Friday, June 06, 2008

Father Brown's First Name

Upon reading the introduction by R. T. Bond, which comes before my cherished Father Brown omnibus I came across an interesting fact: Chesterton mentions Father's Brown's first name in two different places, and they are different each time!

1. Our beloved priest detective is referred to as "the reverend J. Brown". This may give a connection to Father John O'Connor, who inspired G.K. Chesterton to write of an outwardly insignificant man whose real character did not match his external appearance.

2. Flambeau once calls Father Brown "Paul". "Paul" originally meant "little" which would seem to point to Father Brown's wonderful humility.

6 comments:

gilbertgirl said...

Wow, intriguing! Where exactly in the books does Flambeau address him as Paul?

Lucia said...

In "The Sign of the Broken Sword".

Oh, and it's the narrator who calls him Paul, not Flambeau. I mixed that up a bit. :S

Oh, and did you know that a "flambeau" is a lighted torch use to illuminate Mardi Gras processions?

Algernon said...

I didn't know that, but I do know its what you do to bananas foster.

Yum! :-)

Hans Lundahl said...

flambeaux means torch whatever the occasion, in french

the Frenchies can't be made to pronounce the word torch, you know

Mythology Master said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mythology Master said...

I have looked this up, and I have found some CONTRADICTING EVIDENCE!!! In "The Eye of Apollo", it clearly states in the last sentence of the first paragraph, "The official description of the short man was the Rev. J. Brown . . .". However, in this same book (The Innocence and Wisdom of Father Brown, The Barnes and Noble Library of Essential Reading), I also found where the narrator calls Fr. Brown "Paul". In The Father Brown Omnibus that I have out from a library, though, it replaces "Paul" with "the priest", and "Rev. J. Brown" with "Reverend Brown". Oh, well. On another note, I also know that "Flambeau" can also mean "a large ornamental candlestick", and that it comes from the French flambe (flame). His real last name was Duroc, but he chose the name Flambeau when he went into the criminal business. It could be a reference to his temper or it could be a reference to the way that he disappears and reappears (flickering flame). Also, he is a large and muscular man, and his first name is Hercule, or, in English, Hercules, the muscle-bound Greek hero. Coincidence? I think not.

Gandalf