Waterloo is in modern day Belgium near Brussels. The statue of the Lion sits as a memorial to the battle and was started in 1820 about 5 years after the battle by the King of the Netherlands along with its manmade conical hill. As he says, Hugo visited here in 1861 and hung around to finish his love. It has always struck me as an interesting thing that Hugo spins off on such a detailed description of historical aspects of France, especially this Battle of Waterloo and the sewer system of Paris. It’s similar to Melville’s exhaustive, almost scientific, description of whales. They are fascinated with the detail. And the knowledge of the detail provides the backdrop from which their story springs.

Perhaps the creativity springs from curiosity? For certain, the colorful detail is reflective of many hours of study and observation through which they gathered information. Let me run with that one for a minute…If creativity springs from curiosity, then…

  1. The best manager has a background of detailed knowledge relevant to the people he/she is managing.
  2. The best teacher has applied his/her knowledge in the field.
  3. The best practice leading to creative expression is to follow your interests deep in study and get lost in another world.
  4. And of course, the best speaker is the one who has really listened.

Still haven’t figured out if Hugo’s claim on the family of Hougomont is legit. But even if its not, I like the connection!