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04 February 2017 @ 12:00 am
PS to 'Lost in Translation' – echoes of late 15C art  
Re: Claude's injuries, I think there's an element of Hugo deliberately reflecting the macabre nature of late 15C religious art. The novel is deeply saturated in the art and architecture of its setting and nothing was more characteristic of the era (post-Black Death Western Europe) than the devotional cults of the Wounds of Christ and Corpus Christi. Indeed, a very useful book on this period even draws on this for its title and core motif: Charles F. Briggs, The Body Broken: Medieval Europe 1300-1520 (2011). Devotional images wallowed in bloody detail:In his personal spiritual and sexual torment, Hugo's self-mutilating young priest is writing on his own body a version of the Imitatio Christi
Current Location: The North Tower
Current Mood: creative
Current Music: The Waterboys, 'A Pagan Place'
clematisvineclematisvine on February 6th, 2017 02:25 am (UTC)
Hi there, Doc M - I could not agree more with your assessment of Hugo's intentions with the nature of Claude's wounds. They're so profoundly important to his character that I find myself perpetually frustrated when adaptations either gloss over them or leave them out entirely (usually the latter).

I thought you'd be interested to see this beautiful artwork I commissioned from Aleks years ago - I even mentioned Giambono's piece as a reference back then; I had a great desire to see Claude represented in the style of one of these bloody, devotional 'saint' or 'Man of Sorrows' depictions. I have this piece printed out as a large poster-size.

(Btw, any plans to finish that fanfic?)

silverwhistle: Claude b/wsilverwhistle on February 6th, 2017 09:07 am (UTC)
That is gorgeous! Poor boy…

(I have a lifelong weakness for h/c, so always wanted to tend him and nurse him back to health.)

Yes, I'm planning to return to the fic. My return to the fandom is very much tied in with refreshing my reading in preparation for that. Claude's room in the North Tower and his house in the Cloister are my own "sanctuary" when the real world becomes unbearable.

My own portrait of Claude is here. The composition is based on Rogier van der Weyden's Philippe de Croy; the inscription, from Villon's Ballade des Dames du Temps Jadis, refers in the original to Pierre Abelard, so I thought was appropriate…

I'm inclined to think that this gets glossed over in many adaptations because he's been turned into a cheap melodrama villain in many of them, instead of the tormented tragic hero as which he's written. As a result, we're not "allowed" to see his vulnerability in its most obvious form, because the writers of these adaptations don't want us to feel any tenderness towards him. Whereas, when you read the book, it's utterly heartbreaking that this brilliant young man has been reduced to this…

Edited at 2017-02-06 10:49 am (UTC)
Sadieakkismos on March 5th, 2017 12:16 am (UTC)
"[...] we're not "allowed" to see his vulnerability in its most obvious form, because the writers of these adaptations don't want us to feel any tenderness towards him. Whereas, when you read the book, it's utterly heartbreaking that this brilliant young man has been reduced to this…"

Agreed. After reading the book I went on a hunt to see what was out there (surely, more than the Disney film), and while I enjoyed Quasimodo's character immensely in most adaptations, I felt the majority missed the nuance of Frollo's character entirely. I've yet to see the ah, Sir Jacobi 1977 (?) version, but I also don't see Frollo as a blond in any sense so that'll be interesting if/when I'm able to get to it.

(Additionally, hello! I arrive from Tumblr!)
silverwhistle: Claude b/wsilverwhistle on March 5th, 2017 02:51 am (UTC)
I was underwhelmed by that version (1982): Sir Derek (BTW, knights = Sir + first name/first name and surname, never Sir + surname!) was too old and played Claude very much as a comfortable career cleric, not the intense, brilliant young intellectual and scientist… More like "Brother Cadfael misbehaves a bit"… It also has Esméralda surviving and ending up with Pierre.

The best film-Claude remains, for me, Alain Cuny (again, too old, but at least he has the laboratory scene!), and I adore Laurent Hilaire in the 1996 DVD of the Roland Petit ballet. He has the compelling dark eyes and the cheekbones, and was about 34 when they filmed it, so about the right age.

I read the book in my mid-teens, c. 1980; I'd seen the 1956 film on TV, and the 1976 BBC version (Kenneth Haigh lacklustre as Claude). The book captivated me. For me, Claude remains the incomparable tragic hero in fiction. As a weird, intellectually precocious Aspie girl (only finally diagnosed at 50 a couple of years ago), I identified with him, as well as fell in love with him. The Disney version, like the other bowdlerised film versions, makes me homicidal… I was horrified they ever made it. It's not a children's story, and they wrecked the characters, as did the old Hays Code film versions.

I regret the 1966 BBC serialisation seems to be lost. I'd have loved to see James Maxwell as Claude…

Edited at 2017-03-05 03:27 am (UTC)
Sadieakkismos on March 6th, 2017 12:51 am (UTC)
Ah! Yes, that's right, I'd just forgotten his name (I thought Jacobi was his first name: times when 5 seconds on Google would save me from a silly error haha). And yeah, I don't really see Claude as a comfortable career cleric per se. Clergy yes, but so varied within that (and nearly a heretic, if they but knew)!

I'll have to nab a copy with Alain Cuny, the version on YouTube is appalling in quality.

I fear I'm a latecomer--the Disney movie was my first introduction--but as with many things, I couldn't shake the feeling that the book simply had to be superior (as 98% tend to be), and I don't know what on Earth kept me from reading the book until now. I certainly could've read it when I was much younger, as--like you, it seems--I was of a bookish nature and had read most of Tolkien by age nine. (I didn't read the Silmarillion until I was 12, but this was largely due to not having pocket money to buy a copy / my school library not having it until I graduated into junior high.)

That said, I'm by no means fluent in Latin (or French!) so when I finally arrived at THoND I had my phone handy for translations. Even thus, I feel I've missed a great deal of nuance due to having only the translation to go by (and I'm not sure if it was a particularly good one). French doesn't come naturally to me, though, or Romance-languages in general. I've had better luck with German, as far as personal language pursuits go.

(Of course, at this point I probably COULD read Hugo in German, but I think it'd be somewhat silly to do so. The nuance / cast would be all wrong, I think!)

Hello fellow Aspie, by the way~ I checked out your fic last night, and just saw your reply in my inbox. :)

As a footnote: this wasn't originally my main LiveJournal, I haven't been on LiveJournal in years and apparently can't remember my original username (or worse still, whether or not I may have deleted it). This was my hobby-blog. x.x
silverwhistle: Juliansilverwhistle on March 6th, 2017 07:41 pm (UTC)
If you PM me, I can disc-up the Alain Cuny version for you. He is definitely the best movie-Claude to date.

The 1976 version has an excellent Pierre and Jehan, and an adorable Djali (a baby kid with a pink nose!), but is let down by a dull Claude and an Esméralda whose dancing wouldn't even raise her own pulse, let alone an onlooker's.

Ah, I had The Hobbit and LotR read to me as a bedtime story in installments by my Dad when I was 5 or 6. As a result I spent much of my childhood drawing maps of Middle-Earth and writing messages in Runic transliteration. By 9, I was reading Penguin Classics eds of the icelandic sagas. I did Latin, Classical Greek, French and some Italian at school, and I can sing in Occitan…

I find it fascinating that Claude (who I'm damn sure is a frighteningly high-functioning autist/Aspie himself) attracts fellow-Aspies. I think we tend to home in on our own kind. I was about 15 or 16 when I first fell in love with him, but wasn't formally diagnosed myself until I was 50. But I identified with his passion for learning and his interests…

Edited at 2017-03-06 08:04 pm (UTC)
Sadieakkismos on March 6th, 2017 01:37 am (UTC)
Oh by the way, if you haven't seen this yet, it seemed like it might be of interest. :) I stumbled across it in searching for something else, and gods know I'll read people's thoughts on the matter until kingdom come hah!
silverwhistle: Claude b/wsilverwhistle on March 6th, 2017 08:12 pm (UTC)
Ooh, thanks!
I had a piece in the Guardian a few years ago, under my real name… It was cited in Alissa Roller's excellent monograph, Claude Frollo als Typus des romantischen Helden in Victor Hugos "Notre-Dame de Paris".
silverwhistle: Claudesilverwhistle on March 6th, 2017 08:37 pm (UTC)
There's another young priest in love in Théophile Gautier's Clarimonde, ou La Morte Amoureuse – a vampire classic, from 1836.
silverwhistle: Claudesilverwhistle on March 4th, 2017 11:09 am (UTC)
Also, I can't help but think that Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter (1850) is comparable: the similar self-mutilation the young minister Arthur inflicts on himself because of his sexual and moral torment. Like Claude, he has allowed the woman he loves to undergo punishment, here because he cannot face the social consequences of being outed as an adulterer in a fundamentalist Protestant community.
I would expect Hawthorne to have read Notre Dame by the time of writing. I do wonder if he intended The Scarlet Letter as an American equivalent. He was also conscious of the role of one of his ancestors, Hathorne, in the Salem trials.

Edited at 2017-03-04 11:11 am (UTC)