My English professor has a tendency to speak French.
There’s no warning, no “Hold on to your seats, kids”, only a lull in the conversation seducing sleepy students into a stupor. Then suddenly, as if wrung out of her chair like a beaten rag, she would fling herself at the chalkboard and attack it with bloody vengeance. Until white looping lines appear in the dust, beautiful, yes, but would make as much sense as flaccid spaghetti. With a flourish, because to speak French properly you always need to instill a bit of the dramatic, she would step back and exclaim to us in that guttural sound exactly what French lay across the board. And tried and true underneath it all would be an English translation lined up as neat as an American picket fence.
It’s hard to say why, but English always made a bit more sense after that.
A quick French lesson for the literary mind:
” E n t r e s l e s g u e r r e s “
Definition: The time between the wars.
notes: It’s the Jazz Age, the Modern era, the period between the great wars. And if 1920s America is any indication of the world, it is a time of reckless abandon that becomes the hallmark of a society justifying its very own war with its very personal demons.
” M a l a d i e a d e u x “
Definition: Sickness for two.
notes: The diagnosis of two human beings who have reached the point of love meets wrong. Estranged and codependent, it is a fiercely unsettling mixture. A historical example would be Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes. A more modern example might be Taylor Swift and every one of her seasonal beaus.
” L ’ h e u r e e n t r e c h i e n e t l o u p “
Definition: The hour between dog and wolf.
notes: The twilight hour. The dangerous hour. The hour of seduction. Have at it if you will. Although I have quite a few theories of what this mean, it would be such a shame to define such a mystery.