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A few names from Averoigne
Posted by: olegrand (IP Logged)
Date: 14 November, 2019 06:14AM
I don't know if anybody has already done this. Here are a few notes on the meanings or origins of some names used in CAS' Averoigne stories.

SOME PLACE NAMES

MALINBOIS: "Malin bois" = "Evil wood"; "malin" means "malign", "evil" but when used as a noun (e.g. "le Malin"), it specifically means "the Devil".

CHATEAU DES FAUSSESFLAMMES: "Castle of the False Flames" (the correct French form would be in two words: "fausses flammes", pronounced something like "foss-flamm" or "foe-sflamm", depending on your accent)

PERIGON: Probably derived from Périgord (a region in Occitanian France) or Périgueux (its main town).

XIMES: Probably formed on “Nîmes”, a city in southern (Occitanian) France.

LA FRÊNAIE: A “frênaie” is a place planted with ash trees (“frênes”).

VYONES: Sounds a lot like « Yonne », a river and département in central France.

YLOURGNE: While it does sound French-ey, it does not ring any bell – at least so far.

INN OF BONNE JOUISSANCE: « Bonne jouissance » means « good joy » or « good pleasure ».

INN OF HAUTE ESPERANCE: « Haute espérance » means « high hope ».


SOME CHARACTER NAMES / SURNAMES

LUC LE CHAUDRONNIER: « Le chaudronnier » means « the cauldron-maker ».

GASPARD DU NORD: Gaspard of the North. Reminiscent of “Gaspard de la Nuit” (Gaspard of the Night), a collection of prose poems written by the enigmatic Aloysius Bertrand in the 19th century in which medieval urban (and nocturnal) life plays a major role.

LE SIEUR DES FLECHES: « the Sire (or lord) of Arrows ».

JEHAN MAUVAISSOIR: « Jehan » is a medieval form of « Jean » (the French version of John) ; « Mauvaissoir » means « bad evening » - it’s an imaginary surname.

LE SIEUR DES EMAUX: « the sire (or lord) of enamels »

JEAN VILLOM: The (nonexistent) surname « Villom » is very close to « Villon », as in François Villon, a great French poet of the 15th century (who was also a rabble-rouser and a part-time criminal).

GILLES GRENIER: « Grenier » is the French word for « attic ». It is also a real surname.

ALAIN LE DINDON: « Le Dindon » means « the Turkey ».

GERARD DE L’AUTOMNE: Gérard of the Autumn. Also see Gaspard du Nord above.

FLEURETTE: Diminutive of « Fleur », the French word for « flower » and a (rare) first name. The phrase “conter fleurette” means “flirting” – and yes, the English word “flirt” actually comes from this.



Edited 4 time(s). Last edit at 14 Nov 19 | 07:14AM by olegrand.

Re: A few names from Averoigne
Posted by: zimriel (IP Logged)
Date: 14 November, 2019 10:08AM
My folk-etymology of Mauvaissoir - since we only meet him in the later 1100s - was some bastardised Old French. He goes about doing evil in the evening: mal vai [sic] en soir. Not unlike as the Devil makes his rounds, circuit quaerens quem devoret (1 Peter 5:8).

There's a real etymology for 'mauvais' of which I was unaware. Old Occitan malvatz points to a bad fate, not ill will or (in my thought) ill deeds.

Seems there's a story buried in here about how Jehan meets a sorry and ironic end.

Re: A few names from Averoigne
Posted by: zimriel (IP Logged)
Date: 14 November, 2019 10:11AM
FAUSSESFLAMMES - since it's in this order, and not "flammes fausses" as is usual in French, I figured a calque from old Gothic. Galiugaliutan rolls off the tongue nicely, nein?

Re: A few names from Averoigne
Posted by: zimriel (IP Logged)
Date: 14 November, 2019 10:17AM
Villom does exist; it is a German-ish term for German "Wilhelm". English "William" is the Norman version.

"Guillaume" (*Gillalm), more common French these days, derives from Occitan again: "Ghillem" (like how the French like to say "amour" and not "aimeur"). Guilhem Figueira was famous as a trobador.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 14 Nov 19 | 10:29AM by zimriel.

Re: A few names from Averoigne
Posted by: olegrand (IP Logged)
Date: 14 November, 2019 12:41PM
About "fausses flammes", as a native French speaker, I can assure you that adjectives can be placed either before or after the noun - it's one of those weird French case-by-case things.
For instance, "red dog" would be rendered as "chien rouge" but "small dog" would be rendered as "petit chien". In the case of "flammes" and "fausses", the correct / usual placement would be "fausses flammes" and not "flammes fausses".

About "Villom", I was merely speaking as far as French surnames are concerned. Of course, CAS may have taken this from the rare German-ish form for Wilhelm (I admit I was unaware it existed and it is definitely unknown in France) but given CAS' knowledge of French literature in general and poetry in particular, I think that the link with "François Villon" is a perfectly viable hypothesis. It could also be derived from "Vuillaume" or "Villaume", an uncommon (but not too rare) French surname akin to Guillaume (G, W and V being pretty interchangeable consonants depending on regions).


"Mauvais" is the usual (and a very common) French adjective for "bad" or "wicked". So, yes, "mauvais soir" definitely means "bad evening" - another example where the adjective would be placed before the noun.


Incidentally, for those who wonder about the whole "Gaspard de la Nuit" connection, it seems quite probable that CAS had read (or at least knew of) the obscure Aloysius Bertrand's only work - because this work was greatly admired by Baudelaire (whose works CAS translated in English) and even inspired him to write his own "prose poems" (a form usually associated with Baudelaire but actually pioneered by Bertrand, as acknowledged in writing by Baudelaire himself). If CAS read Baudelaire's later "prose poems", then it's pretty certain he would have known about Aloysius Bertrand's "Gaspard de la Nuit".



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 14 Nov 19 | 12:57PM by olegrand.

Re: A few names from Averoigne
Posted by: zimriel (IP Logged)
Date: 14 November, 2019 07:24PM
Thank you for your commentary. In my defence, I got a 'B' in GCSE French.

Re: A few names from Averoigne
Posted by: olegrand (IP Logged)
Date: 15 November, 2019 01:29AM
zimriel Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Thank you for your commentary. In my defence, I
> got a 'B' in GCSE French.


Well, to be fair, French is an extremely (and arbitrarily) complicated language, which is ruled by "usage" rather than by logic and seems to be entirely composed of special cases and exceptions! CAS' command of obviously outstanding: as far as I know, his English translation of Baudelaire's poetic works are still regarded as excellent (unlike Baudelaire's own French translations of Edgar Poe's stories - which are perfect examples of what we call "belles infidèles", i.e. "beautiful but unfaithful").

Re: A few names from Averoigne
Posted by: SirNolen (IP Logged)
Date: 22 November, 2019 02:52PM
Any idea what the name "Olivier du Montoir" (from The Satyr) means? Thanks.

Re: A few names from Averoigne
Posted by: olegrand (IP Logged)
Date: 25 November, 2019 01:51PM
Yes. The word "montoir" in French means a stone or stool used to mount a horse - it comes from the verb "monter" (to mount or to go up).

I don't think "du Montoir" actually exists as a surname - but it does sound quite authentic.

"Montoire" (with a -e), on the other hand, is a well-known (and quite infamous) name in French WW2 history - if "The Satyr" was written after 1940, there might be a possible connection (who knows?)

[en.wikipedia.org]



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