Saturday, June 22, 2013

The Annotated Les Miserables: Weeks 6 & 7

Last year I tried to complete "Les Miserables" as part of a year-long read. I had barely started the book before life got in the way and I wasn't able to finish the story. This year I am determined to get through the entire thing. Here is the post I made at the beginning of my read and here is the one for Weeks 4 & 5. Below are notes to catalogue my read. At the moment it's mostly diction and events and persons I'm unfamiliar with. As I read further I hope to make posts filled with questions and insights into characters and plot points. Do not read this if you don't want the book to be spoiled.

Start from the Beginning

Weeks 8 and 9

Frans Hals circa 1649-1700
Rene Descartes - (1596–1650) He was a French philosopher, mathematician, and writer, dubbed the 'Father of Modern Philosophy'.  Much subsequent Western philosophy is a response to his writings, which are studied closely to this day.

Author unknown 1665
Baruch Spinoza - (1632-1677) He was a philosopher whose importance was not fully realized until years after his death. By laying the groundwork for the 18th century Enlightenment and modern biblical criticism including modern conceptions of the self and, arguably, the universe, he came to be considered one of the great rationalists of 17th century philosophy. His magnum opus, the posthumous "Ethics" in which he opposed Descarte's mind-body dualism, has earned him recognition as one of Western philosophy's most important thinkers.

Etching after portrait - de Reisner 
Marc-Antoine Madeleine Desaugiers - (1772-1827) He was a French composer, dramatist and song-writer.

Syllogism - A form of deductive reasoning consisting of a major premise, a minor premise and a conclusion. Ex. "No foxes are birds" "All parrots are birds" "No parrots are foxes"

Madeira wine - A fortified Portugese wine made in the Madeira islands. It's produced in a variety of styles ranging from dry wines which can be consumed on their own as an apertif, to sweet wines more usually consumed with dessert. 

Hetaera - An ancient Greek courtesan or concubine, especially one of a special class of cultivated female companions

Artist unknown
Apuleius - (125-180) He was a Latine prose writer who studied Platonist philosophy in Athens. Once he was accused of using magic to gain the attentions of a wealthy widow. He distributed a work he wrote in his own defense known as the Apologia.

Solomon - Also called jedidah. He was a walthy and wise king of Israel and a son of David. He is credited as the builder of the first Temple in Jerusalem. He is portrayed as wise but human and who sinned, turning away from Yahweh.

Amor omnibus idem - Love them all

Artist unknown
Aspasia - (470BCE-400BCE) A Milesian woman famous for her involvement with the Athenian statesman Pericles. Little is known about her life but she may have influenced Pericles and Athenian politics. She is mentioned in the writings of Plato, Aristophanes and Xenophon.

Copy of Ktesilas Artist unknown
Pericles -  (495BCE-429BCE) He was the most prominent and influential Greek statesman, orator and general of Athens during the Golden Age - specifically the time between the Persian and Peloponnesian wars.

A bust of Socrates
A bust of Socrates in Louvre
Socrates - (470BCE-399BCE) A Classical Greek philosopher credited as a founder of Western philosophy. Socrates left none of his own writings as know about his mostly because of Plato's dialogues. He was put on trial and charged with corrupting the youth of Athens as well as impiety against the pantheon of Athens. HE was found guilty and drank hemlock and died. 

Manon Lescaut - An opera in fourt acts by Giacomo Puccini. The story is based on a novel by the Abbe Prevost.

Prometheus - A Titan from Greek Mythology, known as the deity who was the creator of mankind and its greatest benefactor. He stole fire from Mount Olympus and gave it to mankind. As a result he was punished by Zeus and chained to a mountain. Every day an eagle at his liver and every night it grew back. 

Goliath - A giant Philistine warrior defeated by David, the future king of Israel.

Polyphemus - A Cyclops from the "Odyssey". The son of Poseidon and Thoosa. He was a man-eater and starts devouring Odysseus' men. They sneak out with the sheep and Odysseus blinds him by outsmarting him.

The Chandos Portrait authenticity unconfirmed
William Shakespeare - (1564-1616) A poet, playwright and actor, often considered the greatest writer in the enlish language. He wrote 38 plays, 154 sonnets and 2 long narrative poems. 

Caliban - One of the main protagonists in William Shakespeare's "The Tempest" He was the son of the witch Sycorax. 

Fustian - A coarse sturdy cloth made of cotton and flax

Blackguardism - A foul-mouthed person; a scoundrel, a thoroughly unprincipled person.

Mademoiselle de Scuderi - A novella first published in 1819. Written by ETA Hoffman and is regarded as one of his best. It was an immediate commercial and critical success. This was mostly due to the suspenseful plot and interesting descriptions of life, places and people. 

"Pamela" or "Virtue Rewarded" - An epistolary novel (novel composed of a series of letteers) written by Samuel Richardson, first published in 1740. It tells the story of a beautiful 15-year old maidservant named Pamela Andrews, whose nobleman master, Mr. B, makes unwanted advances towards her after the death of his mother, whose maid she was since age 12.

Harridans - Stereotype of an unpleasant, belligerent, bossy woman. Synonymous with shrew. 

Physiognomist - A person who judges human character based on facial features. Divination based on facial features. 

Duke of Otranto, Joseph Fouche
Duke of Otranto - (1759-1820) Joseph Fouche was the first Duke of this line. It was a hereditary title in the nobility of the First French Empire. It was bestowed in 1808 by Napoleon upon statesman and Minister of Police, Joseph Fouche. 

Legion d'honneur - The highest French order for military and civil merits, established in 1802 by Napoleon Bonaparte. The order is divided into five degrees of increasing distinction: Knight, Officer, Commander, Grand Officer, Grand Cross. 

Grand Cross - The highest grade in many orders of knighthood. Sometimes they are referred to as "Commanders Grand Cross", "Nights Grand Cross", or just "Grand Crosses". 

Recondite - Little known or secret

Vetch - Any of several climbing plants of the legume family, bearing pealike flowers, esp. Vicia sativa, cultivated for forage and soil improvement

Barbary - A region of northern Africa on the Mediterranean coast between Egypt and the Atlantic Ocean. Settled by Berbers in the 2nd millennium, it was conquered by Arabs in the 7th century.  From the 16-19th c it was used as a base by pirates who raided ships in the Mediterranean and exacted tribute from the Ruopean powers trading in the area. 

"The supreme happiness in life is the assurance of being loved; of being loved for oneself , even in spite of oneself."
"Soul gropes for soul and finds it." 
"One would not exchange one's darkness for all light."
"We are radiant in our darkness." 
Faubourg - A district lying outside the original city limits of  French-speaking city of a city with French heritage. 

Savogards - A native of Savoy.

Calumny - A false statement maliciously made to injure another's reputation; slander; the utterance of maliciously false statements. 

"Animals are nothing but the portrayal of our virtues and vices made manifest to our eyes, the visible reflections of our souls."

Educable - capable of being educated or taught.

Garde Champetre - A garde champĂȘtre (rural guard) is the combination of a forest ranger, game warden and police officer in certain rural communes in France. Their job is to report to the local mayor. Many of these officers wear green uniforms and many carry firearms. They fall under the general supervision of the Gendarmerie.

Portrait Brutus Massimo.jpg
Marble bust in National Museum of Rome
Marcus Junius Brutus - (85BCE?-42BCE) Roman statesman who, with Cassius, led the conspiracy to assassinate Caesar in 44BCE. He committed suicide after being defeated by Antony and Octavian at Philippi 42BCE.

By Achille Deveria 19thC
Eugene Francois Vidocq - (1775-1857) He was a French criminal and criminalist whose life story inspired several writers, including Victor Hugo and Honore de Balzac.  The former criminal became the founder and first director of the crime-detection Surete Nationale as well as the head of the first known private detective agendy.  Vidocq is considered to be the father of modern criminology and of the French police department. He is also regarded as the first private detective Vautrin.

By Karl Vogel Von Vogelstein ca1810
Joseph de Maistre - (1753-1821) He was a Savoyard philosopher, writer, diplomat and lawyer.  He defended hierarchichal societies and a monarchical state in the period immediately following the French Revolution. He called for the restoration of the Bourbons to the throne of France and argued that the Pope should have ultimate authority in temporal matters. He also claimed that the rationalist rejection of Christianity was directly responsible for the disorder and bloodshed which followed the French Revolution of 1789.

Cosmogony - Any scientific theory concerning the coming into existence (or origin) of either the cosmos (or universe), or the so-called "reality" of sentient beings

Gens Sans Aveu - Vagabonds

Law-Scrivener - A person who writes a document for another, usually for a fee

Louis d'or - The Louis d'or is any number of French coins first introduced by Louis XIII n 1640. The name derives from the depiction of the portrait of King Louis on one side of the coin; the French royal coat of arms is on the reverse. The coin was replaced by the French franc at the time of the revolution and later the similarly-valued Napoleon, although a limited number of Louis were also minted during the "Bourbon Restoration" under Louis XVIII.

"No one is more avidly curious about other people's doings than those persons whom they do not concern."

Fiacre - A small hackney coach

"An old woman who lived in the house taught her the art of living in penury. There are two stages - living on little, and living on nothing. They are like two rooms, the first dark, the second pitch-black."
"Winter! No warmth, no light, no midday morning merging into evening, fog, twilight and nohting to be clearly seen through the misted window. The sky had become a grating, the day a cellar, the sun a poor man at the door." 
Miliary - Accompanied by papules or vesicles resembling millet seeds.  

"Paupers cannot reach the end of their abode, or of their destiny, except by crouching ever lower."

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