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"These were the only Men I ever conversed with..."

"In Italy the Landlords are very silent. In France they are more talkative, but yet civil. In Germany and Holland they are generally very impertinent. And as for their Honesty, I believe it is pretty equal in all those Countries. The Laquais a Louage are sure to lose no Opportunity of cheating you: And as for the Postilions, I think they are pretty much alike all the World over. These, Sir, are the Observations on Men which I made in my Travels, for these were the only Men I ever conversed with. My Design when I went abroad, was to divert myself by seeing the wondrous Variety of Prospects, Beasts, Birds, Fishes, Insects, and Vegetables, with which God has been pleased to enrich the several Parts of this Globe. A Variety, which as it must give great Pleasure to a contemplative Beholder, so doth it admirably display the Power and Wisdom and Goodness of the Creator. Indeed, to say the Truth, there is but one Work in his whole Creation that doth him any Dishonour, and with that I have long since avoided holding any Conversation."

(Henry Fielding, Tom Jones, VIII, 15).


  • Dans l'édition chez Gallimard de 1964, la traduction de ce passage se trouve p.455-456 du tomeI; il est indiqué que Fielding a mis en français "laquais à louange" : le traducteur le laisse ainsi en l'ornant d'un "sic"...

  • "Laquais à louage" à la page 403 de mon Penguin !

  • J'ai eu la curiosité de consulter la seconde édition de Tom Jones ( 1995) The authoritative text contemporary réactions criticisme. édité par Sheridan Baker , a Norton Critical Edition.
    Et au ch.15 du livre VIII , page 310 ,une note détaillée débat de l' "erreur" , je la reproduis intégralement ci-dessous :
    "The first edition reads "Laquais a Louange", Fielding's Errata and edition II change "Louange" ("praise ") to "Louage ("hire "), making the phrase sensible . "footmen for hire " , that is , menservants hired for short periods by tourists . Fielding emended this to "Valets a Louage" in the third edition . The fourth edition reads "Laquais à Louange", an evident misreading from the first-edition pages here serving as s copy . Although "Louange" is clearly wrong , the new accent on the a indicates Fielding's intend to return to the full French phrase .

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