What is the translation of the La Rochefoucauld quotation (Quel pays sanguinaire, meme le fromage est plein des trous) in "Travesties"?

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linda-allen eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The English translation of Rochefoucauld's statement is: "What a bloodthirsty country, even the cheese is full of holes." Francois de la Rochefoucauld is famous for his book of maxims, which can be defined as "a French literary form of epigram that expresses a harsh or paradoxical truth with brevity." The paradox in the statement you've asked about is that Switzerland is not known for being "bloodthirsty"; in fact, the country has no army and chooses to remain neutral in war.

In his play, which is set in Zurich, Stoppard has the character named Bennett quote Rochefoucauld in telling Carr that the Bolsheviks in Russia are ready for revolution, but that their leader, Lenin, is in exile in Zurich. He is not allowed free passage to return to Russia. The paradox here is that even though Lenin has freedom in Switzerland, he'll be killed if he tries to leave.


geoff312 | Student

If you read the next lines deliverd by Henry Carr ("What a bloody country, even the cheese has got holes in it"), there's your translation..

Must say it's a bit depressing when someone who can use the web to ask a question can neither make sense of the next part of the text, nor work out a pretty simple piece of imitation French.

FYI it's not a proper quote from La Rochfoucauld either, Stoppard is merely messing with your head..

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