Wednesday, September 5, 2007
Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme
President Sarkozy yesterday addressed a letter (long version) to the schoolteachers of France in which he expressed the hope that la culture générale could be restored to a central place in the curriculum. So presumably students will be asked to spend less time studying the semiotics of advertising and more time on classics such as Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme. This proposal is particularly à propos, since Dominique de Villepin has just recommended Molière's play as essential to an understanding of the Sarkozy "court": "This is the country of Molière," he said, "let's not be taken in as to what's really going on. Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme is a play that must be seen and re-seen." All this by way of constructive criticism, mind you: "I was in a government in which Nicolas Sarkozy was constantly saying that what was needed was more spirited debate. He was right, and I'm the one who's now playing the role of gadfly to a majority that mustn't rest on its laurels." This is all the more necessary, he said, because "there is no longer any opposition."
Bold words for a man who may soon be facing trial in a case in which the president of the Republic (a.k.a. le bourgeois gentilhomme) is among les parties civiles against l'aristocrate à particule de Villepin--an interesting conundrum for constitutional lawyers and intertextual literary theorists.