un bien inconnu, dont l'instinct me poursuit

Discussion in 'French-English Vocabulary / Vocabulaire Français-Anglais' started by wm138, Mar 30, 2013.

  1. wm138 Senior Member

    on m’assuse de passer tourjours le but que je puis atteindre: hélas! je cherche seulement un bien inconnu, dont l’intinct me poursuit. [Chateaubriand: René]

    je ne peux pas comprendre et je ne peux pas accepter la traduction anglaise:

    for an unknown good, an instinct for which pursues me.

  2. Ellea1

    Ellea1 Senior Member

    Southern French
    I think he's talking about "bliss" or "happiness". He believes he is obsessed by it.
  3. dasubergeek Senior Member

    English - US; French - CH
    Ellea1 is correct, but your translation is about as good as it gets. "Good" can be a noun, as in "for the common good". That section of "René" is talking about how the author flits from obsession to obsession, because he cannot enjoy something that is over.

    Votre texte contient des fautes de transcription en français, mais ça devrait être "...an unknown good, the instinct for which haunts me."
  4. archijacq Senior Member

    french France
    another translation:
    "I am only in search of some unknown good, whose intuition pursues me relentlessly."
  5. catay Senior Member

    Canada anglais
    I am wondering if "whereto" would work in this context, meaning: "toward what place/end, towards what, to which."
    For example:
    "I am only in search of some unknown good, whereto I am driven relentlessly by intuition."
  6. wm138 Senior Member


    dont = l'intinct d' (
    un bien inconnu) ? mais comment peux un «bien» avoir l'instinct?

    dont = poursuivre qn de ?

    Merci beaucoup!
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 1, 2013
  7. OLN

    OLN Senior Member

    French - France, ♀
    Hi, wam138.

    According to that source, it should be: "On m'accuse d'avoir des goûts inconstants, de ne pouvoir jouir longtemps de la même chimère, d'être la proie d'une imagination qui se hâte d'arriver au fond de mes plaisirs (...) ; on m’accuse de passer toujours le but que je puis atteindre : hélas! je cherche seulement un bien inconnu, dont l’instinct me poursuit".


    dont l'instinct me poursuit : l'instinct que j'ai de ou pour ce bien me poursuit

    The text has been commented on here : http://www.bacdefrancais.net/rene.php
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2013
  8. Martyn94 Banned

    He really is piling it on here, isn't he? The instinct is a part of his personality or temperament. "An unknown good which my nature compels me to pursue" turns it round so that it less literal, but more comprehensible to me in English.

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