The Prague Cemetery Chapter 9

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Page 159

Père Lunette

Père Lunette, 1902, photograph by Atget. Used in accordance with non-commercial research use. Source

A notorious bar.

The New York Times in 1888 called it "one of the worst dens in Paris" New York Times The Times' description is worth quoting at length:

"There is no doubt... that Père Lunette's cabaret merited its evil reputation, as it was there that the murderer Gamahut was arrested, not to speak of innumerable pickpockets and petty thieves. The police tolerate it under surveillance, as it proves a tempting trap to criminals.
"The outside of the establishment is suggestively painted in blood-red hues, while over the door hangs a no less suggestive pair of spectacles. The first room is almost entirely taken up with a capacious bar... Along the opposite wall is disposed a series of wooden stalls that remind one somewhat of the pews of a church. Each stall is provided with a leather strap, that serves to brace up intoxicated persons...
"Late at night the cabaret is full of sordid women in dirty white caps and camisoles, and of rowdies with red cravats and greasy love locks over their ears. In the stalls are strapped males and females in various stages of intoxication ; whenever any of them becomes too uproarious a pail of water is thrown over him or her, as the case may be. The floor is frequently washed down, for obvious reasons. From the rear room comes refrains of ribald songs..."

Page 160

Richard Dixon, translator of The Prague Cemetery, stated in an interview that he usually tried to avoid 20th century English words in his translation, but made an exception for "umpteenth":

Richard Dixon: "Generally it caused no difficulty - when in doubt the Oxford English Dictionary is invaluable in giving the earliest uses of a word. I remember being unsure what to do when I discovered that “umpteenth”, which is really the only translation for “ennesimo”, was given as being a 20th Century word, but it fitted the context so well that I used it regardless." Source

offered to do customers' portraits
The Times reported in 1888 that the illustrator Jacques de Chanterive would, at the Père Lunette, sketch people's portraits for 20 sous, in five minutes. New York Times

Les Halles
the traditional central market of Paris. Wikipedia

Page 161

Noblot, in rue de lat Huchette
Eco seems to have found the description of the restaurant Noblot and the surrounding neighborhood from a book published in 1898, "La Bievre et Saint Severin." [1]

Page 162

grisettes... courtesans"
A surprising taxonomy of prostitutes:

grisettes - the word evolved over the centuries, but by the 19th century it evoked "independent young women, often working as seamstresses or milliner's assistants, who frequented bohemian artistic and cultural venues in Paris. They formed relationships with artists and poets more committed than prostitution but less so than a mistress. Many grisettes worked as artist's models, often providing sexual favours to the artists in addition to posing for them." Wikipedia Characters who embody the grisette appear in many of the novels Eco draws on for this novel: "as Rigolette in Eugene Sue’s The Mysteries of Paris, as Fantine in Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables... Trilby in George Du Maurier's novel of the same name". (Ibid.)
dames aux camélias - "The Lady of the Camellias (French: La Dame aux camélias) is a novel by Alexandre Dumas, fils, first published in 1848, and subsequently adapted for the stage. The Lady of the Camellias premiered at the Théâtre du Vaudeville in Paris, France on February 2, 1852. The play was an instant success, and Giuseppe Verdi immediately set about putting the story to music. His work became the 1853 opera La Traviata, with the female protagonist, Marguerite Gautier, renamed Violetta Valéry." Wikipedia

Clément Fabre de Lagrange
presumably the head of the French service... need sources

Direction Générale de la Sûreté Publique
the French government's Board of Public Safety. This body filed obscenity and immorality charges against Charles Baudelaire for his Les fleurs du mal.

Page 163

Daumier drawing
One of Daumier's Croquis parisiens ("Sketches of Parisians").

Page 164

Things sold at an antique or junk store.

Café Anglais
recall that Simonini visits this cafe on Page 17, which takes place in 1897 when Simonini is an older man. This chapter, which takes place around 1861, shows Simonini forming the life and habits that would occupy the rest of his life (dealing in antiques, the same cafes, etc).

Page 165

fascinated by the passages
The passages in Paris are arcades which began to be constructed around the beginning of the nineteenth century.

The philosopher Walter Benjamin wrote an unfinished book, referred to as the Arcades Project, on Paris life in the 19th century, especially the passages. Wikipedia

Passage des Panoramas as it appears today, photo by John Althouse Cohen, Creative Commons, source
Passage des Panoramas as it appears today, photo by "wolfB1958", Creative Commons, source
Passage Jouffroy as it appears today, photo by "MsAnthea", Creative Commons, source

French for "followers" or "trackers"-- people who follow. More sources needed

"Who said that a philosopher is someone who watches the audience and not the stage at the café chantant?"

Page 166

The placement of the signatures suggests that this was drawn by "P. Kaufmann" and engraved by "Quesnes". There is a wood engraving here with original drawing by "P. Kaufmann", but that's all I could find. Annotator1

Page 167

Abbé Boullan
a key figure in the history (or pseudo-history) of satanism in 19th century France. Wikipedia

Return to The Prague Cemetery

Chapter 1
pp. 1-4
Chapter 2
pp. 5-28
Chapter 3
pp. 29-46
Chapter 4
pp. 47-82
Chapter 5
pp. 83-96
Chapter 6
pp. 97-113
Chapter 7
pp. 114-139
Chapter 8
pp. 140-158
Chapter 9
pp. 159-167
Chapter 10
pp. 168-169
Chapter 11
pp. 170-190
Chapter 12
pp. 191-210
Chapter 13
pp. 211
Chapter 14
pp. 212-228
Chapter 15
pp. 229-232
Chapter 16
pp. 233-235
Chapter 17
pp. 236-259
Chapter 18
pp. 260-271
Chapter 19
pp. 272-277
Chapter 20
pp. 278-283
Chapter 21
pp. 284-301
Chapter 22
pp. 302-330
Chapter 23
pp. 331-377
Chapter 24
pp. 378-397
Chapter 25
pp. 398-407
Chapter 26
pp. 408-426
Chapter 27
pp. 427-437