By Antoine de Rivarol
« Sûre, sociale, raisonnable, ce n’est plus los angeles langue française, c’est los angeles langue humaine. »
« Je me demande ce que dirait Rivarol s’il apprenait que c’est l’Afrique, qui n’avait à ses yeux aucune life propre, qui pourrait bien sauver le français. Et qu’un natif de Saint-Domingue, ce terrifiant camp de travail où l’on a parqué durant plus de trois cents ans des thousands d’Africains, siège aujourd’hui sous los angeles Coupole, au fauteuil de Montesquieu, le même qui a écrit dans De l’esprit des lois un commentaire d’une ironie mordante sur “l’esclavage des Nègres”. J’ai l’impression que Rivarol accorderait sa faveur à cette nouvelle state of affairs : tout bien pensé, il ne fut rien d’autre qu’un amoureux fou de los angeles langue française, et ceux qui aiment ont toujours raison. »
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Extra resources for De l'universalité de la langue française
I was just the way I am,” she says afterward (GCH 199). By “moving,” against all odds, “into expression,” as Julie puts it in “Little Expressionless Animals” (GCH 42), the actress makes a commitment to a kind of existential authenticity and refuses, in Cavell’s phrase, to regard herself “as unknowable” (Claim 464). If Wallace’s understanding of language as a “function of relationships between persons” (CW 44) owes a lot to Wittgenstein, his sense of the nature of those relationships draws on an another early twentieth-century figure, the Russian Formalist Mikhail Bakhtin.
Girl with Curious Hair can been seen both as an exemplary product of what Mark McGurl has dubbed “the program era”—Wallace wrote the stories while enrolled in the University of Arizona’s MFA program—and as an interrogation of that era’s modes and mores. In other words, as much as any literary critic, Wallace took his subject to 24 KASIA BODDY be “the increasingly intimate relation between literary production and the practices of higher education” (McGurl ix). He was an avid reader of fiction by his MFA contemporaries, of the literary theory that then flourished in the academic side of the English Department, and of works of literary criticism that sought to ascertain the state, actual and potential, of the American novel.
On one level, this sentence reads like a parody of monosyllabic minimalism; on another, however, it expresses one of Wallace’s most enduring and deeply felt preoccupations. Here the issue of solipsism is resolved when, in the final paragraph, Mitch turns to look not at the pastoral scene but at Mayflower herself, “and there is something in me that can not close up, in that looking. Mayfly has a body. And she is my morning. Say her name” (GCH 230). As Adam Mars-Jones notes, “minimalism in literature always seems to play hide and seek with sentimentality” (15); but that didn’t seem to bother Wallace.