Wednesday, August 27, 2014

La Canne de Jonc - Alfred de Vigny

I finally managed to finish the second book I was working on for the Language Freak Summer Challenge! I found this book on the Library Sale shelves, and as I love vintage books and can always use books in foreign languages for practicing, I eagerly brought it home... where it sat on my shelf unread for several years :-/ Thanks to this great challenge, I have finally managed to read it, and this was a great way to get in some French practice this summer.

My little book was originally published in 1898, but this military story, some of which is apparently loosely autobiographical, was originally published in the early 1800s. My edition was edited by Victor J.T. Spiers, a professor of French at Oxford, and about half of the book is actually notes on the text with helpful translations and grammatical explanations. This book was obviously meant for students of French, and that was equally obviously very helpful for me, as a reader. I think I'm at an intermediate level of French; I can read it reasonably well but I won't lie and say I perfectly understood every word I read. I did, however, always get the main idea, and the notes helped with unfamiliar vocabulary. 

The full title of this book is "La Canne de Jonc, ou La Vie et La Mort du Capitaine Renaud" ("The Malacca Cane [or the walking-stick], or The Life and Death of Captain Renaud"). The titular Captain's life as a military man is fascinating and includes encounters with Napoleon and some interesting philosophy concerning war. I cannot say it was a book I would have eagerly picked up if it had been in English, but from the perspective of someone who is reading a book about the Napoleonic wars after two world wars (and countless other wars, many still raging) I found it to be much food for thought. 

Et maintenant, mon review en français ! 

J'ai lu le deuxième livre pour le défi pour les fanatiques de langues étrangères ! J'ai trouvé ce livre dans la bibliothèque et j'adore les livres antiquaires, et j'ai toujours besoin de livres en des autre langues pour les pratiquer. Mais le livre était sur l'étagère, attendant.... :-/ Mais grâce à ce défi, maintenant, c'est fini, et c'était bon pour pratiquer un peu de français pendant l'été. 

Mon petit livre est de 1898, et c'est une édition destinée aux étudiants de la langue française. La moitié du livre contient les choses utiles (notes de vocabulaire et de grammaire). Je lis français à un niveau intermédiaire; je ne suis pas une menteuse, et donc je ne vous dis pas que j'ai compris chaque mot. Cependant, j'ai toujours compris l'idée essentiel.

Cette histoire militaire, une biographie du Capitaine Renaud (l'homme qui porte la canne de jonc), était fascinant. Il comprenait Napoléon, un Pape, et quelques hommes célèbres militaires anglais, et apparemment, il est semi-autobiographique. de Vigny a inclus aussi de philosophie conçernant la nature de la guerre. Moi, je suis un produit de la 20ème siècle, après deux guerres mondiales et divers autres guerres, et donc j'ai trouvé cette philosophie comme matière à réflexion. 

S'il vous plaît, corregez les erreurs/fautes ici ! :-) 

1 comment:

  1. Good work! I love vintage books for language learners - it's so interesting to see the way the text is annotated there, because it's sometimes really different from what they'd do today :) A book about war and philosophy and war philosophy doesn't look like an easy read, so congrats on finishing it! :)