the American fair… nursing the Fair American

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rose.touvel

New Member
French
Bonjour,
Je ne parviens pas à saisir la phrase en gras dans le texte ci-dessous :

"The Looking Glass is pure American merchandize, and I hold it more sacred because it was made (I am sure) where tea was abhorred in goodly Time – the picture or Frontispiece exemplifies the Bountifullness of God on Our gifted Land, as it shews the power of man – […] The picture on the Boston made Looking Glass exibits… the American fair,… nursing the Fair American. Here I had a wish to Immortilise my beloved Country (was it not already so) with powerful reasonings, but I stopped to mend my pen again."

Le narrateur semble parler d'un "Miroir de Claude" (Claude glass) pour ce qu'il appelle le Looking Glass.
À quoi se réfère "American Fair" ? Une foire ?
Tout éclairage sera le bienvenu et je vous en remercie d'avance!
 
  • Garoubet

    Senior Member
    French - France, Quebec
    Je présume que the Fair American fait référence au bateau: USS Fair American (1812) - Wikipedia.
    Il pourrait y avoir un jeu de mot avec American fair, sans majuscule pour fair. Il faudrait plus de contexte. De quand date le texte, et qu'y a-t-il entre American fair et Fair American.
     
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    Perco

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Je crois que 'the American Fair' est bel et bien une foire/fête foraine (voir American Fair, author Pamela Littky)

    mais c'est 'nursing' que je ne comprends pas...

    D'ailleurs puisque je viens de trouver le texte - John James Audubon's Journal Of 1826 - p 36; que la liste des illustrations comprend une 'Manuscript page of Audubon's inebriated writing'; et que je vois que l'extrait commence "We had just emptied a bottle of American porter", je me dis qu'il est fort possible que le déchiffrage laisse à désirer ...
     
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    lentulax

    Senior Member
    UK English
    je présume que the Fair American fait référence au bateau: USS Fair American (1812) - Wikipedia.
    I assumed that the 'American fair' referred to the 'fair sex', i.e. American women ; if the 'Fair American' is indeed the boat you refer to, then presumably the Boston-made looking glass, commemorating some notable event in Boston's history, shows a picture of American women tending to the wounded after the Fair American had been engaged in action during the 1812 war (in which Boston was certainly involved). This might well have excited Audubon's undoubted patriotism, as suggested in the final sentence. The expression is certainly odd, but quibbles have (allegedly) misled better writers than Audubon.

    Le narrateur semble parler d'un "Miroir de Claude" (Claude glass) pour ce qu'il appelle le Looking Glass
    A looking-glass is simply a mirror - there's no reason (unless it's in the missing context) to suppose that it's a Claude glass.
     

    rose.touvel

    New Member
    French
    Bonjour merci pour vos propositions, j'y réponds bien tard mais la question est toujours d'actualité pour moi.

    L'idée d'une représentation de femmes américaines soignant les blessés du Fair American est intéressante et permet au moins de tirer un sens à la citation. Je redonne le passage entier, qui effectivement porte sur des armes de guerre et permet éventuellement de faire le lien, si lien il y a :

    At sea, July [17th] 1826 : Mr Swift had just left me – We had just emptied a bottle of American Porter (which, by the bye, is equal to any in the Known World) and gone to the deck to try to see the land of his forefathers and father too – and where I can swear not a Potatoe will be raised this season should this cold weather continue – when firm as a Florida Live oak, I dipped my pen in the inkhorn and swore I would describe this cabin of the Delos – The Looking Glass is pure American merchandize, and I hold it more sacred because it was made (I am sure) where tea was abhorred in goodly Time – the picture or Frontispiece exemplifies the Bountifullness of God on Our gifted Land, as it shews the power of man –
    "Now, my Dear Husband, what are you going to say" ?
    To say that the picture on the Boston made Looking Glass exibits… the American fair,… nursing the Fair American. Here I had a wish to Immortilise my beloved Country (was it not already so) with powerful reasonings, but I stopped to mend my pen again –
    Like an able painter I have begun by the upper and Distant part of my picture, as Claude Lorrain would have lightly (and more inimitably I am sure) thrown a sky of azure over his better prepared canvass == I might have brought object after objects, school boy like to my very book (the nearest object to me) when following my habits I flew at once to those behind me ==
    "And what were they ?" ==
    6 splendid muskets, American born, are from Harper's ferry, all as bright as the sun that sets this night over Louisianna, all in a row, and ready to defend the fair flag that now –
    I was going to enter into a strain of politics that probably might have strained all my nerves to no purpose when I recollected the promise mutually made between us never to open our lips (or write) either on religion or the above. There the muskets are behind me ==

    John James Audubon, Journal of 1826, University of Nebraska Press, 2012.

    NB : Audubon est à ce moment en mer sur le Délos, en direction de l'Angleterre où il compte faire publier son œuvre monumentale The Birds of America.


    A looking-glass is simply a mirror - there's no reason (unless it's in the missing context) to suppose that it's a Claude glass.
    Je pense qu'il s'agit d'un miroir de Claude car, comme mentionné dans la suite du passage, Audubon s'inspire justement du peintre (et potentiellement de la perspective reflétée par le miroir) pour croquer le paysage. En outre, de nombreux passages ultérieurs soulignent l'adhésion d'Audubon à l'esthétique du pittoresque (picturesque) dont le Claude glass est un outil caractéristique. Bien sûr cela reste une hypothèse, n'hésitez pas à me donner votre avis (et dans le cas contraire : à quoi lui sert le miroir ici ?).
     
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    lentulax

    Senior Member
    UK English
    Thanks for the extended context - I haven't got a copy of the text.

    1) American Fair - the (imagined) interruption of his wife makes clear that the meaning is indeed 'American women' : he is saying that the picture shows the power of 'man', until the cautionary interruption lead him to quickly rephrase what he was saying.

    2)
    à quoi lui sert le miroir ici
    Well, it could just serve the normal purpose of any mirror. There wouldn't be much call for a Claude glass, which as you say is an aid to sketching/painting the landscape, within the confined space of the cabin of a boat, especially since a Claude glass is normally dark-tinted. And he isn't using the mirror as an aid to his written sketch of the cabin - he's not describing what he sees reflected in this mirror, he's describing what he sees directly; and he's comparing his procedure in writing his sketch of the cabin , of beginning with the most distant and high-placed object he sees, with that of Lorrain in tackling his landscapes. Mirrors in the early nineteenth century often included within their frame a panel above the mirror, often with a painted scene (as here) . The use of 'frontispiece' is a bit odd, but I suppose if you're working from the top that's what you see first, and in any case looking across the room to a mirror high on the wall opposite the first thing to catch your attention would naturally be the picture painted on the upper panel. I don't see anything to justify taking it as a Lorrain glass, especially since the cabin had been furnished and decorated by the boat owner (not Audubon), and it seems very unlikely that he would have chosen a Claude mirror in place of a conventional one (and Claude glasses were normally carried around, not put on walls).
     
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