aimer pour la beauté du geste

Discussion in 'French-English Vocabulary / Vocabulaire Français-Anglais' started by joe de vivre, Jun 14, 2008.

  1. joe de vivre New Member

    Boston, MA, USA
    English - American
    This is from a song in the film "Les chanson d'amour." The actual first lines are:

    As-tu déjà aimépour la beauté du geste?

    Would love to hear thoughts on the meaning (I have an idea but am not sure), as well as how to translate into English (if this is even possible).

    Also, why do you think the word "déjà" is used in the lyric instead of "jamais", for example?
     
  2. JeanDeSponde

    JeanDeSponde Senior Member

    France, Lyon area
    France, Français
    The meaning is something along have you ever been in love just for the sake of loving, I'd say.

    As for déjà vs. jamais, both could have been used to the same result.
    *I* would have said jamais, because déjà_aimé creates a hiatus, when jamais_z_aimé is easier to say (and to hear).
     
  3. joe de vivre New Member

    Boston, MA, USA
    English - American
    Merci, Jean.

    Your translation makes sense to me. But it makes me wonder if there isn't something potentially a little desperate about a person who is in love just for the sake of loving. The original French seems to avoid this complication. I wonder if it's more like have you ever been in love just for the beauty of it? This seems to approach the poetry of the French original.

    It seems curious to me that aimer pour la beauté du geste makes no reference to a loved one. It seems to imply that there could be something about the act of loving in and of itself that causes one to be in love. But it seems impersonal and, perhaps, self-involved. Maybe that's what the second singer means a few lines later when he refers to ces passions immatures. Perhaps I should have posted more of the lyrics. Here are the first two stanzas:

    As-tu déjà aimé
    pour la beauté du geste?
    As-tu déjà croqué
    la pomme à pleine dent?
    [...]
    Full lyrics

    I guess what appeals to me about this phrase is the poetry of it. And that these two characters seem to know exactly what each other is talking about when they say aimer pour la beauté du geste.

    And what is the geste? Is it the act of making love? I wasn't sure when I first heard the lyrics if there was an implication that the beauty of the physical act could cause one to love? In which case, what about passion? Is the word beauté used instead because it is more conceptual? more high-minded?

    I see your point about déjà and jamais. I think I was making the mistake of thinking that déjà always meant already...
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 15, 2008
  4. JeanDeSponde

    JeanDeSponde Senior Member

    France, Lyon area
    France, Français
    Geste, here, is synonymous to acte = gesture, act.
    Pour la beauté du geste is a set expression, meaning on one side a mix of disinterested, gratuitious, pointless, and at the same time for no other reasons than stylistic reasons.
    Note that beauté is said of the gesture - not of love itself. Hence for the beauty of it is a tad off-target - though you're right in keeping beauty in the sentence, I think!
     
  5. joe de vivre New Member

    Boston, MA, USA
    English - American
    I hear what you are saying: that beauté is said of the gesture - not of love itself. And yet surely there must be an action that la beauté du geste refers to? And isn't that action given by aimer? I'm thinking that, in the context of these lyrics, aimer means faire l'amour à quelqu'un and not simply éprouver de l'amour pour quelqu'un. Éprouver de l'amour... ce n'est pas un geste!
     
  6. itka Senior Member

    Nice, France
    français
    I'd have thought it only was for "éprouver de l'amour". "Ce n'est pas un geste", but when you say "pour la beauté du geste" it's not mandatory to imagine something so concrete...

    Well...maybe, I'm too romantic...
     
  7. joe de vivre New Member

    Boston, MA, USA
    English - American
    itka,

    To do something pour la beauté du geste, doesn't this imply that there is a voluntary act of some kind? An act that the person has decided to perform pour la beauté du geste? For no reasons other than stylistic reasons, as Jean has noted? Doesn't it imply that the act is a choice made by the person?

    Is being in love or falling in love a choice? In my experience it's more involuntary. You meet someone, and if there is the right chemistry, you fall in love. You don't decide to fall in love with someone.

    I'm a romantic too, but is that the right interpretation here?
     
  8. JeanDeSponde

    JeanDeSponde Senior Member

    France, Lyon area
    France, Français
    Je m'aperçois que j'ai manqué à tous mes devoirs de foreros - bienvenue sur le forum, Joe de vivre:)!
    Pour la beauté du geste est synonyme de pour la beauté de la chose - dans un cas comme dans l'autre, il peut n'y avoir ni geste ni chose !
    La phrase aimer pour la beauté du geste signifie en effet choisir de tomber amoureux, non parce qu'on est réellement amoureux de quelqu'un, mais parce qu'on a envie de ressentir le sentiment amoureux.
    Je ne dit pas que c'est possible ou impossible, logique ou illogique - je dis seulement que c'est ce que signifie la phrase...
     
  9. Moon Palace

    Moon Palace Senior Member

    Lyon
    French
    I wholly agree about what has been said hereto, thus I would suggest a somewhat more literal translation: 'have you ever loved for the beauty of love itself?'
    The question being, as JDS :) righteously pointed out, to love for the sake of loving, but precisely because love is such a beautiful feeling.

    Now my personal feeling is that this kind of love cannot endure, it wears out somehow, doesn't it? (OK, this is off topic):(

    Yet, this is precisely why here you wouldn't use 'already': the use of already would tend to point to a greater likelihood of the fact than if you use 'ever'.
     
  10. joe de vivre New Member

    Boston, MA, USA
    English - American
    Jean,

    Merci pour le souhait de bienvenue. J'aime beaucoup ce forum, que je ne connais qu'à peine, parce-qu'il parait qu'on peut y discuter des nuances des langues en détail. Je trouve que les dictionnaires ne suffisent pas assez souvent.

    My thanks to all who responded. Your responses are making me reconsider my understanding of the scene from that movie...
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2008

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