movie. Um. This is like 6500 words long, which is utterly ridiculous and I AM AWARE. /o\

Let me begin by saying that after the movie I proceeded to spend the next ten minutes informing Mara (who I'd gone to see it with) about how disgraceful the relative lack of Combeferre was. He's one of the few Amis I could recognize relatively reliably, the others being Enjolras, Courfeyrac, Grantaire, and Joly. I'm bad with faces, so having five Amis reliably recognizable to me was DOING REALLY WELL. Anyways, this meant that I was keeping an eye out for him and he kept on being relegated to being super-background! WHAT NO! COMBEFERRE!

But let me do this in order. I will label my thoughts with numbers, since that way it will be easier for me to keep everything organized, since it's not like there's a logical flow of ideas here -- it's just THING! and ANOTHER THING! and ANOTHER THING!

Spoilers, of course. Lots and lots and lots of spoilers. )

In conclusion: if you have thoughts or opinions or reactions to anything I have said please talk to me because in case you can't tell from the above 6500 words I LOVE TALKING ABOUT LES MISERABLES.

sophia_sol: drawing of Combeferre, smiling and holding up a finger like he's about to explain something (Default)
okay, you know what, proper reviews of vol. iv and v of Les Mis are probably not coming, because that's too intimidating a prospect. Instead you will just get thoughts of mine about the book as a whole AS I HAVE THEM. Or, like, AS I REMEMBER TO SHARE THEM, more accurately. :P Here's a few of them!

Spoilers! )
sophia_sol: drawing of Combeferre, smiling and holding up a finger like he's about to explain something (Default)

HAHAHAH like I remember any of my thoughts, it took me WAY TOO LONG to read this volume. I mean, I had thoughts! Lots of thoughts! And I kept on having them all the way through the volume! But now I am CAUGHT UP IN MY EMOTIONS FOR VOLUME FIVE and like CAN WE TALK ABOUT spoilers!!! )

sophia_sol: drawing of Combeferre, smiling and holding up a finger like he's about to explain something (Default)
At work yesterday when I was doing a very boring task, I got to idly thinking about a modern-day-fandom au of Les Amis de l'ABC, in which Enjolras is a BNF and the other Amis are his fannish friends.

And the show they're a fan of is some hugely problematic tv show (idk, super racist/sexist/classist, what have you), and Enjolras et al. want to Do Something to make TPTB fix things because Media Matters and having negative portrayals of gay people (or whatever) is actually Really Harmful.

but the thing is I don't know how things go down from here! Obviously they stage some sort of Plan to bring about the glorious future of equality in television that they imagine, but I don't know what sort of plan it is, because although barricades might have been practical for a 19th Parisian, not so much for a 21st century citizen of the internet. And obviously they don't die, because I have trouble seeing how they'd get KILLED for their Opinions About Television, but they have to sacrifice SOMETHING hugely important in their ultimately unsuccessful effort to Make Things Better, but I don't know what that would be or why that sacrifice would be an integral part of their Plan.

Maybe they end up getting their irl identities outed? METAPHORICAL DEATH VIA THE DEATHS OF THEIR PSEUDONYMITY. But I have no idea how to work that in!


(no I'm probably not going to ever actually write this. I JUST WANT TO KNOW HOW THIS AU WORKS.)
sophia_sol: drawing of Combeferre, smiling and holding up a finger like he's about to explain something (Default)



cut for more death-related Les Miserables spoilers )

Anyways yes this means I finished Volume IV of Les Mis last night! A post about it....will HOPEFULLY be coming up soon. Probably. (not today, though.)

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