3.17.2016

Sodom and Gomorrah IV pp 625-639

p 625 |  Conservatoire de Paris had been located at Rue Bergère (rue du Conservatoire)  since 1784.

In 1911 le Conservatoire moved to rue de Madrid. Some historic photos are here.

device of Charles V

p 629 |  Plus Ultra Car'lus: Earl Rosenthal, in The Palace of Charles V in Granada  (1985), says the motto is associated with the Pillars of Hercules, which, in Greek mythology, were built by Hercules near the Straits of Gibraltar to mark the edge of the then known world. According to mythology the pillars bore the warning Nec plus ultra (also Non plus ultra, meaning "nothing farther beyond"), to warn sailors & navigators to go no farther. It is believed that the young Charles V adopted Plus Oultre as his motto at his advisor's suggestion, as a way to encourage him to ignore the ancient warning & instead take risks, surpass himself and go "farther beyond."

p 631 | The Rules of Duels (Code Duello)

p 632 | "Some Sunday morning... "": opening words of a 1902 popular song "Viens, Poupoule" by Félix Mayol. Listen & read here.

p 634 | "Spes mea" ("My hope"); "Exspectata non eludet" ("He will not disappoint hopes"); "J'attendrai" ("I shall wait"); "Memes plaisirs du mestre" ("The same pleasures as the master");
"Sustentant lilia turns" ("The towers support the lilies"); "Manet ultima caelo" ("The end belongs to heaven"); "Non mortale quodopto" ("I have the ambition of an immortal"); "Atavis et armis" ("By ancestors and by arms")

p 638 | "C'est mon plaisir" ("It is my pleasure"); "Tantus ab uno splendor" ("So much brilliance coming from one person"); "Condescendre n'est pas descendre" ("To condescend is not to descend"); "Mart (mort) m'est vie" ("Death to me is life")

3.06.2016

Sodom and Gomorrah IV pp 611-625

p 612 | "Esther heureuse...": the titles of three of the four sections of Splendeurs et misères des courtisanes.

p 612 | Rocambole was the hero of more than 30 adventure novels written by Alexis Ponson du Terrail (1829-71), as well as later writers. The adjective rocambolesque usually means a fantastic adventure.

p 612 | "...moult sorbonagre, sorbonicole et sorboniforme...": a scathing Rabelaisian way of referring to a pedantic doctor from the Sorbonne, perhaps translatable as "Sorbonnified, Sorbonniculous, and Sorbonniform."

p 612 | "The quart d'heure de Rabelais...": popular phrase meaning "the moment of reckoning." An explanatory  anecdote  from a comic incident from the writer’s life. "One day he was in Lyon and wanted to travel to Paris. He had no money and so he marked several sachets of sugar “Poison for the King” and left them lying prominently around. He was arrested and taken to Paris, thus getting a free ride. King Francis I laughed so hard when he heard about it that he happily paid for the trip." Literally, "the quarter-hour of Rabelais," which is amusingly echoed in Andy Warhol's "15 minutes of fame."

p 613 | "Chateaubriand aux pommes": Sturrock says this is "Chateaubriand steak served with apple," but I think the dish is really served with potatoes (pommes frites, pommes de terres...).

p 613 |  gnōthi seauton : Greek for "Know thyself."

p 613 | Jean-Martin Charcot, 19th century French neurologist.

p 614 | "...holy terror Ovid..." Ovid wrote "Materiam superabat opus" (Metamorphoses II, 5), or "The workmanship surpassed the material" (form over content).

Hanska by Delmont
p 614 | "Meudon... ": Meudon, now part of Paris, was the parish of which Rabelais was the curé; Ferney was the Genevan home of Voltaire; the Vallée-aux-Loups, near Sceaux, was where Chateaubriand lived for several years; Les Jardies was the name of Balzac's house in Villa d'Avray; the "Polish woman" was Mme Hanska, whom Balzac married in 1850, shortly before his death and the inspiration for many of his characters. (Sturrock)

p 614 | Hippolyte Taine complained in a well-known essay on Balzac, that the Comedie humaine contained too much that was morbid or unnatural, and did not meet his literary concepts of   "race, milieu, et moment." See his Wiki page for an interesting explanation.

p 617 | Zénaïde, French form of Zenaida, a feminine form of "Zeus."

p 618 | Diane de Maufrigneuse, main character in Balzac's novel Les Secrets de la Princesse de Cadignan, part of the Comedie humaine. 

p 620 | "cut a dash" = (Br.) Be stylish or impressive in one’s dress or behavior, e.g. "The Foreign Secretary wanted to cut a dash in Brussels."

p 620 | Paul Thureau-Dangin (1837-1913) was a Catholic historian, member of the Académie française. Gaston Boissier (1823-1908) was a French classical scholar, and secretary of the Académie française.

p 620 | Boissier is a chocolatier, founded in 1827.

p 621 | ...40bis Boulevard Malesherbes...: For most of his life (until 1900) Proust lived at 9 boulevard Malesherbes, near the Madeleine church, where the family moved in 1873 after his brother Robert was born. Proust himself had lived with his parents at 9 Boulevard Malesherbes.  His maternal grandparents lived at 40bis rue du Faubourg-Poissonniere.

p 621 | Marc-Joseph-Edgar Bourdon Vatry (baron de, 1828-1891)

3.03.2016

Sodom and Gomorrah IV pp 593-611

p 594 | tapette = a (feminine) noun with several meanings, often used informally to refer to someone as a homosexual.

p 596 | penates = Roman deities, household gods of the Romans & other Latin peoples. 
In proeliis non semper  means Not always in combat.
Non sine labore means Nothing is gained without effort  (motto of the Cardinal de Retz) (Sturrock)

p 596 | Hydrophobia, the historic name for rabies, especially a set of symptoms of its later stages, where the victim has difficulty swallowing, shows panic when presented with liquids to drink, and cannot quench its/their thirst.

p 604 | Parmi les hommes: means among men. Henry Roujon was an academic, essayist and novelist, elected member of the Académie française in 1911. The real title of the book was Au milieu des hommes (which also means among men or in the midst of men, and it was a collection of critical essays. (Storrock)


Roujon

p 606 | Joseph-Raymond, comte Fournier-Sarlovèze (1836-1916) was an adminstrator and art historian, who created a connoisseurs' club in 1904 called La Société artistiques des amateurs.

p 611 | "It's so beautiful...: the satanic Carlos Herrera, alias Vautrin, had "befriended," first Eugène de Rastignac (in Le Pere Goriot) and then Lucien de Rubempré, who is with him when they find themselves passing Rastignac; Tristesse d'Olympio is one of Victor Hugo's best-known and beautiful poems, in which he revisits the scenes where he first fell in love with his mistress, Juliette Drouet. (Sturrock)

Perhaps this will help: "Honoré de Balzac’s Gay Anti-Hero" (an essay by Robert W. Mack):
Nearly 200 years ago, the French novelist Honoré de Balzac created a remarkable character, Vautrin, a charming, hyper-masculine master criminal, and a man who loves men. In three of Balzac’s most popular novels an important part of the plot turns on Vautrin’s love for an exceptionally handsome, much younger man: 21-year-old Eugène de Rastignac in Père Goriot, twenty-year-old Lucien de Rubempré in the climactic scene of Lost Illusions and in A Harlot High and Low (Splendeurs et misères) and 27-year-old Théodore Calvi (nicknamed “Madeleine”), who doesn’t appear until the end of the last book, when Vautrin is around fifty, but who had also been involved with Vautrin a decade before, at the age of eighteen.
p 611 | The "man of taste" was Oscar Wilde, who in his essay "The Decay of Lying" wrote, "One of the greatest tragedies of my life is the death of Lucien de Rubempré in Splendeurs et misères."

Honoré de Balzac (1799–1850) was a French novelist and playwright. La Comédie humaine (The Human Comedy) is the title of his multi-volume collection of interlinked novels and stories depicting French society in the period of the Restoration and the July Monarchy (1815–1848). The Comédie humaine consists of 91 finished works (stories, novels or analytical essays) and 46 unfinished works (some of which exist only as titles).