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In Which I Am Angrier With Victor Hugo Than I Originally Intended to Be

It's Friday. The week of 4th of July is over, and with it any chance of my workplace being closed until Labor Day. Alas and alack.

So! Let's close this week with an awesome quote by a man I have ambivalent feelings about: Victor Hugo. Because of my major, and a reading plan I formulated in high school, the works of his I've had to read are Les Miserables, L'Homme qui rit, and paaaaart of Notre Dame de Paris (i.e. Hunchback of Notre Dame). I put aside the latter because I occasionally hate Hugo, but I intend on finishing"someday." Yeah. Then.

Before I redeem him slightly by posting this lovely sentence, let me talk a bit about him and why he sucks.

Bypassing, for the moment, his 'Bird's Eye View of Paris' chapter in Notre Dame, which was SERIOUSLY the most unnecessary bit of reading I've ever had to do, except maybe for translational theory, in the book L'Homme qui frickin' rit, he's like "Oh! a chapter on the British House of Lords. How about I tell you the history of it and the architectural style of the building and where everyone sits and what everything's made out of. That'll help, right?"

I just want to hit that man. Just whap him in the face.

As for 'Paris a vol d'oiseau,' it inspired such rage in me that I hesitate to think back to that afternoon spent on my parents' front porch couch reading it. The whole thing talks about the skyline of Paris. Being a half-French-lit-major, I had to read it in French. So here we had a 150 year old book talking about French architecture using outdated 19th French architectural terms, i.e. a chapter that would've been deathly boring in English caused me to have homicidal thoughts when in French. 'I hate it,' is a pathetic way to put it when considering the vastness of my hate.

But. When not going off on his misguided attempts at painting a picture with words, he occasionally throws in a nice sentence. In L'Homme qui rit, the main character, Gwynplaine, is deformed (like a lot of his main characters). And at one point, speaking of him, Hugo makes the statement:

 L'âme est pleine d'étoiles tombantes.

In English, "The soul is full of falling stars." It's my favorite sentence in French, and for that, as well as a few other choice phrases, I forgive Victor Hugo for being an ass.


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