By Prosper Mérimée
Que le lecteur ne s'y trompe pas : en dépit de son titre, ce livre n'a rien d'une austère chronique. En prenant pour sujet l. a. Saint-Barthélemy et les guerres de faith qui ensanglantèrent l. a. France du XVIe siècle, Mérimée, au plus castle de l. a. ferveur romantique pour Walter Scott, s'attache à déjouer les codes du roman historique. Souhaitez-vous un portrait de Charles IX ? Allez plutôt "voir son buste au musée d'Angoulême ", rétorque l'auteur. Vous attendez-vous à ce qu'apparaisse l. a. reine Margot ? Vous serez déçu : "elle était un peu indisposée, et gardait los angeles chambre"... C'est Bernard de Mergy, un parfait anonyme, qui occupe le devant de l. a. scène : ce jeune huguenot, amoureux d'une comtesse catholique prompte au prosélytisme, est aux prises avec son propre frère, qui s'est converti. Dans cette œuvre de jeunesse, qui est aussi son targeted roman, Mérimée interact avec brio une réflexion sur cette query brûlante : remark les hommes en viennent-ils à s'entretuer monstrueusement ? Et nous offre une chronique d'un style inédit - "un ouvrage plein d'esprit à los angeles Voltaire", disait Stendhal.
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Extra info for Chronique du règne de Charles IX
Instructed by the eldest of the Samanas, Siddhartha practiced the eradication of ego, practiced samadhi according to new Samana rules. A heron flew over the bamboo forest—and Siddhartha received the heron into his soul, flew over forests and mountains, was heron, ate fish, felt the pangs of heron hunger, spoke in heron squawks, died a heron death. A dead jackal lay on the sandy bank—and Siddhartha’s soul slipped into the corpse, was dead jackal, lay on the beach, grew bloated, stank, decayed, was torn apart by hyenas and flayed by vultures, became a skeleton, became dust, blew into the fields.
Siddhartha had long since begun to join in the wise men’s counsels, to practice with Govinda the art of wrestling with words, to practice with Govinda the art of contemplation, the duty of meditation. He had mastered Om, the Word of Words, learned to speak it soundlessly into himself while drawing a breath, to speak it out soundlessly as his breath was released, his soul collected, brow shining with his mind’s clear thought. He had learned to feel Atman’s presence at the core of his being, inextinguishable, one with the universe.
Siddhartha is suffused with a sense of harmony and measure, and Hesse’s sentences tend to fall just so, with a great deal of gravitas and a certain decadent lushness. He often repeats phrases, which has the effect of a chant or incantation. Thus it is crucial for the sentences of the translation to have an elegant, melodious cadence, rich in assonance—this is what Hesse reads like in German. What makes the book luminous in the original is the way the quest for perfection/Nirvana is reflected in the quiet beauty of the prose.