When the great minds of the Scriblérus Club are resurrected

When the great minds of the Scriblérus Club are resurrected

“The History of Martinus Scriblérus, His Works and Discoveries”, John Arbuthnot, John Gay, Thomas Parnell, Alexander Pope, Henry Saint John Martin, Jonathan Swift, translated from the English by Pierre-Henri Larcher, Vagabonde, 343 pp, €19.50.

We don’t know when Pierre Lafargue etc Pierre Senges became aware of the void left in the heart of our libraries by the practical disappearance of the delicious The history of Martinus Scriblérus, his works and discoveriesthis satire was created at the very beginning of the 18th centurye century by the very informal club Scriblérus. What is certain is that with this new edition they accept the challenge: to make Martinus Scriblérus our contemporary.

Both authors of works that show their fluency in the use of the great French language that sometimes it is good not to stain, Senges and Lafargue are not satisfied with restoring this English classic, which was translated into French in 1755 by Pierre-Henri Larcher. They revive its spirit by expanding it with a rich critical apparatus, which teems with inventions like the original text. Founded in 1712, the Scriblérus Club brought together a host of brilliant minds, including Jonathan Swift, Alexander Pope and John Arbuthnot, the most relentless of all in settling accounts in this way with a spirit of seriousness that so quickly turns a scholar into “scribouillard” – since that is the meaning of English scribbler to whom our famous Martinus owes his surname.

Lots of salads

In today’s language, but remembering the etymology that brings the word satire closer to mixed vegetables, one could say that Martinus Scriblérus would be happy to tell a lot of salads, and that the organizers of the Scriblérus Club were very happy to season them. A few years before Laurence Sterne borrowed numerous volleys of laughter from them to invent the wheel of the modern novel in the The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentlemanthey knew how to blow a wind of joy to shake the seats on which those who have the unfortunate tendency to turn their little knowledge into an instrument of power, in order to better judge everything, like to sit.

The result is a volume that takes the reader “riding Dada”, as the best English literature of the time liked to say. Straddling languages, straddling the dazzling XVIIIe The English century and ours well covered, the editor (Pierre Senges) and the annotator (Pierre Lafargue) are also covered in principles, a sine qua non condition that Martinus Scriblérus does not turn in his grave. It is a pity that only an overview can be given, in this case note 437: “This translation by M. Larcher of the last passage is very unfaithful to the letter of the Scriblérus Club, but it captures its spirit with such grace that it has been judged that it may be kept as it is, without fear of protest from the pedants who have read this book through only with the intention of is not liked because they saw themselves in her everywhere.”

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