Places: The Wandering Jew

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

First published: Le Juif errant, 1844-1845 (English translation, 1868)

Type of work: Novel

Type of plot: Melodrama

Time of work: 1831-1832

Asterisk denotes entries on real places.

Places Discussed*Paris

*Paris. Wandering Jew, TheFrance’s capital city, the focal point of the novel, is minutely defined as the Red Room in number 3, rue Saint François, the house where the heirs to the fortune are instructed to assemble on February 13, 1832, and then reassemble on June 1. It is near the rue Saint-Gervais and the rue Doré in the Marais district.

Other significant settings in the novel are numerous but would be tightly clustered if plotted on a map. In the rue du Milieu-des-Ursins, off the quai Napoleon near rue Landry, Rodin serves as secretary to the abbé d’Aigrigny. The Baudouin house, where Dagobert’s wife Agricola and Mother Bunch live, is in the rue Brise-Miche, near the Church of Saint-Méry. The sumptuous Saint-Dizier town house, in which Adrienne is introduced, is number 7, rue de Babylone. The Comte de Montbron lives at 7, place Vendôme. Baleiner’s asylum, where Adrienne is confined, is next door to St. Mary’s Convent, where Rose and Blanche are secreted; the convent’s gardens look out on to the boulevard de l’Hôpital.

Mother Arsène’s shop, where Rodin rents the rooms where he keeps his picture inscribed “Sara Papa,” is 4, rue Clovis, in Montagne St. Geneviève. Djalma is established by the treacherous Faringhea in a house in the rue Blanche. After her release from the asylum Adrienne takes up residence in the rue d’Anjou. The Jesuits’ retreat, which becomes a highly significant setting in the late phases of the plot, is at the end of the rue Vaugirard. Marshal Simon lives in the rue des Trois-Frères. The temporary hospital where Morok dies of rabies and the cholera epidemic claims the lives of Rose and Blanche is in the rue de Mont-Blanc. Saint-Colombe’s house, where Adrienne and Djalma perish, is in the rue de Richelieu.

Famous Parisian landmarks used as backdrops for important scenes include the Champs-Elysées, the Porte-Saint-Martin theater, and the square of Nôtre-Dame, where the cholera masquerade takes place. The Wandering Jew looks down on the city from the crest of Montmartre, where–unknown to Sue–the famous basilica of Sacré-Coeur was later to be constructed. The abbey of St. John where Herodias experiences her vision does not appear to be in Paris, although she was there earlier; its actual location is not specified.

Möckern

Möckern (mewk-ehrn). German village two miles northwest of Leipzig. The site of a French defeat in the Napoleonic Wars, it is a significant choice for the location of the White Falcon, the inn in which Morok attacks Dagobert, Rose, and Blanche in the novel’s opening chapters, eventually contriving to have them imprisoned in Leipzig.

*Batavia

*Batavia (bah-TAY-vee-ah). Major port on the island of Java (now part of Indonesia). Although a native of India (his father was king of the hill state of Mundi), Djalma is living there when he narrowly escapes death at the hands of the strangler–who then retreats to the ruins of Tchandi, about nine miles to the west. Djalma is imprisoned in Batavia before setting sail for France.

Château de Cardoville

Château de Cardoville (shah-TOH deh car-doh-VEEL). Adrienne’s family home, situated on the cliffs of Picardy, not far from Saint Valery. Rodin visits it before the Black Eagle goes down within sight of it; Rose, Blanche, and Djalma are among the survivors who are brought there.

*Plessis

*Plessis (PLEH-see). Town near Paris where François Hardy’s ill-fated factory is situated. The village of Villiers, where conspiracies are hatched against him, is close by.

*Bering Strait

*Bering Strait. Stretch of ocean that separates Siberia from Alaska, serving in this novel as the symbolically loaded venue at which the Wandering Jew and Herodias signal to each other from opposite shores before the Wandering Jew wends his weary way to Paris from the Siberian cape.

Springwater Farm

Springwater Farm. Rural retreat, near the village of Saint-Aubin in the Sologne region of France’s Loire valley, to which Gabriel and the other survivors of the plot’s attrition eventually retire.

BibliographyDay, James T. “Eugène Sue.” In Nineteenth Century French Fiction Writers: Romanticism and Realism, 1800-1860. Detroit: Gale Research, 1992. Basic facts about Sue’s life and works. A good place to begin research.Murch, Alma Elizabeth. The Development of the Detective Novel. New York: Philosophical Library, 1958. Historical context for considering The Wandering Jew as an early detective novel.
Categories: Places