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Wondrous Words Wednesday : The Words of Les Miserables

I decided to delve into the pages of Les Miserables by Victor Hugo for this week's Wondrous Words Wednesday meme hosted by Kathy at BermudaOnion.net.  It's the weekly meme where we share words from our reading that are new to us.
(It's almost 12:30 and Kathy hasn't posted yet so keep checking back; the link above will take you to her site in any case)
I haven't read the novel yet and I doubt I will. It's just so long! Although I did read a reader's review on my nook and it was so glowing, I know I should read it.  If you've read Hugo's classic, let me know what you think.  I do know it's not a book you need to read to enjoy the musical or the movie musical I can't help blogging about that's coming out Christmas Day. In fact I would venture to say the musical is a highlight reel of the book which is why it's so ironic that the publishers are doing a movie-tie in cover.  In case you'd rather read it gratis, Les Miserables is available for free at The Guttenberg Project

Here's my words for Kathy's meme:
Asperity  Hugo's sentence is too long to reproduce here but basically 'the bishop levied the fees upon the wealthy with all the greater asperity' because he was using those additional fees to help the poor.

I got the impression that the bishop was pretty rigid in his collections - punctual payment only.
According to Dictionary.com
harshness or sharpness of tone, temper, or manner; severity;acrimony: The cause of her anger did not warrant such asperity.
hardship; difficulty; rigor: the asperities of polar weather.
roughness of surface; unevenness.
something rough or harsh.
Yes, that about sums it up!

Galloon  "A wealthy retired merchant ...  had amassed two millions in the manufacture of coarse cloth, serges and woolen galloons." Woolen Galloons!? This I gotta see . 

Galloon trim.

This is Galloon lace.                                 
Hmmm. That lace isn't wool. And the tassle doesn't feel right either although both items existed during the period. 

I turned to the Metropolitan Museum of Arts Online  Gallery. Galloon

Aha! Obviously all three are forms of trim but the third one is, according to the Met, a woolen galloon c 17th - 18th century.

Guess I ought to double check with the dictionary.

a narrow band of cord, embroidery, silver or gold braid, etc, used onclothes and furniture
[C17: from French galon,  from Old French galonner  to trim withbraid, of unknown origin]

Aha! Galloon IS trim.  Now that makes sense. What new words did you learn this week? Visit Kathy and play along.


  1. At first glance, I thought galloon seemed familiar but I'm sure I was thinking of gallon. You really did your research on that word. I'm not sure I'll read the book but I may go see the movie.

  2. As one who has tatted and crocheted lace, my experience with galloon was a picot edge on both sides of a narrow panel of lace. Very interesting to read the definition.

    Okay, I am going to challenge you (et moi aussi) to read the unabridged Les Miserables. If you want to get inspired, read the first three or four comments on Amazon. I just ordered the Signet Classics unabridged, translated by Fahnestock and MacAfee - yes... it has 1,488 pages. Gulp


    1. Ahhh, tatting, I had forgotten that one. My grandmother knew how to do that.
      That's quite a challenge Genie - I will check out the comments - but I know they will be very positive. 1,488 pages! No wonder the FREE SAMPLE on Nook is 229 pages.

    2. Everyone says that it is a "life changing experience" and that is not from literary types. I do speak French and love the French history so I am ready.

      Let me know when you plan to start as I am looking for a study guide also.


    3. I'll think about it but probably not :(

    4. I don't mean to sound so rude about it! I'm just feeling it's a bit daunting right now.

  3. Interesting words, can't wait for the movie.


  4. :) have seen the play on Broadway and loved it! the book, might read it..
    i knew asperity but galloon was new..

  5. I like galloon...love your photos of the lace and trim too. THANKS.

    I never find good words. :) Just checking our everyone else's words.

    I think The Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet would make a great movie.


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    1. Hi Elizabeth! It's so hard to find good words isn't it? And when Wednesday comes around sometimes I feel like all I'm doing is scanning for a new word instead of focusing on the book! :)

  6. Both new words for me too Sim. I am looking forward to the movie more and more, although I know the boys will be dragging me along to see The Hobbit, I'm not sure if I'll be able to do two movies in the one week.

    1. I would go where my boys wanted to drag me! The magnificent Les Miserables ... and the Hobbit too ... will both be playing for several weeks. Just don't miss it. (I've done that to myself. Told myself, "I'll see it next week, I'll see it next week" and then by the time I actually get to the theatre it's gone, gone, gone.

  7. Great new word for me -- I do love this story.


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