*snippy snip for your poor dashes *
I actually wrote an independent study on that! Enjolras gains prominence the more Republican Hugo becomes (convinced by his own creation, apparently). I wouldn’t say that his friction with Grantaire was really that important in the early drafts— in the very earliest, Enjolras basically starts off as Courfeyrac’s second-in-command (“Courfeyrac et Enjolras dirigeaient tout” is the exact phrase— and then they take each other by the hand, confer with each other, etc). When Grange (i.e. later Grantaire) goes off on his drunk monologue, Courfeyrac exclaims, “Be quiet, Grange, you’re drunk.” Grantaire ignores him and then Enjolras backs up Courfeyrac by saying, “Grange! Go drink elsewhere, don’t dishonor the barricade.” Grange then immediately falls asleep and, as the draft isn’t complete, we don’t hear from him again. enjolras, however, gets killed in Bahorel’s place, but returns from the dead long eough to declare Thomas (Marius’s early name) the chief of the barricade). In the second draft the scene is almost the same, except that we get a sentence on how pretty Enjolras is, and Grange protests a little more before falling asleep. I should also note that that’s basically the only scene that features Grange (who signs his name G— get it? Grand G?) in the first draft (though he also gets to take Bossuet’s place in the follow-a-man-following-a-man exchange). In the second, Grange also gets one line in a scene where Marius is in love and takes Courfeyrac to see Robert Macaire before he, Bossuet and Joly have some drinks and see a barricade outside their window.
My hypothesis is is that the development of the sublime (i.e. Enjolras the ideal, Grantaire the grotesque) only popped up when Hugo began to think that democracy was, in fact, the greatest thing on God’s green earth besides Victor Hugo. The contrast in the actual text is/was very gradually developed.
Something that IS in the two first drafts, however, that make it almost intact to the book itself are Enjolras’s confrontations with BOTH police spies: Javert and Le Cabuc. So from his earliest incarnation Enjolras was a figure of revolutionary justice. It just so happened that after 1848 Hugo liked revolutionary justice and thus revolutionary justice became even prettier and rather more badass.
I don’t know why this cracks me up so much. But something about how Hugo wound up completely falling for Enjolras in an authorial manner and tossing him the plot rather than just tweak Courfeyrac a little bit is killing me. Maybe it’s just nice to know Enjolras hijacked his own author’s brain, too.
Honestly though I’m more interested now to know why he expanded the Amis membership/ how he decided who to shift around. Why suddenly Jehan? And not that I’m ungrateful for Bahorel, but WHY? When did Combferre turn into our swan-winged ballistics expert? Obsessive Minds Want To Know!
Reblogging because every time this post circles my dash it comes back with more entertaining draft stories. I expect eventually it will come back with actual Enjolrai and then I can stop circulating it?
OH BOY PILF DO I HAVE SOME META FOR YOU
I can’t actually tell you what, if anything, Hugo wrote down in his diaries about the development of Les Mis— I’ve only ever read the famous section where Hugo saves a prostitute who got snow stuffed down her back (I still think after he did that he bought the lady’s services, but hey, that’s Hugo. The prostitutes of Paris all offered their services for free the day of his funeral.) and his siege diary during the Franco-Prussian War. That’s very helpful if you want to know about how besieged Parisians ate the elephant in the Jardin des Plantes for lack of meat, or about all the actresses who recited Hugo’s own poems to him and then probably gave special, private performances afterwards, but not so much on the Les Mis front.
That being said, Courfeyrac in the second draft, has Hugo’s description of Bahorel! Including the bit about daring waistcoats and scarlet opinions! And the detail about buttoning up his coat to his chin when passing the law school! And the peasant parents! (Though Joly/Jolllly, who there gains his four ls, has Bahorel’s death by bayonet at the barricade). The second draft has the seeds of “A Group Which Nearly Became Historic,” including the bit about Enjolras’s virgin smile and how he has “the sweetest blue eyes in the world.” Combeferre there is described as, “Combeferre, who wrote verses, who was tender, melancholic, and at the same time resolute, today a dreamer, tomorrow a fighter.” He takes a more Brickish stance at the barricades, where he refuses to give a gun to Gavroche, and is mentioned after, in this order, Courfeyrac and Enjolras whenever important barricade work needs to be done (though in the second draft, Enjolras brings Courfyerac the box of cartridges). Combeferre also gets to recite Jehan’s poem “a demi-voix.”
Also there is a fabulous scene:
-Tiens! dit Laigle de Meaux, tu vas t’enrhumer. Pas de parapluie!
Courfeyrac haussa les épaules. L’école romantique, dont il était, a toujours haï et méprisé les parapluies.
—Un parapluie, fit-il, jamais! plutôt la mort!
—Tu as tort, dit Bossuet, c’est élégant. Tu ne connais donc pas le grand chic anglais, un immense riflard?
which translates to
“Well look there,” said Laigle of Meaux, “you will give yourself a cold. No umbrella!”
Courfeyrac shrugged. The Romantic movement, to which he belonged, had always hated and despised umbrellas.
“An umbrella,” he exclaimed, “never! Death first!”
“You are wrong,” said Bossuet, “It’s elegant. You do not know, then, the great English fashion, an immense [specific type of] umbrella?”
* swooning because you are MY HERO *
(also because Bossuet is apparently one of the constants of the universe, snarky pragmatist that he is– Joly though! Oh, even in rough draft, Hugo’s wounding me.)
The shifts in Enjolras’ importance seem explained by his political changes, as you mentioned– any idea how Courfeyrac turned from brawling peasant to urbane lover? Were Bahorel and Jehan just brought in as fond nods to friends gone on? AUGH ALWAYS MORE QUESTIONS, how can one book give me so many questions?!?
…oh my gosh. Look what I found , looking back through old posts about Hugo’s drafts.
@amelancholycharm look, this is the exact post where my life went all out of my control, this is it happening, I have electronic evidence.
Also my gosh having seen it myself now the Courfeyrac-Bahorel fusion is one of the weirdest things to behold?? SUCH a different character. And I am very interested that Courfeyrac sort of lost his Bahorel-ness as he also moved from being Leader to Center. HUGO IF SEANCES WORKED LIKE YOU THOUGHT AND I KNEW FRENCH, WHOO BOY I WOULD HAVE SOME QUESTIONS FOR YOU.