Monday, January 18, 2010

De Gaulle Replaces Pascal

It seems that the third volume of De Gaulle's memoirs will replace Pascal's Pensées on next year's Bac L under the rubric "Literature and Debates of Ideas." And Pascal Quignard will replace Choderlos de Laclos. As much as I admire the chosen works of le grand Charles et le petit Pascal, I can't help feeling something has been lost in the exchange, but perhaps that's just my cultural conservatism speaking.

Oddly enough, I just saw for the second time "Ma nuit chez Maud," the late Eric Rohmer's 1969 film, set in De Gaulle's final year in office and featuring a debate about Pascal between un coco et un tala* who are rivals in two liaisons dangereuses. It's an engaging little film, whose social and political overtones (a Catholic engineer employed by Michelin vies with a Communist philosophy professor for the favor of a bourgeoise suspended between the fixed comforts of yesteryear and the morally ambiguous promise of tomorrow) I of course completely missed when I saw it circa 1970.

* coco = Communist; tala = Catholic (from va-t-à-la-messe).

2 comments:

MYOS said...

I do feel something has been lost in the exchange, especially since Quignard is not on par with Choderlos de Laclos!
What are the other books?
Do they have any foreign literature? Any women authors, representatives from France's cultures, be they Breton or Martiniquais or North African?

hugues vessemont said...

je suis consterné par autant de médiocrité, de flagornerie et de courtisanerie.
l'esprit critique est désormais tricard de bac...

André Ribeau , revient parmi nous

PS : les talas sont ceux qui vont à la messe... les cocos sont des patalas