(4) Dostoevsky poking fun at French eloquence in the Pantheon - And I visit the tombs of Zola and Hugo

Impressions of the Summer Recounted in Autumn - Trip to Paris and Georgia

[Paris Travelogue] (4) Dostoevsky poking fun at French eloquence at the Pantheon - And I visit the tombs of Zola and Hugo

Paris has a tremendous amount of tourist attractions. If you tried to visit all of them, you would not have enough time.

However, when it comes to visiting places associated with Dostoevsky, the number is surprisingly small. As Dostoevsky himself called himself a "strange traveler," he rarely did the things that ordinary tourists do. In fact, he had little interest in visiting places of interest.

So what was he doing when he came to the glamorous city of Paris? He was observing people. He wrote in his travel journalImpressions of Summer as Chronicled in Winter."The Pantheon, which I will introduce hereafter, is the setting for this observation.

The Panthéon is the burial place of some of France's greatest figures. Philosophers such as Rousseau and Voltaire, and national literary figures such as Hugo, Zola, and Dumas are buried here.

Originally this building was built as a church in the late 18th century, but after the French Revolution, it was converted from a Christian church to a cemetery honoring great men. The same is true of the Invalides, which became Napoleon's graveyard. There were strong ties between the French royal family and Christianity. This conversion may have been a very efficient way to reduce the power of both and to spread revolutionary and political ideas.

Descending into the basement, the space of the cemetery opens up.

Voltaire's tomb is immediately to the left of the entrance to the cemetery, and Rousseau's tomb is on the right side. The two are arranged in such a way that they face each other. Dostoevsky made an interesting point about this arrangement, which I will introduce later.

Further in, there is a room where Hugo, Zola, and Dumas sleep.

On the left is Hugo's tomb, on the right is Zola's, and in front is Dumas'.

As I have mentioned on this blog in the past, I have an extraordinary attachment to Hugo and Zola. How many times has Hugo's "Les Miserables" made me cry, and how many times has it given me courage? And Zola is one of the writers I admire most.

I wanted to come to the Pantheon partly because of my connection to Dostoevsky, but most of all because I wanted to visit the graves of these two men. I prayed for them both with gratitude and respect. I think it is no exaggeration to say that this was the happiest time of my stay in Paris.

Now, back to Dostoevsky.

Dostoevsky...Impressions of Summer as Chronicled in Winter."He describes the episode in this pantheon in It is a bit long, but let's listen to his words. It is very humorous and interesting, so I would like to introduce it to you.

Above all else, eloquence is a characteristic that expresses the character of the French people. The French love of eloquence is undying and only grows more intense with age. I am curious to know when this love of eloquence first appeared in France. (I am curious to know when this love of eloquence first appeared in France.)

At some point, we are to see the great man,Mausoleum of the Great ManpantheonWe went in to the As it happened to be after hours, we were taken for Nifranc. Eventually, a rather old, but still genteel, crippled soldier took the keys and led us to the ossuary in the basement. On the way there, he was still talking like a human being and only grunted a little, probably because he lacked teeth. However, as soon as we entered the ossuary and he led us to the first grave, he immediately started singing.

Ci-gît Voltaire (Here lies Voltaire). Voltaire, the great French genius of beauty. He eradicated prejudice, destroyed ignorance, fought against the angels of darkness, and raised the lamp of civilization. In his tragedy, he reached the threshold of greatness. Of course, France had a Corneille before him."

It was obvious that he was speaking exactly as he had learned to speak. He must have spent a lifetime memorizing words that someone had written on a piece of paper a long time ago. When he began this prestigious speech in front of us, his good-natured face lit up with satisfaction.

Ci-gît Jean Jacques Rousseau," the old man continued as he walked over to another grave. Jean Jacques, l'homme de la nature et da la vérité!

I was suddenly freaking out. Sometimes, prestigious words can make any thing vulgar. Besides, this old man was talking about nature and truth, but it was obvious that he had no idea what it all meant.

That's weird!" I said to the old man. One of these two great men has been calling the other a liar and an evil person all his life, and the other has been calling the other an idiot. And here they are, side by side."

Mshu, mshu!" The crippled soldier looked as if he wanted to argue with something and almost opened his lo, but in the end he said nothing and quickly led him to another grave.

Ci-gît Lannes," he sang again. Marshal Lannes is one of the greatest heroes in France, a country blessed with many heroes. Not only was he a great marshal and the most senior commander after the Grand Napoleon, he was also a man of the greatest fortune. He was the great emperor's ......"

I said, trying to get her to break the subject quickly, "Oh, yes, this man was a good friend of Napoleon's."

Monsieur! Let me talk to him," he interrupted me, sounding somewhat miffed.

Sure, sure, I'll listen.

He was also a man of the greatest fortune. He was a close friend of the great emperor. Of all the Emperor's generals, only Marshal Lannes had the honor of being his friend. Only one Marshal Lannes was given such a great honor. When he fell on the battlefield for his country, he was on the verge of death. ......

'Oh yeah, I think I got both my legs torn off by a shell.

Mshu, mshu! Please let me speak for myself," the cripple exclaimed in an almost pleading voice. You may know everything ...... but please let me speak for myself."

This eccentric is eager to tell his own story. He doesn't care if we already know everything about it.

The abolitionist continued again, "A general fell on the battlefield for his country."

"At the very moment of his death, the emperor felt as if he had been stabbed through the very heart, lamenting this great loss. ......"

I had accidentally slipped up and was immediately struck by the thought that I had done the wrong thing. I was so embarrassed.

Mshu, mshu!" The old man said, staring into my eyes with a look of abject reproach and shaking his white-haired head.

Monsieur! I know you know everything, probably better than I do. I am sure of it. But you yourself have taken me as your guide.employeeJapanese hare (Lepus brachyurus)I am now in a position to speak to you, so please let me speak to you. We are so close. ......"

The Emperor, feeling as if he had been stabbed through the heart, lamenting the great loss not only to himself but also to the entire army and, indeed, to all of France (sadly, it was not worth it), walked up to the Marshal's deathbed and said his last farewells, relieving his intense suffering as he drew his last breath almost before his very eyes. C'est fini, monsieur," he added, looking accusingly into my face.

There is another grave here, and these are the ......quelques sénateurs," he added in a curt tone, and then carelessly showed several graves in a row nearby with his chin resting on his chin. The old man's eloquence was entirely devoted to Voltaire, Jean-Jacques and Marshal Lannes. This is nothing less than a national example of the love of eloquence. Did the speeches of the National Assembly, the National Convention, and the numerous orators in the various clubs, in which the people participated almost directly and were thereby re-educated, leave only a trace of the love of eloquence for eloquence's sake among the people?

The Complete Works of Dostoevsky" (Shinchosha Edition), vol. 6, "Impressions of Summer Written in Winter," p.64-71

What do you think? Dostoevsky may have a dark and stern image, but he is in fact a mischievous man. The exchange with the Frenchman, who is intoxicated by his eloquence, is unintentionally hilarious.

When I came to this pantheon, this episode of Dostoevsky was the first thing I remembered. And when I saw Voltaire and Rousseau placed facing each other at the entrance of the cemetery, I was glad to see that "I see, Dostoevsky was talking about this.

Dostoevsky rarely recounts the episodes of his travels. However, he took the trouble to write many lines about the eloquence of the Frenchman, so this must have been a very memorable experience for him.

This is a valuable record of Dostoevsky's stay in Paris.

The Pantheon became a very impressive place for me as well.

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