42

Circumnavigation was nothing new. Speedy circumnavigation was new, but not unheard of, and Around the World wasn't positing anything outlandish or even vaguely sci-fi. It's a story celebrating what the British Empire had already accomplished, not postulating what might be possible in the future. Verne himself claims to have been inspired by an early 1860s ...


38

Yes: it corresponds to the date of Hugo's conception. This is part of a pattern of similarities between the character of Jean Valjean and the author himself: both are of similar age, have similar habits and similarly austere lifestyles, and even share the same dreams. This is according to David Bellos's The Novel of the Century: The Extraordinary Adventure ...


32

It was possible, but not easy. The difficulty of the task accounts for the substantial amount of the bet: £20,000 in 1873 is worth about £2,000,000 or more than US $2.5 million today. William Butcher's 1995 translation of Verne's book includes an appendix that provides details of contemporary sources that had information regarding quick circumnavigations, ...


32

In the original story L'histoire de Babar: le petit éléphant (translated and published as The Story of Babar), his companion's absence is communicated by a 'vieux marabout' (an old marabous [bird]). In a subsequent book, Babar and his Children, his son is saved from a grisly fall by a giraffe. As both marabous and giraffes are, as we all know, only found ...


31

It's a mistranslation. I checked the original French text (emphasis mine): —Eh bien, reprit Monte-Cristo, supposez que ce poison soit de la brucine, par exemple, et que vous en preniez un milligramme le premier jour, deux milligrammes le second, eh bien, au bout de dix jours vous aurez un centigramme; au bout de vingt jours, en augmentant d'un autre ...


30

Inasmuch as Babar is from a specific continent, he's either from Europe or from Africa-as-perceived-by-Europeans-in-the-1920s. Which is not exactly Africa, but definitely not Asia. Babar's adventures spanned many books and had multiple authors and illustrators over decades, starting with Cécile and Jean de Brunhoff and continuing with their son Laurent. They ...


20

This is a translation error! The original French is as follows: — Oh! monsieur, dit-elle, pourquoi donc êtes vous venu si tard aujourd’hui? Savez-vous que l’on va dîner bientôt, et qu’il m’a fallu bien de la diplomatie et bien de la promptitude pour me débarrasser de ma belle-mère qui m’épie, de ma femme de chambre qui m’espionne, et de mon frère qui me ...


17

One Year. Near the end, the Little Prince journeys to the wall and has an encounter with a snake - the same snake, I believe, that he met when he first arrived on Earth. He wants to meet death by its venom. The narrator saves him, and after some brief discussion, the prince looks up at "his star": But he said to me: "Tonight, it will be a year . . . ...


16

That wouldn't follow the rhyme scheme of the other verses, which follow the scheme ABCC. The next verse is: There is a lady all in white, Holds me and sings a lullaby, She's nice to see and she's soft to touch, She says "Cosette, I love you very much." The extra rhyme is unnecessary. Further, "toys" and "boys" are a very simple, sing-songy rhyme, ...


15

Norman Denny has this to say in the introduction to his translation of Les Misérables: Hugo [...] had little or no regard for the discipline of novel-writing. He was wholly unrestrained and unsparing of his reader. He had to say everything and more than everything; he was incapable of leaving anything out. [...] One reason for [so many ...


15

There are two parts to this question: why does English use iambic meter while French doesn't, and why does English have 10 syllables in each line of iambic pentameter, while French has 12 syllables per line in an alexandrine. To answer the second question first, it may be pure chance that French settled on 12 syllables per line, while English settled on 10. ...


15

I submit that Babar is an Asian elephant on the basis of the artwork. Asian elephants differ from African elephants in a few ways, most prominently in the sizes of their ears: Asian elephants have smaller, rounder ears, whereas African elephants have larger, fan-shaped ears. Asian elephant on the left; African elephant on the right: © SunnyS/Fotolia; © ...


14

By “the red ant heaps of Toulon”, Hugo means the Bagne de Toulon, a notorious prison where the convicts wore red jackets and red caps. This is the prison where Jean Valjean serves nineteen years for stealing a loaf of bread, in Hugo’s Les Misérables. L’habillement du forçat qui est différent pour chaque bagne, se compose à Toulon, dit l’auteur, d’une ...


13

This would seem to fit the bill: A Corner of the Veil by Laurence Cossé Paris. May 24 1999, 8.32pm: Father Bertrand Beaulieu of the venerable Society of Casuists, holds in his trembling hands six handwritten pages that prove the existence of God. Instantly, the secular and spiritual powers move to suppress the news, certain that it signifies their own ...


12

I'm not sure if whole books have been written on the topic, but at least whole book chapters have been. I haven't read this book, but I'll share my first impression. One thing to note is that the English translation you quote is reasonably faithful. It slightly misses the effect of the original, however, in that it doesn't use a future tense. A more ...


11

Initially, there isn't much. The final words of Part I read this: I wanted to hear the murmur of its water again, to escape from the sum and the effort and the women's tears, and to relax in the shade again. But when I got nearer, I saw that Raymond's Arab had come back. He was alone. He was lying on his back, with his hands behind his head ... As far as ...


10

The interaction between Fogg and Passepartout is based on their contrasting personalities: one is rigid, the other carefree and careless. This contrasts exists regardless of any national stereotype. Fogg's personality has some positive aspects. He's the hero, Passepartout is (in modern terms) the sidekick, the foil. Fogg's accomplishment is the point of the ...


10

The version you found on the internet was translated from English back to French. The real quote, which is due either to La Rochefoucault or to the Abbé de Saint-Réal, is: Nous nous tourmentons moins pour devenir heureux que pour faire croire que nous le sommes. My translation (as literal as I could grammatically make it): We torment ourselves less to ...


9

I'm adding my own answer to complement Peter Shor's. In an interview, the Shakespeare scholar Kenneth Muir talks, among other things, about his translations of Racine and Corneille. When asked how he translated the alexandrines, Muir responds that he translated them into pentamers: I decided that alexandrines would not be taken by an English audience, ...


9

TL;DR: The discrepancies can be reconciled if we allow the painter to flatter Mercédès, and Monte Cristo to lie about his age. Chronology 24 February 1815 — Edmond arrives at Marseilles: On the 24th of February, 1815, the look-out at Notre-Dame de la Garde signalled the three-master, the Pharaon from Smyrna, Trieste, and Naples. [Chapter 1] 28 February ...


9

No. Asterix is very far from any drug culture, and from methamphetamine usage during war. Magic potions are older than print. They appear in Greek mythology, for example (Jason puts the dragon to sleep with a potion, Circe turns men into swine with a potion, not to mention love potions). I can't name a potion that grants strength or invincibility, but I put ...


9

The versions of the story of Tristan and Isolde that we know today date from the Middle Ages, a period in history when copyright did not yet exist, when originality was not the highest goal in literature, and when imitation and emulation was a perfectly respectable approach to creating new works of literature. This means that medieval literature was based on ...


8

The line is a bit of a pun. A "masque" is a masked ball, and in this case refers to the kind of music played at masques. The name actually has a somewhat convoluted history, originally referring to a masked drama in France, then to a stylized dance in Elizabethan England, and that use re-exported back to France. Despite the name a "bergamasque" is not a ...


8

In Recomposing the Past: Representations of Early Music on Stage and Screen, it's claimed that: The original title of Hugo's work was Notre Dame de Paris, making no mention of the disfigurement of Quasimodo, highlighting that the cathedral itself, rather than Quasimodo, was to be the central character. […] The shift in emphasis towards Quasimodo as a main ...


8

The sin of Adam and Eve could be stated as a desire for knowledge that did not belong to them - the tree that they ate from was the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and the snake tempted Eve into eating the fruit by telling her that this knowledge would give her power akin to God's. So if this is indeed intended to be a specific reference, it is ...


8

The charcoal connection is found with the ‘Bougnats of Paris’. From France écotours: in the 18th century, the agricultural crisis forced thousands of French countrymen to leave their homes in search of work. The Auvergne people left the volcanic soil of their homeland for the capital. There, the new Parisians built a community where they became known as “...


8

The ‘which’ and ‘where’ parts of the question were answered by Maupassant’s biographer Francis Steegmuller: A smart American publisher and bookseller named M. Walter Dunne, whose specialty was large and showily produced “sets,” felt that the time had come to confront the American public with all of Maupassant; and he issued [starting in 1903], in seventeen ...


8

According to the French philosopher and historian Étienne Gilson, the explanation that the birds use the air's humidity as a source of water is implausible because in that case, they wouldn't take flight in the first place. Gilson points out that according to Aristotelean cosmology and medieval scholasticism, birds fly in a zone situated between Earth and ...


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