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MatC
310624.  Fri Apr 04, 2008 9:51 am Reply with quote

Flash wrote:
it sounds like the kind of thing that any person of culture (ie not me) ought to know already


My thought exactly. I have heard of the opera - of being the word - but, for instance, had no idea there were two A. Dumasii. And as for the shocking buttonhole stuff ... which, I imagine, would lead to comment in the Daily Tepidgraph even today ...

Did everyone else already know this story?

 
MatC
310625.  Fri Apr 04, 2008 9:53 am Reply with quote

Flash wrote:
Incidentally, I have a friend who used to work for Bodyshop while Anita Roddick was there and he says she was always coming up with eccentric ideas that they had to somehow knock into the long grass. One of them was that shop assistants ought to wear badges saying, when appropriate: "Hi! I'm menstruating!"


I think that should go in the notes. But not when Jo Brand is on the show, please ...

 
WB
310718.  Fri Apr 04, 2008 12:59 pm Reply with quote

MatC wrote:

What made the camellia so significant to lovers of the book, play or opera was that it was scentless; the character Camille was dying (nobly and uncomplainingly) of emphysema (which at that time killed great numbers in Europe and the USA every year); the camellia was the only bloom which did not make her cough.

S: “Gardeners, gurus & grubs” by George Drower (Sutton Publishing, 2001)


I think if John Sessions was on the show, he would also know that Camille (& Violetta) died of consumption (i.e. TB or Tuberculosis) not emphysema. Although there are now drug resistant strains, TB is treatable with antibiotics. Emphysema is not and the lung damage is irreversible. The coughing with TB usually brings up blood.

 
Flash
310724.  Fri Apr 04, 2008 1:18 pm Reply with quote

I've just searched the text of the translation available here:
http://www.gutenberg.org/dirs/etext99/cmlle10.txt and can't find either "tuberculosis" or "emphysema". I'm not reading the whole bloody thing through, though.

 
WB
310728.  Fri Apr 04, 2008 1:25 pm Reply with quote

I don't know what to say.

Try: http://www.amazon.com/review/R20KNCTE24KTXC

 
Flash
310737.  Fri Apr 04, 2008 1:58 pm Reply with quote

You could have said that she was based on a real liaison of Dumas' called Marie Duplessis:
Quote:
The young Dumas, while growing, somewhat dissolute, was one of the many lovers of the fascinating courtesan who was Paris' arbiter of elegance, perennial in the gazettes, carrying camellias, always. An exquisitely enchanting maiden, who rented her love, thus making and spending millions. Duplessis was notorious for her extravagance, and, conveniently, the spell she cast on rich men. She was a fixture at theaters and gaming houses. A madly desired Marie Duplessis could never have imagined she would one day be the muse of Sarah Bernhardt Pola Negri, Eleonora Duse and Greta Garbo. 'La dame aux camellias" the novel and play both became success-de-scandale, both finding an instant and feverish acclaim. This old Romantic novel is based on the true story of Alphonsine Plessis, an abnormally pretty farmer, who abused by her brutal father, runs off to Paris and becomes a grisette. It's believed Plessis began selling his daughter at the age of twelve. There, in Paris, quite effortlessly, she becomes a ravishing courtesan, a swan, before dying of consumption at the age of 23.

and that, after she dumped Dumas, she copped off with Franz Liszt.

I like the expression "rented her love".

 
Jenny
310758.  Fri Apr 04, 2008 3:08 pm Reply with quote

Flash - they wouldn't have used the word tuberculosis, but the word 'consumption' does crop up in that text. Towards the end we find:

Quote:
To-day I am ill; I may die of this illness, for I have always had
the presentiment that I shall die young. My mother died of
consumption, and the way I have always lived could but increase
the only heritage she ever left me.

 
Flash
310793.  Fri Apr 04, 2008 5:25 pm Reply with quote

Of course. Well spotted.

<coughs discreetly into handkerchief>

 
96aelw
310826.  Fri Apr 04, 2008 7:01 pm Reply with quote

Flash wrote:
after she dumped Dumas, she copped off with Franz Liszt.


While Liszt's amorous career has had a mention, I may as well lodge the nugget that the great man is said (I can't yet find a source that's willing to nail its colours to the mast on this one; they all hide behind the same caveat as me, thus far) to have ended his affair with Lola Montez by creeping out of the hotel room while she was asleep, locking the door, and running, so to speak, for the hills. I shall try to get this properly sorted out later, but if I don't stick it down here now, I shall forget to.

 
Flash
310831.  Fri Apr 04, 2008 7:33 pm Reply with quote

Yes, that one is firmly in the "allegedly" camp. This from an article I wrote for the Idler magazine some time ago:

Quote:
Returning to Berlin she attended a concert given by the wildly popular Franz Liszt and immediately succeeded in attaching herself to him; she was apparently irritated that in his company she was no longer the centre of attention, but she enjoyed meeting Wagner. After a time, though, she caused a brawl at a dinner party held in Liszt’s honour and he abandoned her, allegedly locking her into their hotel room and paying the manager not to open the door for twelve hours, by which time he was well clear of the city.


Bruce Seymour's biography describes the last bit as "a story which first appeared in print in the twentieth century" but he goes on to say that the rumour may have been current at the time, because Lola refers in her memoirs to an unflattering account of her parting from Liszt.

The endnotes say:
Quote:
For a discussion of this story, see Walker, Franz Liszt 1:393 and fn 28; MEM 2:180

MEM being Lola's memoirs (in German).

Lola also had something going on with Dumas pere, as it happens, and at least met Dumas fils as all three of them were witnesses at the trial in 1846 of the man who killed Lola's lover Dujarier in a duel.

 
MatC
310888.  Sat Apr 05, 2008 4:29 am Reply with quote

WB wrote:
I think if John Sessions was on the show, he would also know that Camille (& Violetta) died of consumption (i.e. TB or Tuberculosis) not emphysema. Although there are now drug resistant strains, TB is treatable with antibiotics. Emphysema is not and the lung damage is irreversible. The coughing with TB usually brings up blood.


As I understand it - from my lofty position of never having read, seen or heard any version of this masterwork - the illness is not specified; it was understood (ie, interpreted) at the time that she had emphysema; I would be willing to make a blind bet that future generations had her, in modern dress versions, dying of, say, TB or AIDS, as befitted the fashion of the moment.

 
MatC
310890.  Sat Apr 05, 2008 4:34 am Reply with quote

Could all this link with the Fainting/corsets stuff elsewhere, as a sort of general “19th century ladies in distress” strand?

 
Flash
310897.  Sat Apr 05, 2008 4:47 am Reply with quote

Yes, perhaps.

 
WB
310937.  Sat Apr 05, 2008 6:17 am Reply with quote

MatC wrote:
As I understand it - from my lofty position of never having read, seen or heard any version of this masterwork - the illness is not specified; it was understood (ie, interpreted) at the time that she had emphysema; I would be willing to make a blind bet that future generations had her, in modern dress versions, dying of, say, TB or AIDS, as befitted the fashion of the moment.


In my other life as a stage designer I have worked on La Traviata several times. In Act III where Violetta is dying the Doctor confides to the maid: La tisi non le accorda che poche ore. My translation of the libretto here gives "She's dying of consumption, her life is over."
La tisi is old italian for consumption. See http://www.antiquusmorbus.com/International/Italian.htm

Piave, who wrote the libretto, based the dialogue quite closely on the play.

 
MatC
310959.  Sat Apr 05, 2008 6:48 am Reply with quote

That's interesting, WB - he based it on the play, rather than the novel?

 

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