Devouring De Maupassant: The Question of Latin

Title: The Question of Latin
Date Read: 12th September 2011
Available Online?: YES
Briefly: Pere Piquedent is one of the finest Latin teachers in the whole of France. The problem is he doesn’t know what else to do in life. He feels trapped and lonely, but he finds solace in the company of one of his pupils, to whom he shares his tales of sorrows with.
Afterthoughts: A fine story from Maupassant, but one which is very typical of this particular author. There is a bit of awkwardness in the translation of the version of the story that I read (the same one that is linked above), but it does little to detract from what is a superbly crafted tale full of woe, mischievousness and love (the three things that make this story so typically Maupassantian).
Notable Quote: Not even the nights, my friend, and that is the hardest thing on me. The dream of my life is to have a room with my own furniture, my own books, little things that belong to myself and which others may not touch. And I have nothing of my own, nothing except my trousers and my frock-coat, nothing, not even my mattress and my pillow! I have not four walls to shut myself up in, except when I come to give a lesson in this room. Do you see what this means—a man forced to spend his life without ever having the right, without ever finding the time, to shut himself up all alone, no matter where, to think, to reflect, to work, to dream?

Rating: ★★★★☆

*Story read as part of my Devouring De Maupassant reading challenge.

About Rob

Rob, a self-confessed bibliophile, is without any hope of rehabilitation. He gets unnaturally excited over anything book-shaped, and if book sniffing were a crime then he would have been locked up years ago (which wouldn’t bother him in the slightest provided his cell was lined with books).