I think 2022 is the time we finally stop with the narrative of Enjolras hating Marius. I mean, Enjolras doesn’t pay much attention to him but they’re not enemies. I think they are running buddies. They go out for a run together every morning and they don’t talk too much until Enjolras tries to explain him his political views.
writing canon era dialogue
for @fennecfett and @juliensorelisoverparty who asked about canon era dialogue!
To be honest, there is not a ton of advice I can give on this front because at the end of the day, it's a personal stylistic choice. Especially in English there is no one right way to do it. Even just looking at actual translations of Les Mis, you'll see there's a wide variety of language used--from the overly archaic to the highly modernized. And if you read current historical fiction, you'll find that it's not necessarily written in the style of the period--or sometimes it is! It's completely your choice as a writer.
But for most writers, you probably want to find a happy medium between using super modern slang or throwing around "thee" and "thou" like Hapgood does. Some basic tips:
It is generally a more formal style, but again, the extent of this is really your choice. If your intent is to sound more authentic, you may want to imitate the style of your translation or other works from the period.
Remember that characterization isn't just what's said, but how they say it--and this holds for any fanfiction, not just in canon era. Grantaire's style of speaking is long and rambling, Combeferre's is short and cutting (think long rants vs snappy comebacks.) Enjolras is ordinarily quite taciturn, but his speeches are lyrical and soaring. Etc.
One of the hallmarks of how Hugo writes Les Amis is their wit! Hugo and his characters love puns and wordplay.
If you're not sure whether or not a word or phrase was used back then, Google Books Ngram viewer is your best friend, since it can show you the frequency of its occurrence over time.
One specific thing I will caution against is the idea that a shortcut to making speech sound "old fashioned" is to just omit contractions (making every "don't" into "do not," "wouldn't" into "would not," etc.) It's not true that contractions weren't used in English in the 19th century, and of course French uses plenty of contractions. You may want to use them less often to preserve the formality of the language, but omitting them entirely will just make your dialogue sound stilted and unnatural--and very distracting to modern readers.
I'd also love to see more acknowledgement that most of Les Amis would not only speak French, and may not speak French as a first language. Being from the South (except Lesgle), it's likely they would have also spoken a variety of regional dialects of Occitan.
Now for the actual sources!
Since French in English language fanfiction is typically restricted to interjections or basic phrases, here's some from a French textbook from 1881.
(And of course, Courfeyrac's Pardieu!)
I also found something SO COOL while researching this: a French-English dictionary of idioms and proverbs, from 1830! Some examples:
"Does he expect that larks are going to fall roasted into his mouth?" > Does he expect a sudden fortune to fall to him?
"That's an ugly hat he's got there." > That's a bad mark on his character.
"He's in debt to God and the Devil." > He's up to his ears in debt.
"He drinks like a sponge." > He's a heavy drinker.
+ so many more! This is such a cool resource for canon era language, and definitely useful for adding a little color to your dialogue! The only thing is that the English translations in this book are NOT literal translations of the French, so it will help to have at least some knowledge of French.
For good measure, I've got two dictionaries of slang here too, although I'm not sure how useful they are for English language fic.
A Dictionary of Idioms, French and English
William A. Bellenger, 1830
New French Method
F. Duffet, 1881
Dictionnaire du jargon parisien: l'argot ancien et l'argot moderne
Lucien Rigaud, 1878
Argot and Slang: A New French and English Dictionary of the Cant Words, Quaint Expressions, Slang Terms and Flash Phrases Used in the High and Low Life of Old and New Paris
Albert Barrère, 1889