Virtue, vertu

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Et nous aurions dû la nommer « plaisir », mot plus favorable, plus naturel et plus doux, plutôt que d’employer à son propos celui d’une « vigueur» – la vertu – comme nous l’avons fait. Montaigne, Essais, XX.

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We ought to have given virtue the more favourable, noble and natural name of pleasure not (as we have done) a name derived from vis (vigour). Montaigne, Essays, XX.

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Today I came across the etymology of words “virtue”, “vertu” when reading Montaigne’s Essays and it was a nice surprise. I have never realised their roots. Well, dictionaries tell that they come from Latin virtus, which means “power”, “manliness”. It is also said that virtus comes from Latin vir ( “man”). In Sanscrit it’s वीर (vīrá), in Old Prussian wijrs. In still existing languages Latvian and Samogitian it’s vīrs and Lithuanian vyras (y is pronouced like long i). The word vir itself comes from Proto-Indo-European *wiHrós which is derived from the verb *weyh₁– ( “to hunt”) (cf. Sanskrit वेति (véti), Lithuanian výti etc.), which would render the reconstruction as *wih₁rós, with *h₁ at the place of otherwise unreconstructable laryngeal *H, and the original meaning of “hunter”.

La Fontaine – peintre des animaux

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Introduction
Jean de La Fontaine vivait au XVIIe siècle. Il essayait de montrer la société de son époque telle quelle était. Ce fabuliste est une personnalité très intéréssante, donc, d’abord, on va parcourir très rapidement sa biographie (qui est inséparable des fables). Ensuite, on va dévélopper l’idée du monde des fables: le monde animalier et le monde humain (en quoi ils diffèrent et se ressemblent). Après suivent les analyses des fables qui reflètent très précisément le sujet analysé et qui évoquent des descriptions qui procurent l’idée des animaux qui représentent l’homme. En évoquant l’importance du rythme et de la rime on va présenter des fragments de la fable “Le Cerf se voyant dans l’eau”. Comme la longueur des descriptions varie, on a choisi deux fables “Le Cochet, le Chat et le Souriceau” et “Le Rat de la ville et le Rat des champs” pour préciser cette différence. Dans la première fable des descriptions sont plus longues que dans la deuxième. Cela dépend de vouloir-dire de l’auteur, sur quoi il s’appuie, et de ce qu’il veut souligner. Le dernier aspect examiné, c’est la Cour du roi au XVIIe siècle et la façon d’imiter et d’utiliser les personnages animaliers. Le roi de la Cour est le Lion qui se présente dans les fables dès le premier livre jusqu’au dernier. En parcourant les fables on remarque le progrès de ce personnage. Au début il est simplement le roi des fôrets et vers la fin il ressemble plus au monarque réel du royaume. Afin de comparer les deux personnalités du Lion on va analyser trois fables. Les deux premières, “Le Lion et le Moucheron” et “Le Lion est devenu vieux”, démontrent la force et l’échec absolu de l’animal alors que la fable “La Cour du Lion” est tout-à-fait différente. On y trouve le Lion-Prince. Continue reading La Fontaine – peintre des animaux

Rabelais – turning water into wine or power of imagination

 

 

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In the 5th book of “Gargantua and Pantagruel” the travelers arrive to the temple of the Oracle Bacbuc and in Chapter XLIII they discover the divine fountain. They are offered to drink some water from it and are asked what kind of taste do they feel. In the beginning the answer is simple: water. However, the Oracle accuses them of the lack of the imagination and self-knowledge. They are asked to drink one more time and imagine the taste of wine. The miracle occurs: every of the characters feel the taste of his favorite wine. So water changes into wine thanks to the power of imagination. Actually water stays water but there is a change in the heads of travelers. Continue reading Rabelais – turning water into wine or power of imagination