Questions tagged [french-literature]

Questions about works of literature which were originally written in the French language, regardless whether they were written or published in France or elsewhere.

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4
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1answer
169 views

What does it mean to have teeth in the English style?

In Chapter VI of Maupassant's novel Bel-Ami, the journalist Robert de Varenne describes the Baroness de Livar as follows (emphasis added): Une grande sèche, soixante ans, frisons faux, dents à l'...
3
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21 views

Is Maupassant referring to a ranking of duellists or shooters that existed in late nineteenth-century France?

In Chapter VII of the first part of Maupassant's novel Bel-Ami, the main character, Georges Duroy, is insulted by another journalist. The disagreement escalates and leads to a duel using pistols. ...
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16 views

What is so Balzacian about Mr. Walter's words to Mr. Montelin in Maupassant's Bel-Ami?

In the first few chapters of Maupassant's novel Bel-Ami, the main character, Georges Duroy, is learning the ropes of journalism. In Chapter IV of Part I, he accompanies the journalist nicknamed Saint-...
3
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2answers
80 views

What is the difference between souteneur and proxénète in Maupassant's Bel-Ami?

In the first chapters of Guy de Maupassant's novel Bel-Ami, the main character, Georges Duroy, is trying to learn the craft of journalism. The end of the book's fourth chapter tells us that he meets ...
0
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1answer
47 views

How does The Meursault Investigation reference The Fall?

Kamel Daoud's novel The Meursault Investigation (Meursault, contre-enquête, 2013) is a retelling of and sequel to The Stranger / L'Étranger by Albert Camus. But that is not the only Camus novel it ...
5
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2answers
265 views

What does it mean to “unmoor criticism”?

The introduction by Pol Neveux to the complete short stories of Guy de Maupassant (the edition that's on Project Gutenberg - I couldn't pin down its exact details) says the following about the article ...
5
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1answer
216 views

Which short stories are falsely attributed to Guy de Maupassant, and why?

Thanks to @GarethRees's sleuthing and editing, I just learned that several French short stories found in the Project Gutenberg version of the "Entire Original Maupassant Short Stories" are in fact not ...
2
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65 views

Political backdrop to “The Lancer's Wife” (Franco-Prussian War)?

"La Uhlane" is a short story by Jean Richepin, whose English translation "The Lancer's Wife" was erroneously attributed to Guy de Maupassant in the Walter Dunne edition of Maupassant's works. It ...
3
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2answers
187 views

In which interview did Camus say that Meursault is the only Christ we deserved?

In two YouTube videos about Albert Camus's novel L'étranger / The Stranger, I have found the following quote, which supposedly comes from an interview from 1955: Meursault est le seul Christ que nous ...
2
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2answers
48 views

What political leanings are being described for Monsieur Carre-Lamadon?

I've just begun reading the complete short stories of Guy de Maupassant, starting with one of his most famous, "Boule de Suif" (variously translated as "Dumpling", "Butterball", etc.) In an early ...
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1k views

How is the Czechoslovak traveller's story relevant to The Stranger as a whole?

In chapter II of Part II of Camus's novel The Stranger, Meursault narrates a story that he read in an old newspaper cutting that he found under his mattress in prison. Below is a summary. A man from ...
2
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1answer
114 views

Is Meursault bothered that he doesn't know what day Maman died?

The first line of The Stranger goes like this: Maman died today. Or yesterday maybe, I don't know. I got a telegram from the home: "Mother deceased. Funeral tomorrow. Faithfully yours." That doesn'...
3
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2answers
278 views

Why would Maman ask for a religious burial?

In the first chapter of The Stranger, it says: The director stopped at the door of a small building. "I'll leave you now, Monsieur Meursault. If you need me for anything, I'll be in my office. As ...
5
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2answers
128 views

Is Marie's comment based on the existence of a two-tier justice system in French Algeria?

In Camus' novel L'étranger / The Stranger, Meursault gets arrested for shooting "an Arab". During his pre-trial detention, his girlfriend Marie pays him a visit in prison and tries to give him some ...
2
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2answers
861 views

What is Meursault's problem with the heat?

Meursault in The Stranger seems to spend a lot of time describing the temperature, and especially the heat. There are numerous cases where he mentions the sun and the heat: It occurred to me that all ...
4
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30 views

In what way would windows appease or calm us?

Alain Bashung's song Sur un trapèze, with lyrics by Gaëtan Roussel (see the Wikipedia article about the album Bleu pétrole, released in 2008), begins with the following lines (emphasis and links ...
5
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1answer
48 views

How did they happen to find the cipher in “The Hollow Needle”?

In The Hollow Needle (1909) by Maurice Leblanc, did M. Brédoux just "drop" the paper with the Hollow Needle cipher? Maybe I missed something in the book, but the way the good guys and ...
6
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1answer
79 views

Are the Asterix comics about a drug culture?

The potions used in Asterix comic books resemble the methamphetamine usage of World War II. Has the drug culture within the comics ever been discussed?
3
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1answer
65 views

Where did French writer Céline get his pen name from?

French author Louis-Ferdinand Destouches, the author of Journey to the End of the Night, used Céline, a French female first name as his pen name. Any idea where he got it from?
7
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1answer
120 views

What’s up with the coal in “Asterix and the Chieftain’s Shield”?

In Asterix and the Chieftain’s Shield, the inhabitants of Gergovia are obsessed with wine and charcoal, all having shops selling both. The coal is used for a running gag in the book as the Romans ...
5
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1answer
86 views

Meaning of “rose” and “bleu” in Alain Bashung's “Résidents de la république ”

Alain Bashung's song “Résidents de la république” (part of the album Bleu pétrole, 2008) contains the following lines: Résidents, résidents de la république Où le rose a des reflets bleus The ...
4
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1answer
114 views

Can I read “Twenty Years After” by Alexandre Dumas without reading “The Three Musketeers”?

Can I read Twenty Years After (Vingt ans après) by Alexandre Dumas without reading The Three Musketeers (Les Trois Mousquetaires)? I have come across a site which says that Twenty Years After is a ...
6
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1answer
54 views

What is meant by «le Saint-Siège de la rue Sébastien-Bottin et la chapelle Sixtine de la rue Jacob»?

A recent issue of the French magazine Marianne (3-9 January 2020) contained an article entitled Matzneff : de l'écrivain tendance au vieux dégueulasse by Guy Konopnicki. The article contains the ...
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1answer
108 views

Huis Clos Description of the room

How does the room in hell in the first scene of the French play Huis Clos (No Exit in English) by Jean-Paul Sartre look like and how does Joseph Garcin react to it?
4
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1answer
312 views

A quote supposedly by Jean de La Fontaine

So, my Latin textbook, Hereditas Linguae Latinae, tells me (in the lesson about deponent verbs) that Jean de La Fontaine wrote, at the end of his fable The Cock and the Jewel, a Latin saying Stulti ...
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77 views

A quote supposedly from Gustave Flaubert

So, do some of you happen to know, did Gustave Flaubert really say Pulchritudo vitae in vico, ea videtur solummodo a poetis, ea non videtur a hominibus in vicis. or anything like that? If so, where? ...
3
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1answer
54 views

19th-century French “flash fiction” writer/journalist

I'm trying to find the name of a fin-de-siècle writer/feuilletoniste/journalist who wrote very short fiction pieces based on crime stories in the Paris newspapers. A collection of these was published ...
3
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1answer
54 views

What are the duties of a “receveur particulier”?

In Zola's Rougon-Macquart novels, specifically La Fortune des Rougon, set in December 1851, around the time of Napoleon III's coup d'etat, Pierre Rougon seeks to obtain the post of "receveur ...
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72 views

When and where did Maximilian first meet Valentine?

I am currently reading The Count of Monte Cristo (Wordsworth Classics English translation, complete and unabridged) and have reached page 603/875 = 69%. Around p400 the author introduces us to an ...
3
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1answer
38 views

Source of Diderot quote about tools and ideas

In the German book Usability und UX kompakt by Michael Richter and Markus Flückiger (Springer, 2016, page 159), I found the following quote, which the authors attribute to Denis Diderot: Die einen, ...
2
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1answer
67 views

Who does “he” refer to in this passage from Les Miserables?

In the following passage from Les Miserables, with characters Mr. Thenardier and Jean Valjean, who does the bold "he" refer to? Be that as it may, on entering into conversation with the man, sure ...
2
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1answer
966 views

Meaning of the prose of Monsieur Jourdain

I just stumbled across the expression in Molière's Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme of Monsieur Jourdain having been speaking prose for all of his life. As far as I understand this is used today as a ...
3
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1answer
56 views

Meaning of “temporary absolution” in Maizeroy's “The Confession”

What is "temporary absolution" in the quoted passage from "The Confession" by René Maizeroy? She grew excited, sobbed, seemed enervated and worn out, as if she were still burning from her lover’s ...
6
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1answer
388 views

In “Candide”, are Prussian officers recruiting for the Bulgarian army?

I am reading Candide as part of my A Level. In the story Candide is chased from his home and finds "Two men dressed in blue". We later learn that they are trying to recruit him in the Bulgarian army. ...
4
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1answer
5k views

The significance of Lucky's speech in 'Waiting for Godot'

In Samuel Beckett's play 'Waiting for Godot', Lucky is the slave of a character called Pozzo. Unlike the other characters in the play who talk compulsively,Lucky utters just two sentences in the play, ...
6
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1answer
173 views

Is this sentence in The Count of Monte Cristo supposed to refer to Fernand or to Albert?

In Chapter Seventy-Eight of The Count of Monte Cristo Albert shows Monte Cristo the following article from the newspaper: A correspondent at Yanina informs us of a fact of which until now we had ...
7
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1answer
293 views

Why does Mersault say “Hello image!” to his girlfriend?

I have read the novel A Happy Death by Albert Camus. In this novel Mersault (the absurd hero) at one point says to his girlfriend, "Hello, image!". I am wondering why he calls his girlfriend "image". ...
4
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2answers
812 views

Three Musketeers - the diamond studs

The plot of the first part of The Three Musketeers revolves around 12 diamond studs that Queen Anne d'Autriche gives to the Duke of Buckingham. What exactly were those studs? I mean, what was this ...
7
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1answer
1k views

Can the apparent age discrepancies in The Count of Monte Cristo be reconciled?

(Note: all emphases in quoted passages below are mine.) Continuing the theme of confusing mathematics in The Count of Monte Cristo, here is another example that stymies me: When Edmond Dantès is ...
20
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1answer
2k views

Can the Count of Monte Cristo's calculation of poison dosage be explained?

In Chapter Fifty-Two of The Count of Monte Cristo there is a discussion between the titular count and Madame de Villefort about exposing oneself to poisons: “Well,” replied Monte Cristo “suppose, ...
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0answers
171 views

Are the homoerotic hints in “La Reine Margot” intentional?

La Reine Margot by Alexandre Dumas can be read as the story of two guys, and their two girlfriends: the alpha couple is Marguerite de Valois (Margot), who's having a passionate affair with the ...
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44 views

Concept of pleasure in pedagogy in the time of Rabelais [closed]

I am currently writing a paper with 'games' as a subject. One of the axes I am working on deals with games contributing to pleasure in pedagogy, and I intend to use Rabelais' concept mentioned in ...
2
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1answer
373 views

What does Camus mean by this sentence?

I read 'A happy death' by 'Albert Camus' . In this book , Mersault once said: Believe me, there is no such thing as great suffering, great regret, great memory . . . Everything is forgotten, ...
3
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1answer
42 views

What is meant by “pensée indétérminée” in the Geneva School?

When I was learning about the Geneva School critics, my tutor said that Georges Poulet and other Geneva School critics wanted to remove the biographical author although he still survives as an ...
3
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1answer
215 views

What does Camus mean by “the disastrous fact that love and desire must be expressed in the same way”?

Here is a set of lines from the book A Happy Death by Albert Camus: In the past, whenever Mersault had spent any time with one woman, he made the first gestures of commitment, he was conscious of ...
6
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0answers
150 views

Book about a kid that encounters a foreign girl during holidays and invents a new language

I am searching for a book I read around 10 years ago (in French). The story was about a family going on vacation (I remember a sort of camping, near the sea). The protagonist was a young boy (8-12 ...
5
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2answers
146 views

What is “Protean Ubiquity” in Proust's “Swann's Way”?

I have started reading Proust's Swann's way. On page 66 the narrator, after providing a very vivid description of aunt Leonie's house and its atmosphere, describes her state. She has gradually left ...
6
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3answers
341 views

What is “the sin which ruined our first parents” in The Count of Monte Cristo?

The opening of Chapter 12 of The Count of Monte Cristo describes a meeting between Villefort and his father Noirtier, on which a servant apparently attempted to eavesdrop. The passage (translation ...
8
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2answers
231 views

Does the magic potion provide invincibility or only superhuman strength?

At least the early albums in the Asterix series don't directly tell if the potion gives invincibility in addition to superhuman strength and speed. My impression has been that only Obelix is immortal ...
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120 views

L'espérance in The Count of Monte Cristo [closed]

Why does Edmond name his ship L'espérance in the end? And why does he leave behind Mercédès and Albert?