I remember studying Candide in an English class at University and it was enough to tackle translated into English – I can’t imagine reading Voltaire en français. My French is so rusty though, there was a time in my life when it probably would have been easier to read the French version.
A letter of Margi’s written to Marshall on November 4th, 1960 from Stanford University, Tours, France
I just finished writing an essay on existentialist philosophy in French – an effort which has exhausted my little mind completely, French is quite a language to tangle with.
I am crushed. The week before last I was sitting calmly in the railway station eating an orange while waiting for my train out of Paris while there was all sorts of excitement going on which I missed. Some Algerians got mad at the police and they had a big gun fight outside the station. I didn’t even know about it until I was safe at home the next day. There was also a big demonstration in Tours which I didn’t find out about until it was over.
Gail and I had dinner yesterday with a French family. The people here are unbelievably friendly. They hardly even knew us and they gave us a chicken dinner and took us for a car ride. We didn’t get home until 6:30pm and we had been speaking French every solid minute! My poor little brain was ruined for the rest of the day. Have you ever tried to explain the American election system, the farm surplus problem, or why Dad doesn’t put all his cattle in the barn for the winter, in French? They are so curious about America and just fire question after question all the time.
I still have about 50 million pages of Voltaire to tackle so I suppose I should get started. Wish they’d stop giving us assignments.