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New Biography

I am halfway through my new Camille biography [La Vie Turbulente by Arnaud] and although I am glad I left it late in my canon of Camille literature it is a real find!Arnaud hated him, my copy belonged to the Catholic Institute in Lille so that probably says quite a bit about its stance, and so far it doesn't have a good word to say about Camille except for his brilliant talent for writing, and even that is criticised as being cruel and damaging.
BUT this is definitely an important source for Mantel's characterization of the twenty something Camille, and he abounds with verve and effervescence. Here is the Camille who got drunk and dealt with libel suits every friday,who bayed like a hound after his political quarry, the Camille who wrote to Jean-Nicolas ' je continue d'aller chez les filles' [I have got to find that letter now!], had a dalliance with Annette and [just like in APOGS]  decided to fall for Lucile quite cold bloodedly, there is even some suggestion about him attaching himself to a great man who was taken with him for a while [before Mirabeau].
It would be a terrible thing to read it before you knew about the man's achievements and his tragic end; you need to have enough knowledge to interpret the condemnation in the light of true facts, but at the moment I am finding that it is probably a distillation of the attacks found in the Royalist papers, like Acts of the Apostles, which I always wanted to look at but which are not easily accessible. I think it's written in 1928 so perhaps it marks a beginning of the decline in Camille's popularity; here is the suggestion that he had no originality and always looked for a stronger personality to follow, sooo not true! There's a chunk on Le Vieux Cordelier, which I am looking forward to reading, and I might skip the end if I'm not feeling strong because it's always the same and always heartbreaking.


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 14th, 2013 04:40 am (UTC)
Argh! that sounds rather awful, in an interesting way.
"je continue d'aller chez les filles" that's hilarious!! Oh Camille... If you find the letter anywhere, do let me know!
Feb. 14th, 2013 10:06 am (UTC)
I know!! it should eventually be findable - perhaps it was an attempt to set his dad's mind at rest! I don't know how far you've got with it - it's hideous in a way - there's the bit about Max telling him off for showing Babette pornographic pictures - more like the other way round imo - and that's as far as I've got right now.
Feb. 18th, 2013 10:07 pm (UTC)
I haven't had the chance to get too far in it. (Honestly, my strategy for these French biographies is usually skimming for factual information that other biographies don't mention, partly because my level of French makes it difficult to read as I would an English book, partly because there's so much hogwash to sift through.)
Feb. 18th, 2013 10:17 pm (UTC)
My guess is that he's probably used one of those source books that we haven't looked at because of their stance - but I always have been a bit interested in where the 'anti' stories originate, did one of his old teachers write a highly critical biog? I'm sure that rings a bell- best spiteful quote from this one 'moins voluptueux que perverti' ....as if!..poor Camille! X
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )