[ilds] Tunc 1.1 - the "thinking weed"

James Gifford james.d.gifford at gmail.com
Thu May 19 13:15:58 PDT 2016


Hi Brewster,

On 2016-05-16 11:45 AM, Brewster Chamberlin wrote:
 > Pascal wrote about a "thinking reed". Where did
 > the "weed" sneak in?

Why am I not surprised to quibble with you about "weed"...  I thought of 
it mainly because I've seen the Pascal passage (mis)rendered as such, 
but now that I can look at it in the original, it is indeed "roseau," so 
there isn't really any ambiguity over "reed":

"L'homme n'est qu'un roseau le plus foible de la nature; mais c'est un 
roseau pensant."

It might just be my own reading background creeping in, but is there 
really any other way to think about the odd phrasing of "the thinking 
weed" without gesturing back to Pascal?  The word switch would be 
typical of Durrell, with "thinking weed" as a recognizable revision like 
"to Ur is human" (in the postface of Nunquam) and such.

Best,
James


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