Hippolyte Grandcourt is a wholly imaginary character whose presence enabled me to incorporate anecdotes about Paris beyond the action of the novel. Don't rely on him to tell the exact truth; don't even rely on him for anecdotes that exactly replicate my sources. He was not, for instance, present when Offenbach handed the mendicant his Beggar's Polka.
The music of Jacques Offenbach is specially associated with the Second Empire of Napoleon III—he's the composer of the Galop Infernal
(1858) that we all know as the music to the can-can. (more…)