Since the askbox is STILL malfunctioning (hisssss), answering an ask from carmarthen-the-fan:
If you happen to get a chance at some point, I was wondering if you had ever put together that “reading list of books that may be useful to Les Mis fanfiction authors” you mentioned on your (very very useful) website, or if this might be something you were willing to do in the future.
I’m not sure I ever did! I put together a list of about a dozen on Amazon at some point, but the list has since grown, and unfortunately I’m about to depart the country—and my bookshelves—for about three weeks.
Off the top of my head (asterisks mark books in the public domain):
- Jill Harsin’s Barricades for revolutionary stuff in the July Monarchy (with a grain of salt because things radicalized very quickly after 1832)
- Philip Mansel’s Paris Between Empires for general 1815-1848 historical context (with a grain of salt because British historiography of revolutionary/early-19th-century France tends to be disdainful and redolent of “well if a constitutional monarchy was good enough for OUR country…”)
- Mark Steele’s Vive la Révolution (if you want a handy overview of the Revolution and a hilariously bracing antidote to aforementioned historiography)
- At least one good history of the Napoleonic period is probably useful background reading, but I’m under-read on the subject myself so I can’t recommend one in particular
- * Vidocq’s memoirs for law-enforcement and criminal-underworld stuff (abridged is PERFECTLY OKAY for once)
- * Parent-Duchâtelet’s 1836 study of prostitution in the city of Paris is full of absurdly detailed statistics of all sorts, with many applications beyond its nominal subject
- Strangers by Graham Robb for slash purposes
- Robb’s biography of Victor Hugo (FLAWLESS, laugh-out-loud funny, and affectionately irreverent)
- The Parisian Worlds of Frédéric Chopin for daily-life details
- * Venturing into novels now, The Mysteries of Paris by Eugène Sue is like Les Mis’s pulp-fiction cousin and invaluable for infodumps on crime in Paris and daily life among the poor
- * If you’ve wondered about it, it’s probably in a Balzac novel somewhere. Inheritance law? Criminal procedure? Travel times from Paris to the provinces? Cheap student restaurants? Balzac. For density of information relevant to Les Mis fic, the Vautrin trilogy—Le Père Goriot, Lost Illusions, Splendors and Miseries of Courtesans—is probably your best bet. It’s also textually gay as fuck.
- * Horace by George Sand is primarily an early dissection of abusive relationships, but is set among students in 1832 and some of the characters end up involved in the riots.
- * If you have half-functional French, Google Books and Gallica.bnf.fr are your BEST FRIENDS for primary sources. I’ve found medical textbooks, year-by-year bulletins of executive orders and laws passed, daily newspapers, police procedure manuals, school charters and rulebooks, scientific journals, illustrated tourist guides, and copies of everything on the above book list that’s in the public domain. Raid the FUCK out of Gallica and Google Books. Wikisource (both EN and FR) and Project Gutenberg aren’t as rich in random nonfiction documents, but can be hit up for public-domain novels, essays, correspondence, and miscellaneous short pieces by various well-known authors.
- If you have less-than-half-functional French—hell, if you have decently proficient French but want to look up some idiomatic phrase—WordReference.com has the best English<->French dictionary on the web. It will even conjugate verbs for you. If you suspect the meaning of a word has shifted since the 19th century, ARTFL’s “Dictionnaires d’autrefois” database lets you search period dictionaries.
- It started off concise, this list, didn’t it?
- It… got away from me, yeah.
Edit: Aaaaaand continued in Addenda to the Les Mis Reading List.
None of the Avengers in the movie were supposed to be Avengers. Tony was, at best, going to be the tech guy; Rhodey was supposed to be in the suit. Thor hadn’t been to Earth in millenia at that point, Captain America was in ice at that point. Black Widow and Hawkeye were good at their jobs, but they were “world class assassins”, not exactly the people who will do well in the spotlight. And absolutely no one trusted Banner to keep the Hulk in control.
No, the original Avengers Initiative, that got scrapped, had several other superheroes from across the country. Carol Danvers a.k.a Captain Marvel stationed out of D.C. Monica Rambeau in New Orleans. Luke Cage out of New York City. Harvard Professor Hank Pym and associate Janet van Dyne, a.k.a Ant-Man and the Wasp. There was some discussion of Hank’s robotic inventions serving the initiative as well.
Nick Fury still has these people in contact, and is merely waiting until the right time to get them on the team. He won’t just tell the current Avengers that they are getting a new member. No, he’s going to engineer a situation where they decide to invite these people themselves.
The first member of the Avengers to join that isn’t part of Fury’s machinations is Sam Wilson, a troubled kid from Harlem that Steve decides to mentor.
Submitted by strictlyfromdullville