I don’t think that Grantaire’s solo in Drink With Me is
actually as sad as one may think. There’s a strong juxtaposition between him
singing about how they won’t be remembered and the reality of thousands of people commemorating their death. Perhaps the
best example of this is George Blagden’s video: the words of the song
are contradicted by the actual video, in which he returns to the site
of the barricade almost two centuries later and has now been viewed by thousands of
people. In other words, Grantaire’s solo is beautiful because he was wrong. Their
deaths did mean something and almost
two centuries later, the people who lost their lives in the June rebellion are
still remembered. Because ultimately the June rebellion has been immortalised
by Les Miserables, and I doubt anyone will ever forget it.
Okay let me explain you a thing about Feuilly
Canonically, Feuilly is not obsessed with Poland because he likes Polish culture or the language or the food or something
Poland is Feuilly’s favorite cause
because at the time, Poland was not self-governing, but divided (partitioned) into three parts and ruled by Russia, Prussia, and Austria, and many young Romantics and politically aware students adopted Poland as their pet cause
Feuilly, being extremely compassionate and almost entirely self-taught, would have found the partitioning of Poland absolutely horrifying, and therefore would have been extremely passionate about the cause
(and yes there was definitely humor in Hugo having Feuilly go into battle to overthrow the French king shouting for Poland, but the point still stands)
I feel like I’ve made this post before and I’m certain others have too but I’m gonna say it again because it makes me really mad when I read Les Mis modern AUs that have him still obsessed with Poland because he’s just in love with Poland without the authors understanding why Poland was his thing in the 18320s and 30s
In the modern day and age I feel like Feuilly would be much more concerned with things like civil and ethnic wars in Sub-Saharan Africa or the ongoing struggle in northern Africa for democratic government or the mess is still Israel and Palestine or the ethnic minorities in the Middle East and Asia who suffer from religious persecution and racism daily and are chased out of towns or even countries more than once a generation
It’s not the country he loves, okay? It’s that he’s concerned for the people, oppressed and divided
and I’m going to keep screaming this until it gets through peoples’ heads because you’re missing the entire point of the character
I’ve got a nit to pick regarding Feuilly shouting “Vive la Pologne.” It might seem like a strangely obsessive thing to say on your way to build a barricade in Paris, but it’s not there for comic relief. His acknowledgement of Poland wasn’t for the Parisians, it was for the Polish immigrants.
The reason Poland especially was his thing in 1832 is that in 1831 a major uprising in the Russian partition of Poland was brutally crushed. Many of those involved ended up fleeing to Paris where they formed a very politically active community. By 1832 there were loads of Polish language political journals and newspapers circulating.
These immigrants found Louis-Philippe disappointing, too. France was supposed to be their ally and they were kind of expecting help to go back and liberate their country. Thus, loads of Polish groups in Paris ended up allying with French republicans. I expect Feuilly was calling on them to join the rebellion by expressing solidarity with the Polish cause and indicating that a republican government WOULD want to help them out.
Also, allegedly one of the most moving parts of Lamarque’s funeral (and something that definitely tipped the tone of the event towards ‘revolutionary’) was a procession of political exiles carrying the flags of their home countries, most of which didn’t even exist as countries at the time—Poland, Germany, Italy.
@kostyalevin, reblogging this post in answer to your question about Poland! I think it covers the topic pretty well!