For newcomers

At the bottom of each post there is the word "comments". If you click on it you will see comments made by followers, and if you follow the instructions you may also comment and I always welcome that. I have found many people overlook this part of the blog which is often more interesting than the original post!

My blog nick-name is SIR HUGH. I'm not from the aristocracy - my middle name is Hugh which relates to the list of 282 hills in Scotland compiled by Sir Hugh Munro in 1891. I climbed my last one (Sgurr Mor) on 28th June 2009


Thursday, 2 April 2020

LA Peste - Camus - review

Thursday 2nd. April 2020

For anybody interested and able to read some French here is a scan of a review I wrote of La Peste as an exercise for my French Lesson years ago. That was before I re-read the book in French.

I could have laboriously re-typed this making the corrections applied by my French teacher and omitting my notes but that would have been too onerous, and as it stands the meaning is clear enough. I am a bit ashamed of some of the basic mistakes I made but that is how we learn. The errors are compunded by my abysmal ability for proof reading - a fact many readers here will be aware of.

If you click on the first scan you should get an enlargement big enough to read on most computer screens and/or there are other ways of enlarging if you are sufficiently interested.


  1. It's taking me some time to work through your script, my French is a little rusty.

  2. It sounds as though you can at least read it which was a worry for me. If you want any help let me know. I may do a translation myself tomorrow, providing, as you said elsewhere, no more weeds have grown up since yesterday. At least this is something to occupy you for a while.

  3. The sadist french/german chain-smoking teacher we both suffered under at various times would have had a field day with that, I'm quite sure: but as he forced me to try french cheese in class he is forgiven much.
    It is hard to express emotion and feeling fluently and with depth in another tongue and idiom, but, as that teacher would never have said - 'brave attempt'

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  5. I'm afraid at only 53 my french skills have diminished far faster than yours Conrad! My father (a French and Spanish teacher) and mother (French and German teacher) would be shocked at how far I've fallen - it's clearly not a genetic trait.
    My Spanish (which he taught me in school, urghhh can you imagine that!) is even worse. In my twenties I started learning Russian, but have pretty much forgotten all that too - way too hard! Luckily my son hasn't inherited my difficulties, and taught himself Japanese, eventually getting a GCSE grade A - wow!
    Cheers matey👍

  6. gimmer - I built up a hate and anger against that guy to a degree rare for me, but like a huge dam with a fragile wall sbout to burst. I remember standing alongside him at his desk as he sarcastically decimated my work and I came very very close to punching him in the face as hard as I could. But having said that he did have the ability to get the rudiments of French grammar into most of the class, something for which I was grateful for in later years, although from my example here you may not think he had succeeded that much.

  7. Paul - Glad to hear from you. When your affliction reports ceased I became concerned and was about to email you when my friend Bowland Climber told me he had seen you commenting elsewhere very recently.

    I am probably going to do a translation.

  8. if using the word/phrase 'decimate' strictly, he would have given you 9/10 - well done !
    a very pedantic friend says that he considered decimation as a relatively mild form of punishment (depending on how it is administered - in the legions, beating to death - no longer as such, maybe)

  9. gimmer - I was much aware of the strict definition but having checked it not so long ago I knew thst its main definition (by usage) has become more general. See below the primary definition from my on-line dictionary which quotes your strict defintion only as the third possibility.

    1. kill, destroy, or remove a large percentage or part of: the project would decimate the fragile wetland wilderness | the American chestnut, a species decimated by blight.

  10. . . . this is becoming a semantic discourse (of course) - which has had me wondering why one accepts automatically some shifts in meaning and stoutly resists and refuses to accept others, for reasons other than mere pedantry.
    I was musing on this over my tea this morning - of the drift of meaning over the years (or centuries) and why with some, of which decimate is a particular and specific example, one refuses to accept the 'modern' usage, wheres others drift with little protest, creeping silently in everyday speech and general acceptance to quite different meanings and implications.
    Ultimately, i think the reason is quite simple: with abstract words or phrases, with a general not specific meaning, often involving emotion, usage and meaning move in tandem - awful is an example - rarely used in the sense of filling one with awe, or even mighty dread, but as a casual throwaway to describe and almost dismiss something often trivial and merely transiently distasteful - so it is easy to see its drift and casual acceptance.
    But words like, once again, decimate, which have no emotional context but are purely descriptive, and, importantly, have a strict internal meaning, are the words which are actually more useful in the original than in their decadent usage and thus justify the refusal to accept the corrupt usage.
    On which I take my stand.

  11. gimmer - I was in two minds about using that word and in general I agree with your thoughts, but as L'Académie have found stopping the progress of the development of language is a losing battle.

    One of my biggest niggles is different "to" instead of "from." I hsve observed this over a long period in written and spoken language across the widest range of individuals and I reckon that "to" is now used without exagerration 95% of the time.

  12. Yes - I too am appalled at how the BBC allows 'to' on their website and from the mouths of reporters - I cannot comment on whether the news broadcasts are also culprits as i have given them up - not just for lent but 'ever'.
    There is so much poor grmaamer about, which I blame on Shirley whatshername and that Crosland fellow, who was so superciliously dismissive of anyone who disagreed with him, but in such a charming manner that people who didn't know him used to say 'what a nice chap, hard to believe he's a socialist' - those who did knew better - a bit like Bevin's response to someone who said that Bevan was his own worst enemy !

  13. apologies - Morrison, not Bevan , but could easily have been