René Lelong ( 1871 – 1933)
Le Rêve ( 1888)
- Zola was often criticized for not writing about “au-dèla” the above and beyond. He decided to include a story of “philisophie cachée” into the Rougon-Macquart series.
- Le Rêve was a welcome change from the hustle and bustle of Paris and the politics of Plassans, Zola created the village of Beaumont from scratch.
- The cathédrale is pure fantasy built on the models of many French Gothic chuches and the chateau was made from pieces of Coucy-le -Chateau just north of Reims.
- Zola put much effort into recreating the interior of a 15e century workshop of M. Hubert. He consulted his friend the curator of Museum Carnavalet, Henry Céard.
- For details on the art of the embroidery, he studied the book The Art of the Embroidery, Saint-Aubin and also worked long hours on the La Légende dorée (The Lives of the Saints)
There are 25 characters in this story.
- Chapter 1 December 1860.
- Chapter 2-14 January 1868 april 1869
Persecution Angélique relates closely to a list of saints, martyers especially the story of Saint Agnes. She represents perfection in her state of virginity . Angélique tries to overcome her strong hereditary “appétit sensuel” of Rougon-Macquart.
Art as salvation: Stained glass windows represent St. George slaying the dragon. Angélique dreams of being saved by a chilvalrous knight.
Legend: Angélique discovers the Légende dorée in the atelier of M. Hubert. She is fascinated by the saints and their persecution. Virgins are her role model. Also according to legend we learn that young women in the Hautecoeur family die young and in complete happiness. Will this happen to Angélique?
Death: prevents innocent love
Characters: ( do the names have special meaning?)
- Angélique ( Saint Agnes)
- Félicien ( St George)
- castle ruins of Hautecœur
- workshop of M. Hubert
- four gardens
- the book Légende dorée (The Golden Legend)
- stained glass
- doors in the gardens
- flowers ( lily, rose, sweetbriar and violet) in the gardens
- La Chevrotte ( stream secretly connecting the aristocratic garden L’Evêché with the peasant garden of the Huberts)
What did I like in chapter 2:
The Cathédrale Beaumont-Eglise comes to life! The old stones live and think, the church has a soul and it jumps for joy whenever ceremonies are held in it.
Zola gives an indication that Angélique has inherited the Rougon-Marquart maddness from Adélaïde: “..quand ils ( les Huberts) voulaient la dompter, elle en arrivait à des drises de folie orgeueilleuse….” ( when the Huberts want to tame her, she has fits of arrogant maddness) ( pp 54)
What did I like in chapter 3:
Technical terms about embroidery: It is gives color to the story, but means extra work for me looking up the words. Lives of the Saints: it’s good to look up a few short things about the saint in Wikipedia just to fill in the blanks often left out in Angélique’s thoughts.
What did I like in chapter 4:
Angélique has a room with a view of the garden Le Clos-Marie and the cathédrale. You will need this while reading this chapter “Mais la cathédrale la masse énorme qui bouchait le ciel, la surprenait plus encore.
What did I like in chapter 5:
Angélique and Félicien meet in Le Clos-Marie garden. The garden is a “go-between” where the lovers can meet.
What did I like in chapter 7:
This was a beautiful, lovely and touching chapter to read, The innocent lovers finally meet and declare each others endless love. It had a “Romeo and Juliet” feeling while reading how Félicien climbs on to Angélique’ s balcony.
- “Soyez froide, soyez méchante, je vous aimerai comme vous serez...
- ( be distant or unkind….I will always love you…”)
Zola reminds us twice that the undercurrent theme is heredity, the passing of genetic characteristics. On pp 165 Angélique feels urges she tries to ignore.
- “je ne suis pas bonne, il repousse en moi des choses que j’ ignore…” .
- ( pp 166) “..c’ était une flamme héréditaire rallumée en elle…”
What did I like in chapter 8:
This was a description of the Procession of the Miracle held every year in Beaumont. It is a celebration of the St. Agnes who helped cure the village of the plague. Angélique discovers that Félicien is the Monseigneur’s son, a true prince! Zola uses this epic style often:
- the description of the band of insurgents La Fortune des Rougon
- the description of the baptismal procession for Louis Napoléon’s son in Son Excellence Eugène Rougon
- the panoramic description of Paris told by Astride to his wife Angel while he makes his plans to conquer the city and make his fortune. La Curée
- the description of the squalor of La Cité de Naples ( slum) in L’Argent.
What did I like in chapter 9:
Finally we see the connection between the églantier and Angélique. She replants the flower (chapter 2′) in her garden. It was heartbreaking to read in chapter 9 what this flower represents. One more reason to read the book!
What did I like in chapter 10:
Zola is saving the best for last. Will the star struck lovers be able to live ` happliy ever after ? Sigh…moving on to chapter 11 tomorrow to find out!
What did I like in chapter 11:
A beautiful description of Angélique (pp 232):
“…Père en mère inconnu, pas de nom, rien qu’ un date et un numéro, l’abandon de la plante sauvage qui pousse au bord du chemin..!” (…abandonment of a wild flower growing on the side of the road..)
I think this is the motto of the book ( pp 236)
- There is nothing that surpasses it, when one loves and that one is loved.
- (il ‘n’y a rien au-dèla, quand on aime et qu’ on est aimé)
What did I like in chapter 12:
The lovers are reunited.
What did I like in chapter 13 – 14:
- Lliy – fortifies the weak with its fragrance, associated with the “last rites” before death ( “…elle [ Angélique] avait fini par être un lis parmi les lis, un grand lis dont le parfum fortifait les faibles,…”) (pp264)
- Rose ( Félicien)
- Eglatine rose ( sweetbrier) ( Angélique) sweet fragrance, prickly thorns — child uprooted and transplanted in a new, mystical garden.
- Violets ° humility ( only flower that does not cause headaches for Angélique) (pp 124)
There is a labyrinth of gardens in this story each with its own secret door. Zola also uses the symbol of a garden door in La Fortune des Rougon. What does the door always symbolize? It is the way the innocent lovers can meet each other even though it is forbidden.
- Le jardin des Hubert
- Le Clos-Marie: (public garden where Angélique and Félicien meet. It separates the aristocratic garden of the Monseigneur from the peasant garden of M and Mme Hubert)
- Le jardin de l’Evêché
- Le jardin de l’Hôtel de Voincourt:
What I did like:
This story will answer the question: Can the power of environment change the power of heredity the passing of traits to offspring from its parents or ancestor.? On pp 54 Mme Hubertine tries to teach Angélique sacrifice and obedience and in this way challenging her inborn passion and pride.
This book was filled with puzzels, signs and symbols that keep the reader engaged!
The puzzle of the link between Angélique and Rougon-Macquart: Shivering is the snow, huddled against the cathédrale we meet Angélique, 9 yrs. Sidonie Rougon had an illegitimate child in 1851 three years after leaving Plassans for Paris with her husband. She gave the baby up for adoption. Nothing is mentioned about Sidonie’s past in the other books, In La Curée her husband had disappeared.
While reading this book I kept a close lookout for the use of “personification” . Zola breathes life into inanimate objects making them an integral part of the story
Cathédrale: ( personification)
- ces vieilles pierres viviait et pensait... ( these old stones live and think)
- the religious ceremonies which are the “le battement de ses veines” ( fluttering, beating is its veins)
- Cette âme d’un autra age ( a soul of another age…) ( pp 51)
- La maison (de Hubet)..scellée à ces pierres , ….vivant de leur sang” ( sealed to these old stones, living on their blood) ( pg 51)
- la croupe géante de l’église ( rump) (pp 98)
- l’abside entière s’éveillait et grondait, ( the sanctuary of church is awake and scolds…) ( pp 101)
- les moindres soupirs de la cathédrale lui parvenaient.. ( the sighs of the church reached her) (pp 205)
- C’est ma vieille amie la cathédrale...je distingue une langue que je comprends…”( …,I understand the language of the cathédrale) ( pp 250)
Time to turn out the lights…..and stop reading, I’m exahusted!
- I found a few similarites between the book Le Notre-Dame de Paris and Le Rêve
- Orphan found in front of cathédrale
- Cathédrale becomes becomes a mother figure/dear friend to the child.
- Portail de Sainte-Agnès in cathédrale was inspiried by Portail de la Vierge in the Nôtre-Dame de Paris
If your interested….here is the link for the Golden Legend ( Légende dorée) or the Lives of the Saints composed by Jacobus Voragine!
Description of flying buttresses on the church as seen at night, bridges leading to nowhere
(pp 102) “les arcs-boutants jetés comme des ponts dan le vide.”
Everthing stopped while reading this book, beds not made, laundry still in the machine, cats not feed….I had to finish reading this first. Captivating how Zola can express the feelings of a childless couple, Monseigneur riddled with guilt and the happiness of innocent lovers.
Just when you think it can’t get any better it does. This was by far one of the best romantic stories I’ ve read in a long time. It is yet another of Zola’s books that stands in the shadows of his most famous works. Please, don’t miss this gem of a book. 247 pages, 14 chapters….you could finish it in a weekend easily!