Here’s to you and here’s to me
a realization about “Stars”
I think we’ve already covered pretty darn thoroughly that, as pretty as “Stars” is, it shows a pretty not-Hugolian Javert. The only religion that novel-Javert knows is legal authority.
There is something wonderfully Brickish about the musical’s sense of, well, elevation. Javert looks upward for the right when Hugo’s pretty clear that truth comes from within and from below. Social progress is mined. The spirit of a city is in its suffering. If you want to know the reality of things, crawl into the sewers. Javert’s upward climb from his origins is so resolute that he forgets there might be something good to find in all those underground tunnels.
The musical captures this some in the spirit of “Look Down” (which I do think is an improvement from the “Pitié, pitié”/”Donnez, donnez” of the French). The recent film does an excellent job of contrasting Javert’s song with the ferment of the populace. It’s almost like the crowds of 1832 are rebuking the false direction of Javert’s gaze.
While they were riveting the bolt of his iron collar behind his head with heavy hammer strokes, he wept. The tears choked his words, and he only managed to say from time to time, “I was a pruner at Faverolles.” Then, still sobbing, he raised his right hand and lowered it seven times, as if touching seven heads of unequal height, and from this gesture one could guess that whatever he had done had been to feed and clothe seven little children.
inspired by this edit <3
Les Misérables, Victor Hugo
Vol 5, Book 6
les miserables 25th anniversary + first appearance and death