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Apres moi, le deluge September 8, 2010

Posted by therealtinlizzy in Uncategorized.

What would we do without French? I tried my hand (and brain and mouth) at it once for a few months. I failed at it fairly predictably. Granted I didn’t try all that hard – I gave it a go through a Mpls Community Education class.  If I’d really gone all terribly serious on French, well – obviously other routes would’ve been taken. But as it was I was merely interested in learning to cobble together enough French to be not completely useless while visiting a French-speaking area of Cameroon, although I didn’t really succeeded in that either.

But this isn’t about that. Nor is it about grand and enduring quotes brought to us by the French in general, nor Louis XV in particular, nor the fact that original utterances in French just don’t have the same punch or panache when translated, even when the meaning isn’t completely lost in translation.

It’s about the thing itself: Apres moi, le deluge. After me, the flood.

I like the consideration of “Apres moi, le deluge” (whether attributed to Louis XV or Madame de Pompadour) given by Tradición Clásica:

a) On the one hand, if we understand After me the deluge will come, the saying seems to imply, as an assertive affirmation: “After my reign, the nation will be plunged into chaos and destruction.”

b) The verb could also be understood as a subjunctive concession: After me, let the deluge come (it can come, but it makes no difference to me). In this second case, the speaker asserts that nothing that happens after his disappearance matters to him.

And that’s what this is about. It’s about my perception of having held back a flood, that the flood (nor what I held it back from) no longer matters to me, and the me that now comes after. And by this point – really it’s only about the very latter.


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