Il prit pour élever sa plainte le ton aigre d’un vieux vidame qui se fait pincer

Llyana

Member
English, UK
'Il prit pour élever sa plainte le ton aigre d’un vieux vidame qui se fait pincer l’arrière-train dans une vespasienne et qui par extraordinaire n’approuve point cette politesse et ne mange pas de ce pain-là'

Sorry this is quite a long phrase - it is an extract from R. Queneau's Exercises de Style that i would like to translate and i can't get my head round it at all. It doesn't seem to make any sense to me!

Thank-you so much in advance if you can help me at all.
Llyana.
 
  • Llyana

    Member
    English, UK
    He raised his complaint to the sour tone of an old vidame who caught hold of his behind in a urinal, and who, extraordinarily, didn't approve of this politeness and didn't profit from a sticky situation.

    As you can see, I haven't really got to grips with most of it, main problems though:
    'Il prit pour élever...'
    And 'se fait pincer' - I'm not sure who is doing what to who here - the subject or the vidame.
    Context of 'politesse' - could it also mean impropriety?

    None of it sounds quite right as it is now.

    Thanks for responding,
    Llyana.
     

    Broff

    Senior Member
    French
    Il prit pour élever sa plainte le ton aigre d’un vieux vidame qui se fait pincer

    He raised his complaint in the tone high dudgion of a dowager too tightly corsetted. :D
     

    Llyana

    Member
    English, UK
    Ooh thank-you it's all starting to make a bit more sense to me now. Queneau's works are pretty hard-going...

    Could anyone help me on the politesse bit please?
    Thank-you!
    Llyana.
     

    Llyana

    Member
    English, UK
    No; French to English. I normally find this kind of thing fairly easy but i'm really struggling with this one!
     

    yannalan

    Senior Member
    france, french, breton
    A "vidame" in french is a kind of a noble man, governing a territory for a bishop.
    "politesse" is about pinching hisd buttocks. In a "vespasienne", public urinal in Paris streets, many homosexuals were trying to find a boy-friend. Imagine this old gentelemn being pinched his buttocks by one of them.
    He does not approve because he is not homosexual ("il ne mange pas de ce pain là)
     

    Spoing

    New Member
    UK English
    Don't forget BARBARA WRIGHT's masterful translation of Exercises de Style.

    She translates this sentence as:
    "In order to give utterance to his lament he adopted the acid tones of a venerable vidame who gets his hindquarters pinched in a public privy and who, strangely enough, does not at all approve of this compliment and is not at all that way inclined."
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top