I haven't been working on Lo Gascon lèu e plan lately but I will take it up again at some point. I listen regularly to Gasocn podcasts and my understanding has improved.
I've read three more books:
- Joan Ganhaire's Lo Libre dau reirlutz (1979, 80 p., Limousin dialect), a collection of nine short fantastic(?) stories. Except the last one, I enjoyed them and it was nice to read something in Limousin
- Joan Vezole's Contes pas tròp messorguiers (1996, 250 p., Languedocian dialect). It's a collection of very short anecdotes and facetious stories related to 20th c. village life. Usually I like this kind of material, but this time I struggled to find them enjoyable and it took me forever to finish the book. The good thing is that there is an audiobook version read by the author himself, so I'll probably use that in the future to improve my listening skills in northern Languedocian
- Joan Bodon's La Grava sul camin (1956, 160 p. Languedocian dialect), a semi-autobiographical novel in which Bodon narrates the last months he spent as a STO worker in Germany during WW2 and his coming back to France, his growing-up in a small village in Aveyron and his failure at living a normal life there after coming back from Germany. Definitely not a book to read if you want to be uplifted, but I found it really well done.
One sentence puzzled me though. Just after being back in France (not yet in his village), the main character wants to buy a glass of wine in a café and is told it would cost 50 francs. His reaction:
So, because he finds the wine too expensive, the main character refers to the inn keeper as too greedy and does this by using the age-old trope of the money-loving Jew. I struggle a bit to understand what would push Bodon to include such a sentence.Cinquanta francs, un veirat de vin ! Sens escotar mai sortissèm. Ne trobarem ben de vin endacòm e melhor compte encara. Quin josieu, aquel òme !
Fifty francs for a glass of wine! We go out without listening to more. Surely, we'll find wine somewhere else, and not as expensive, to boot. What a Jew, this guy!
Bodon himself, as far as I know, was no antisemite. There's also nothing in the book that would make such an addition necessary from the point of view of establishing the main character as being an antisemite since nowhere else in the book do Jews play any kind of role or are even mentioned.
That this racial stereotype was (and sadly still is) alive could explain Bodon's using it. If it it was in common use among the kind of people he is describing in the book, then it can be justified to have his characters speak 'normally', without removing the less savory aspects of it (cue Mark Twain). But I still find it insensitive and somewhat tone-deaf to casually use such a phrase in a book where, again, it seems to contribute nothing to the hero's characterisation or to the message.
I'm reading through Felix's Life of Guthlac, an Anglo-Saxon saint who lived from 674 to 715. I chose it mainly because there's an Old English translation of it and I thought it would be nice to try my hand at it after having read the Latin version.
Felix's Latin style is ok but not very enjoyable so far. He seems found of using slightly fancy phrases instead of expressing himself more plainly. Things like Evolutis aliquorum temporum curriculis, quibus se coniugalis iuris conditionibus indidissent or peractis mensium epidendarum cursibus or transcensis infantiae suae temporibus, (...) coaetanis parvulorum coetibus. Still, there is plenty to enjoy, as in the following passage where Felix describe how Guthlac spent his youth as a warrior/pillager, but one who would at some point decide to leave his victims a third of what they owned. How nice of him!
Despite its Latin clothing and Christian overall context, this passage strikes me as also very "Germanic" in tone: the young Guthlac takes up a carrier in pillaging, which I find reminiscent of how to 'go on a viking' (=piracy expedition, fara í víking) is a routine thing in Icelandic sagas. I suspect too that the heroes of old who moved young Guthlac to such deeds were not Biblical or Classical figures but rather Germanic ones, whose deeds were still discussed and celebrated long after Christianisation took place (cf. Alcuin's 'Quid enim Hinieldus cum Christo?').Igitur cum adolescentiae vires increvissent, et iuvenili in pectore egregius dominandi amor fervesceret, tunc valida pristinorum heroum facta reminiscens, veluti ex sopore evigilatus, mutata mente, adgregatis satellitum turmis, sese in arma convertit.
Et cum adversantium sibi urbes et villas, vicos et castella igne ferroque vastaret, conrasis undique diversarum gentium sociis, inmensas praedas gregasset, tunc velut ex divino consilio edoctus tertiam partem adgregatae gazae possidentibus remittebat.
Now when his youthful strength had increased, and a noble desire for command burned in his young breast, he remembered the valiant dees of heroes of old, and as though awaking from sleep, he changed his disposition and gathering bands of followers took up to arms;
but when he had devastated the towns and residences of his foes, their villages and fortresses with fire and sword, and, gathering together companions from various races and from all directions, had amassed immense booty, then as if instructed divine counsel, he would return to the owners a third part of the treasure collected.
(Translation: B. Colgrave)