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"A Lodging For The Night" by Robert Louis Stevenson

[ Edited ]

I thought I would give "A Lodging For the Night" it's very own special thread. "A Lodging For The Night"is a short story found in "The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Other Stories" by Robert Louis Stevenson and immediately follows "The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" in the B&N collection. As I previously stated in another thread, a cold winter's night brings a thief and a soldier under the same roof, obscuring the difference between them. So what is the difference between a thief and a soldier really?

 

Chad

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Re: "A Lodging For The Night" by Robert Louis Stevenson

There probably should be a separate "short story" genre, but I might post a few short story threads in the classic section.

 

Chad

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Re: "A Lodging For The Night" by Robert Louis Stevenson

[ Edited ]

chad wrote:

I thought I would give "A Lodging For the Night" it's very own special thread. "A Lodging For The Night"is a short story found in "The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Other Stories" by Robert Louis Stevenson and immediately follows "The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" in the B&N collection. As I previously stated in another thread, a cold winter's night brings a thief and a soldier under the same roof, obscuring the difference between them. So what is the difference between a thief and a soldier really?

 

Chad


Well, the difference between the soldier and the thief was actually somewhat obscure during that time period. Hired mercenaries had been roaming the south of France- now out or work, the mercenary turned rogue. Similarly, the hired "buccaneer"  turned pirate when he found himself unemployed after the treaty of Utrecht. Again, Stevenson was fascinated with this intersection of light and dark in characters like the pirate, or the rogue soldier.

 

But the thief and the soldier are separate characters in this short story. And the soldier is not a mercenary soldier, but perhaps a remnant of the age of chivalry (i.e. guided by higher notions of God and country.) Possibly the last knight. And the thief was a "master of arts." So, although a thief, Villon was someone with a role in society, albeit a destructive one. Religion (over a changing religion), is how these two characters meet. Religion is often found at this intersection of the light and the dark....

 

Chad  

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Re: "A Lodging For The Night" by Robert Louis Stevenson

just to add:

 

Wine, money, rum, and of course the famous elixir created by Dr. Jekyll are also things found where the light and the dark meet and things which Stevenson writes about. "Twilight" is a famous natuural phenonomenon made even more popular by writers by Bram Stoker in "Draciula." And you may have seen the "Twilight" series- another notable example. 

 

Chad

 

PS- I just tried some Bacardi Select which I found to be pretty good rum. There are all kinds of interesting rums, but it's an alcoholic elixir I never really got into- Well, maybe after "Treasure island" I will be...

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Re: "A Lodging For The Night" by Robert Louis Stevenson:money

Gold annd silver plates and goblets, in addition to coins (whites)  are mentioned in the story. So, basically and hypothetically, depending on how much gold and silver I have, I can craft a plate or a goblet or mint some coins. If I am a monarch, or the regime in control, I would perhaps want silver and gold crafts (i.e. plates and goblets) and maybe reserve some for the minting of some coins. At one point in the story, Villon realizes the currency almost seems like something crafted for the poor, or even for prostitutes, and tosses the "two whites" taken from a dead prostitute into the snow. Well, maybe not the most cheery of stories I guess. But another interesting thought about money.

 

Chad

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Re: "A Lodging For The Night" by Robert Louis Stevenson:religion

It's difficult not to read Stevenson and not leave with a bad impression of religion, especially in this particular short story. But just a couple of points that Stevenson sometimes makes in his stories: religion usually does not exist without a "dark side." (i.e. you  may hear often that God cannot exist without the devil). Moreover, historically, religion held a stronger union with government(s)- then along came the reformation- or so history goes. Our own U.S, history still seeks separation of church and state. But, if Stevenson did not write some of these wonderful stories, then we might not ask ourselves if a stronger union between church and state is necsessary today, or maybe about what type of union worked then- there was corruption certainly, but also balance, I think:smileywink:....

 

Chad  

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Re: "A Lodging For The Night" by Robert Louis Stevenson:religion

So. if you were a knight in the middle ages, you're moral objectives might be more synonomous with your government or leader, through chivalric code for example. And as government separated from religion, moral objectives and government objectives separated, sometimes becoming complete antagonists, perhaps in the form of "conscientous objection"- although I think this form of objection came later in history... 

 

But I thought the "mean" point in the story (you can't call it a short story without one) was that at the point in history (i.e maybe around 1452), religion was undermining itself through education of characters like Louis Villon. Morality was not only needed in war, but also in the arts and education. The gradual separation of church and state led to the development of an "educated elite", (i.e. a scientific community), which would sometimes proceed without morals sometimes found in religions, or undermine religious beliefs entirely (i.e. creationism vs evolution).

 

 

Chad    

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Re: "A Lodging For The Night" by Robert Louis Stevenson: technocracy

 

"Technocracy" was not defined until later- after Stevenson's time, although "technocracies" are what Stevenson writes about in the latter half of the 19th century- and he writes about "early" technocracies which include the arts or law- not necessarily science and engineering technocracies, although a technocracy is typically defined as a regime based in science and technology. The online dictionary defines a technocracy as follows :

 

"a theory and movement, prominent about 1932, advocating control of industrial resources, reform of financial institutions, and reorganization of the social system, based on the findings of technologists and engineers

 

So, I saw this evil group of men introduced in the beginning of the "A Lodging for the Night" @1456, as an early technocracy, or the early formation of a technocracy -an "intelligent" class of people which could control with "technical" knowledge. But it was a "thievish" class of people, a class without morals, or very few.....the church was losing it's "might"- had lost its might by about that time....

 

Chad

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"technocracy"

I thought the" technocracy" that Stevenson writes about in "A lodging for the Night" was more of a art/religion technocracy (i.e. a rennaisance technocracy), rather than a science/law technocracy which Stevenson writes about in "Jekyll and Hyde" in the latter half of 19th century. A good example of a technocracy might the 19th century might be the "India Office." The "India Office", if you remember, was a "technocracy" Melmotte was unable to penetrate in "The Way We Live Now" by Anthony Trollope.

 

Chad

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Religion/Art technocracies

Stevenson ends his life somewhat tragically in the Samoas, supposedly dying of a brain hemmorhage. B he died as "Tusitala", teller of tales- a name given by the local Samoans. It's interesting to move back and forth between "A Lodging", "Jekyll and Hyde" and "Treasure Island", because you get the sense that there were probably "primitive" or "early" forms of technocracies (i.e.religious/artistic technocracies) on the islands like, The Fijis, or the The Samoas, where entire Native Cultures were slowly changed with the arrival of Christian missionaries- and some entirely wiped out by disease. And what was left were the churches erected by the missionaries and  the "art" of the native culture(s). But if you visit the Fijis, you might encounter Christian churches adorned with the art of the native culture(s). And perhaps our own "renaissance era" was in part a religious/artistic technocracy that formed the basis of many modern western civilizations.

 

Chad

 

PS- "Island medicine" was supposedly lost with diseases brought by outsiders to Fijis and others....

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Religion/Art technocracies:The Iliad

I may have even detected a hint of a technocracy in "The Iliad" with its artistically designed weaponry, and of course, the gods and goddesses...

 

Chad