Thursday, January 26, 2012

Hollande Quotes (the Wrong) Shakespeare

When a French presidential candidate reaches for the high rhetorical register, he usually goes for la langue de Racine rather than la langue de Shakespeare. But François Hollande decided to go with Shakespeare. It seems, however, that the Shakespeare he chose was not William but Nicholas, novelist and book reviewer for The Telegraph. Worse, as Sarah Crown reports,
The quote is lifted from his 1989 novel The Vision of Elena Silves, in which it's spoken by a member of a guerrilla group which operates under the motto "Marxism–Leninism will open the shining path to revolution". While Hollande is standing as the Socialist party candidate, odds are his advisers wouldn't recommend him positioning himself as far left as that.
The quote in question was: "They failed because they did not start with a dream."

Ah, well. Perhaps next time Hollande will stick to Molière: "Le chemin est long du projet à la chose" (Tartuffe). Will this be Hollande's bravitude moment? On verra. As Molière also wrote, "Contre la médisance il n'est point de rempart." (h/t KirkMc)


Massilian said...

One could start a game here, offering François Hollande alternative choices of quotes from more acceptable authors for a somehow similar inspirational meaning.

My contribution :
« Toutes vos craintes sont des craintes de mortels, mais tous vos rêves sont des rêves d’immortels. »

"Les possibilités ne sont pas données à l'avance, elles deviennent."
Edgar Morin

Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

Anonymous said...

It's funny because I too thought Shakespeare (the real one) had said something along these lines, although I did wonder whether something had been lost in translation because it didn't "sound" like a Shakespearian line/verse. But as I said it did sound like what a Shakespearian character could say, if worded differently.
Anyway, I'd rather have a politician who quotes authors (even the wrong ones) than politicians who'd fail 3rd grade social studies. :p

Mitch Guthman said...


But aren't they both equally the "real" Shakespeare? One lived in an earlier time and was more famous than the other but surely they are both Shakespeare.

So why shouldn't Hollande borrow whatever quotes that please him from whichever Shakespeare he wants?

Anonymous said...

This is all over the news here today, provoking much mirth.