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For the King by Catherine Delors

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Susan
Bibliomaniac
Location: New Jersey, USA

Postby Susan » Mon August 16th, 2010, 2:59 pm

"Michy" wrote: I would have expected "unusually tall" to be more along the lines of George Washington, who was 6'3" or 6'4". Were the French people (or the people of the Auvergne region) of generally smaller stature?)


Washington was 6'2"...was just at his home, Mount Vernon over the weekend. 6'2" still would have been tall for that time period.

I just found some interesting stuff on a Wikipedia page about Heights of Presidents of the United States and presidential candidates
~Susan~
~Unofficial Royalty~
Royal news updated daily, information and discussion about royalty past and present
http://www.unofficialroyalty.com/

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Catherine Delors
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Location: Paris, London, Los Angeles
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Postby Catherine Delors » Mon August 16th, 2010, 3:39 pm

I just started the book yesterday, but I do have a question about a small bit of trivia. That is, you describe Roch Miquel as being unusually tall at just under six feet. I know that, generally speaking, people were shorter in centuries past, but I wouldn't have expected 5'11" to be unusually tall for a man, even in 1800. I would have expected "unusually tall" to be more along the lines of George Washington, who was 6'3" or 6'4". Were the French people (or the people of the Auvergne region) of generally smaller stature?

Nothing trivial about trivia! For one thing, French feet and inches, "mesure de Paris" were longer than their English counterparts. A trap for the unwary when reading pre-metric French documents.

In any case, Roch's 5'11", even in English feet and inches, would still be taller than average in modern-day US, UK and France. See this:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_height
So Roch would have been very tall in 1800, when average heights were inches shorter than nowadays.

Now for the height of US Presidents:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heights_of_Presidents_of_the_United_States_and_presidential_candidates
Washington and Jefferson were exceptionally tall.

And if you are interested in height issues, see this discussion on Napoleon on my blog:
http://blog.catherinedelors.com/was-bonaparte-short-and-other-related-issues/

As for height issues, I know what you mean. I am 5'7", which puts me slightly above average as an adult, but I had already reached my adult size by age eleven, which made me a giantess in elementary school. It wasn't easy... :)

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Catherine Delors
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Location: Paris, London, Los Angeles
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Postby Catherine Delors » Mon August 16th, 2010, 3:41 pm

Arhhh, Susan, you beat me to it! :D

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Michy
Bibliophile
Location: California

Postby Michy » Mon August 16th, 2010, 3:59 pm

"Catherine Delors" wrote:Washington and Jefferson were exceptionally tall.


And one musn't forget Lincoln.

As for height issues, I know what you mean. I am 5'7", which puts me slightly above average as an adult, but I had already reached my adult size by age eleven, which made me a giantess in elementary school. It wasn't easy... :)


It definitely shapes your psyche, at least it has in my case. :) I was 5'8" by the time I was 12 -- it wasn't until my senior year in high school that the boys starting catching up to me (and even then some of them never did, much less the girls!). And then, I grew more sometime between the ages of 18 and 20 -- highly unusual for a girl.

Thanks for answering my question. In spite of all the statistics, it is really hard for me to consider 5'11" above average for a modern man in the US. But then, my perspective is no doubt influenced by my own stature, which is, with the heel height I wear on most days, about 6 feet. :D
Last edited by Michy on Mon August 16th, 2010, 4:06 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Catherine Delors
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Location: Paris, London, Los Angeles
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Postby Catherine Delors » Mon August 16th, 2010, 4:51 pm

Yes, Lincoln was still taller, but he was not an 18th century man.

And no doubt we all bring our personal issues to the books we read. Just try not to picture Roch as too much of a midget, and all will be fine. :) Not that his height is much of an issue for the rest of the book anyway.

Don't hesitate to ask if you have more questions. For the King is being discussed at my 18th century list right now, so I am in full query-answering mode.

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Michy
Bibliophile
Location: California

Postby Michy » Mon August 16th, 2010, 6:58 pm

Thanks for the info. I always like learning something new, and today I've learned that people in the 18th century were, on average, even smaller than I realized. Yet one more reason I'm glad I didn't live back then -- I would have really been a freak!! :eek:

I think others have already commented on it somewhere, but I thought the passage of the little peasant girl who held the horse was poignant. Your description of her made my heart hurt a little. :o

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Catherine Delors
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Postby Catherine Delors » Mon August 16th, 2010, 8:08 pm

Yes, but in the 18th century, you too would probably have been shorter... In Mistress of the Revolution, I had a protagonist (historical character too) who was really, really tall.

Thanks for the kind words on the poor little street vendor. I am glad I was able to bring her back to life, though so little is known about her. She exemplifies the toll taken by terrorism on the innocent.

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Michy
Bibliophile
Location: California

Postby Michy » Mon August 16th, 2010, 8:29 pm

Then again, I may have been like Mary Queen of Scots, who was about 5'10". She must have REALLY stood out in a crowd!!

I am pleased with the way you manage to smoothly work in helpful information about the various political and administrative factions in France at this time. My knowledge of the French Revolution is minimal, but I feel that I am getting everything so far without being confused, but also without feeling like I'm being "lectured." :)

BTW, this is so cool to be able to correspond with the author of the book while I'm reading it. A new experience for me!!

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Catherine Delors
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Postby Catherine Delors » Mon August 16th, 2010, 8:41 pm

Oh, it is fun for me too to have direct reader feedback!
Every historical novelist is faced with the same dilemma: either omit crucial historical information, or lecture the reader until her eyes glaze over... :) This is particularly true of the French Revolution, which, as you say, is not necessarily familiar territory to many American readers.

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Michy
Bibliophile
Location: California

Postby Michy » Mon August 16th, 2010, 8:55 pm

I am going back and re-reading the threads on this forum pertaining to this book, since they all make more sense now that I'm reading it myself. I recall one where there was discussion about the use of "Citizen" vs. "Citoyenne" (sorry if I mis-spelled that!), and also one where you mentioned re-adjusting to France after an absence of many years. I can't seem to find these posts. Do you recall which thread they were under?


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