so we all know there’s a bunch of stuff from hugo’s papers and notebooks that never made it into the novel, yes? here are a lot of them (look at them if you haven’t! it’s an adventure) but i’ve made it my mission in life to find more and today at the library i came across this book and in it, there were more. and guys. guys. one of them is my absolute favourite piece of e/R dialogue that never was. please have a look at this:
GRANTAIRE, smoking his pipe and tipsy
People think me situated at the height of philosophy. They are wrong. I am a pig.
– That’s true, said Enjolras.
just picture this exchange. grantaire, smoking a pipe, saying mean stuff about himself, as he does. enjolras, listening, calmly nodding, “yeah….tru….you’re saying it like it is.” combeferre really has some competition in the whole “completely destroy ur opponent using two words or less” department, and grantaire arguably has unlocked a whole new level of putting his own intellect down for fun
(seriously, though, it’s interesting that he wrote this bit in 1861 – so shortly before publication – because around that time, he also made a work note that said “increase enjolras’ harshness toward grantaire. near contempt” so this might have been an idea of how to do that, but he ended up not using it? you can always argue about how intentional the whole e/R dynamic is, but there was a lot of thought put into its details, because that’s the hugo way)
Ooh, I’ve seen this exchange before but without the work note! It’s interesting that he didn’t use it, then! I’ve often thought that the way Enjolras is actually shown treating Grantaire doesn’t really line up with Hugo’s description– except at the barricades, Enjolras never seems to be much besides “reasonably annoyed” about him.
…I gotta say though, that in combination with what we see of Grantaire’s other exchanges, this bit of dialogue does actually read as more familiar and friendly than what we’re given in the book. Grantaire does a lot of Play Insulting and boundary-testing with his friends–including Enjolras– in-book, and is sarcastic and insulting about the whole world in general a lot. This seems to be on that level– which I know is not a comfortable way of expressing closeness for everyone, but we’ve got lots of evidence that it is *for Grantaire*–which to me makes it seem that Enjolras, who’s otherwise pretty serious and direct, is to some extent meeting him halfway on that . I mean, I could see this being part of a series of bantering dialogue between R and Courfeyrac or Bossuet, no problem. (Grantaire of course has much more complicated feelings about Enjolras, but it’s hardly Enjolras’ job to know that when Grantaire himself doesn’t.)
Anyway, it is a great little bit of dialogue! Thank you for bringing it back!