Via Mala, John Knittel
Il fonda une société. L'évêque de Coire, l'abbé d'Andruss, les barons de Thusis, et quelques paysans qui avaient de l'argent constituèrent un capital, et le capitaine Lauretz fut chargé de l'exploitation de la montagne d'argent. Les dossiers de son administration brûlèrent au début du siècle dernier au cours de l'incendie du monastère d'Andruss. Le peuple « libéré » et les soldats de Napoléon pris d'un nouvel accès de rage, avaient brûlé et démoli à droite et à gauche. Ils finirent par découvrir que la guerre et la révolution n'était pas une opération fructueuse et ils abandonnèrent leur furieuses méthodes.

(Google's translation - original version in English but not available to me)
He founded a company. The bishop of Coire, the abbot of Andruss, the barons of Thusis, and some peasants who had money constituted a capital, and captain Lauretz was charged with the exploitation of the mountain of money. The files of its administration burned at the beginning of the last century during the fire of the monastery of Andruss. The "liberated" people and Napoleon's soldiers, seized with a new fit of rage, had burned and demolished right and left. Eventually they discovered that war and revolution was not a fruitful operation and they abandoned their furious methods.

Possibly in reason of the local historical context or the historical context at large, scare quotes have been used for the word "libéré" in the text above. What might the author have intended to highlight? Is there no more to make of it than take it as an expected remark from an author who did not sympathize with the invader?

  • 1
    Welcome to Literature SE! What language was Via Mala first published in? Wikipedia says all of Knittel's novels were originally written in English, but I don't know if that's reliable info. We welcome questions about literature from all languages, of course, but as the primary language of this site is English, our policy is that quotes in posts should be, if possible, included in both the original language and in English.
    – Rand al'Thor
    Mar 30, 2023 at 12:43
  • @LPH What are scare quotes and what makes them more frightening than regular quotes? How do you tell scare quotes from regular quotes? Mar 30, 2023 at 17:15
  • @M.A.Golding This type of quotes is giving a signal that the author is considering a term in a particular way, which might be his or a widely acknowledged way. (ex;: The "final solution" had been agreed upon. (context of nazism, well known)). They are not easy to recognize, it takes practice with the language and knowledge of the culture, and at times the reader, particularly the lesss expert one, might not be too sure. Often enough, as in the present case where a knowledge of history and of the author's opinion do help, it is difficult to understand for certain what is being implied.
    – LPH
    Mar 30, 2023 at 17:24


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.