Three summers ago, I did nothing but drive around Middlebury, Vermont, blasting Lana Del Rey and chain-smoking cigarettes. It was—and I will be dramatic, because that is how it felt—an act of survival. That summer I was in an academic program where we were only allowed to speak or be spoken to in French....more
Posts Tagged: French
Supposedly, the best way to master a foreign language is to fall in love with a native speaker. Language, in delineating a boundary that can be transgressed, is full of romantic potential. … If first languages are reservoirs of emotion, second languages can be rivers undammed, freeing their speakers to ride different currents.
A profile on Arthur Goldhammer, who has translated over 100 books from French to English.
As a translator, Goldhammer tries to find a pragmatic middle-ground between literalism and freestyle. The goal is to be faithful to the contents of a book but also find a style for it that works in English.
(n.); artist’s studio or workshop; c. 1840, from the old French astelier (“carpenter’s workshop, woodpile”)
“Part of what I loved about poetry was how the distinction between fiction and nonfiction didn’t obtain,” [Lerner] says, “how the correspondence between text and world was less important than the intensities of the poem itself.”
From “With Storms Outside, Inner Conflicts Swirl”
How the old French word for a splinter of wood (astelle, likely from the Latin astula) evolved to eventually refer to an artist’s abode may be fodder only for the most archaic linguist....more
Alors, Mademoiselle, have you noticed how we French, unlike our Anglo-Saxon friends, use all the muscles in our face and mouth when speaking? Raise your upper lip toward your nose. When performed correctly, this action will cause the nostrils to flare.
“Here I am wanting some other language to rescue me, wanting some escape route, when the very desire to transform, to mean something in the world, to take to the air, is such a chubby little caterpillar urge. If I were only a bit older and sadder, a bit more eager to trot out pleasant prose, would I soon be puttering around Provence, writing some whimsical foodie memoir and chuckling about the locals?...more
The Words without Borders blog has a fascinating post on two novellas by Jack Kerouac in his native French, works that were written in the early 1950s and which reflect his interest in Proust, Balzac and the French literary tradition....more