Monday, August 29, 2011

trahison des clercs



trahison des clercs [traizɔ de klɛrk] n.

1.) The betrayal of standards by intellectuals influenced by politics (Dictionary of Foreign Words, Adrian Room (ed.), 2000).

Etymology: French, lit. "treason of the clerks". The phrase originated in La Trahison des Clercs (1927), by Julien Benda, in which the author denounces as moral traitors those who betray truth and justice for racial and political considerations.

"The truth is a little more complicated, not least by Orwell's evident conviction that deceit and domination, to be effective, would have to be refracted through the medium of the intelligentsia. It is this stress on the trahison des clercs that links Animal Farm retrospectively with Homage to Catalonia and prospectively with Nineteen Eighty-Four. The extent to which Newspeak and Ingsoc itself are direct examples or expressions of a trahison des clercs has rarely been acknowledged" (Culture and the State, David Lloyd and Paul Thomas, 1998).

(Anthem of the People's Love, Oleksi Shovkunenko, 1951)
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It's time to announce this week's winner of the paragraph challenge. It's...jos xx! She wrote:
From the huge golden windows of the ancient palace, I could see her pale skin as she walked alone through the autumn leaves of the orchard. And I suddenly wanted to touch her face. As she looked up and met my gaze, her sinuous lips suggested a smile...but her eyes were hard. I moved with great celerity when I heard steps coming my way, but instead of going back to the dining hall—where a huge retirement party, featuring many paeans, was being held for his long years of military service—I crossed the hall and entered the garden, while hiding behind some trees. “why aren’t you celebrating your husband’s victories with all of his friends?” I whispered. Suddenly she breathed short and she might have broken out into some dangerous ebullition, had not I touched her gently on the arm. Two failed marriages, she sobbed, while she whispered: “plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose..."
Great stuff, jos xx. You even managed to work in a little poignancy. Okay, for next week, let's use: alacrity, rara avis, trenchant, shibboleth, droll, velleity, and frisson.

22 comments:

jos xx said...

yay!!!!! so happy i won!

jos xx

DEZMOND said...

this happens too often in the modern world :(

shari said...

Nice one, Jos xx! Hey! I'm reading Orwell's 1984 right NOW! Weird coincidence. I'm learning all about trahison des clercs....

Debra She Who Seeks said...

Quite the bodice-ripper! Congrats, jos xx!

Mai Yang said...

wooooow! congrats jos xx!

re your comment: so it's you. hehe..I noticed the photo before but didn't notice the "photo of me"
wow! that's so cool..^_^

D4 said...

Wow, that was one awesome entry by jos xx, congrats to her!

meandmythinkingcap said...

this is english? Anyway love the meaning.

Katie said...

What an awesome paragraph. She put to shame anything I could possibly attempt ;) Yet perhaps I should attempt anyway...

JayJay said...

Congrats Jos xx - beautifully written.

I like this phrase/word and the reference to Animal Farm made me smile since I have to re-cap that for my students.

Endless said...

Yep, I had to catch all 150 pokemons :D

Leeann @ Join the Gossip said...

OK so I can't speak with an accent at all and there's no way I could pronounce this word lol :)

Bibi said...

I'm noticing a trend. Basically English academic writing is nothing more than embedding French in your text. j/k, but it seems you get pretty far with some basic knowledge of our second language.

Ooh, love this week's entry. Wish there was more!

MRanthrope said...

I'm sure I'll be posting something about trahison des clercs one of these days...we've begun the 2012 Presidential Election cycle and all the snakes/rats are coming out to play.

Fiona not Bruce said...

congrats to jos xx, that was a really good paragraph! :) i'm going to buckle down and write one this week...hopefuly

GMSoccerPicks said...

The painting is simply amazing. The word on the other hand, has negative connotation and sadly could be used every single day when talking about politics.

Shutterbug said...

Congrats, jos xx! You do have a way with words! :D

Michael Westside said...

anoher one i didnt know about

ivy said...

& hopefully, the story will continue...

Natália said...

MRanthrope took the words right out of my mind!

mjunta said...

very good post!

Jenny Woolf said...

Interesting phrase, and one which, strangely, I have not come across before - or, rather, if I have, I haven't registered it.

Henry said...

There's a great word for today's usage. (^_^)7 Bravo.

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