Pur Autre Vie

I'm not wrong, I'm just an asshole

Monday, May 30, 2016

The Labels We Append to Ourselves

A funny thing about reading history is that I become so accustomed to the names and places in the book that it comes as a shock to remember that I come from a different time and place.  The biography of Pasteur that I have been reading is full of French names and Victorian concepts (though on reflection, I doubt the French use the term "Victorian" to describe that era).  Just a moment ago I had occasion to write my name, and it seemed foreign to me.  "Wow, that's very Irish!" I said to myself, before realizing I was talking about my own name.

It wasn't such a big deal when I was reading about Gladstone, because several of the dramatis personae were Irish, and also British names are not so different from Irish ones.  But France is strikingly different, and I can see why French people sometimes develop a form of nationalism that would seem alien in the English-speaking world.


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