Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Wondrous Words Wednesday - More Les Mis!

Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme where we share new (to us) words that we’ve encountered in our reading. If you want to play along, run over to Wondrous Word Wednesday at bermudaonion.net and link up!!

So, this week I am continuing to read my way through Les Mis AND I am reading my first ARC ever of a YA book called "Sykosa," which is the name of a Japanese American girl who has had some horrible tragedy befall her. The book keeps alluding to it - but, I still don't know what it is!!! The vocab is pretty easy in that one though...but, Les Mis has a few zingers in it! :) Below is a long sentence that actually forms its own paragraph, and describes one of Jean Valjean and Cosette's hide outs. It comes from page 866 of my edition of Les Miserables, as follows:



"The house, built of stone in the Mansard style, wainscoted and furnished in the Watteau style, rock-work within, peruke without, walled about with a triple hedge of flowers, had a discrete, coquettish, and solemn appearance about it, suitable to a caprice of love and magistracy."

OK! First, the house is furnished in the Watteau style...what's that? Wiki says that there was a man named Watteau who was a French painter. "He revitalized the waning Baroque style, and indeed moved it to the less severe, more naturalistic, less formally classical Rococo." So, I think this is saying that the house was furnished in the Rococo style. I found a blog called supercalifragilisticexpilidocious.wordpress.com. That is where I got this great chair pic. Please click on the link to see more over-the-top Rococo style!!

The excerpt from Les Mis also talks about "peruke." So, I looked that one up too!

Well, I looked peruke up a million places, and the definition I got was that it was one of those French 17th or 18th century wigs?!?! So, I looked up peruke architecture, but I got nothing. So, I think that this is a metaphor where Hugo is comparing the outside of the house to an ornate wig. What do you think?

19 comments:

  1. Interesting. Maybe he's saying the house is ornate outside? That chair looks like something from Alice in Wonderland to me for some reason.

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    1. Yea, I think that is what he is saying. Also, I think the chair looks wonderland-y too!

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  2. Like you I searched and found almost nothing. In the French text the word "perruque" is used and in French, perruque= wig. I agree with you and think that the outside was decorated with a tangle of ornaments a little like the curls of a wig.
    Great and interesting word !

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    1. Thanks Annie!! It was so nice of you to spend the time searching. Also, I feel good that someone who actually speaks French agrees with my findings. Thanks again :)

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  3. That is a beautiful and ornate chair.

    http://tributebooksmama.blogspot.com/2012/03/wondrous-words-wednesday_28.html

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    1. That rococo stuff was really over the top!

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  4. Wow Libby that is some sentence! I'm completely engrossed now and will probably have to go hunting up peruke too. I also give you cred for reading Les Miz! I've been debating it since I'm posting about the movie on my site but it's soooo long - did you see the pictures of Hugh Jackman as Valjean and Russell Crowe as Javert??? What do you think?
    PS CONGRATS on your first ARC!

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    1. I'm a bad friend cause I DID stop by and look at the pics and I was busy so I didn't comment(!) I'll be back though, of course. I think Hugh is fine - funny how un-cute he looks, as you mentioned. Russell Crowe is too hot to be Javert, I think. I picture Javert as Frank Burns from MASH - kind of a weasel!

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  5. I give you kuddos for hanging in with that paragraph/sentence. It's kinda hard to visualize the house from all those words. You also have my admiration for tackling Les Mis-erable. It was too much for me.

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    1. Thanks Margot - I am reading it pretty slowly - been at it for weeks, because I read other stuff at the same time (plus the consulting and kids). But, page by page, I should finish SOMETIME!! LOL!

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  6. All the definitions I could find for peruke also came down to wigs. However, there is a building called the Hotel Biron, built in the Roccoco manner, which was built for a peruker (wig maker). Perhaps that was the context it is being used in. See http://www.freebase.com/view/en/hotel_biron

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    1. Mary - WOW!!! We should make a WWW award and give it to you, because I think that you have solved the riddle! I'll be you are right!!

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  7. Hi Libby

    Just wanted to let you know that you have won a copy of The Crown at Historical Tapestry.

    Please email your details to historical dot tapestry at gmail dot com so that we can send your details to the relevant people and get your prize on the way to you.

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    1. Yay!!!! Thanks, Marg! This is the first blog-related prize I have ever won! I will email you. (And, then later I will come over and write lots of nice comments on your posts and read a bunch of your ads!)

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  8. looks like a chair from a dolls house!!! pretty cute!

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    1. Yea - I never learned much about rococo style. But, it can be nice on a large scale. I don't know how it would work in a small place!

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  9. What a fascinating post (and discussion). Well done you for sticking with Les Mis. You will get through it! I had no idea a movie was to be released this year. Now I want to read Les Mis too (I do love reading French classics, so different from the English), but it's such a door stopper. An intriguing sentence you provided. I do think you're right in your interpretation. And I think you'd need to be wearing a peruke to sit in a chair like that, modern folk with normal hair would look out of place.

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    1. That is a great point!! Someone is jeans and a T shirt would NOT work in that setting!

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