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© Patrick O'Donovan 1986–2019

That was the week that was: the glamour of grammar
14 Sep 2018

Maurice Audin died under torture at the hands of the state


Raphaëlle Branche, Patrick Garcia, Malika Rahal and Sylvie Thénault comment on Emmanuel Macron’s statement on the responsibility of the state for Audin’s death during the Algerian War in 1957
La Fabrique de l’Histoire, France Culture

The Algerian War: Raymond Aron and the ‘corruption’ of political parties

Aron makes a point to insist that the crisis of the Fourth Republic in 1958 was not an inherent outcome of the constitution, as many contemporaries were convinced. Much less was it a crisis stemming from some inherent quality of France and its post-revolutionary political culture […] For Aron, the explanation for the crisis is the simplest one: the Algerian war. The obsession with the constitution, he writes, is merely ‘a manner either to forget the problem to be resolved, or to search for an essentially different government capable of resolving it’.
Jacob Hamburger, Tocqueville 21

Generations: the impressionable years

Our experiences in our formative years are impressions; everything else is an idea. This, I suspect, lies behind at least some of the generational divide in politics. And its partisans are insufficiently aware of it.
Stumbling and Mumbling

Agreeing to disagree: l’orthographe telle que je l’ai apprise

L’expérience montre qu’en matière d’orthographe le Gaulois est surtout réfractaire au verticalisme top-down: ainsi, la réforme du « nénufar », introduit en 1990 au côté du « nénuphar », et de « l’ognon » au côté de « l’oignon », n’est jamais entrée dans les usages. Laissons donc l’usager être le véritable juge de paix. Le Monde continuera d’accorder les participes passés. Et nous continuerons de lire avec plaisir les lettres que nos lecteurs belges nous auront écrites. Ou écrit.
Le Monde, ‘L’accord du participe passé réfractaire au changement’

On the past participle in history: Wendy Ayres-Bennett, MEITS Blog

And… the Académie speaks

Computing wisdom…

… in the humanities
François Briatte, Computing

Read in conjunction with Butterick’s Practical Typography

Post: the library within its walls

We can recognize and engage with […] a heritage only if [a] physical collection continues […] to exist in one place — and to grow and reshape itself, just as all of the connections to which it testifies do so too.
‘Matters French: Learning from Libraries’

By contrast, Robert Darnton on ‘A Library Without Walls’ (NYRB)

On libraries this week: ‘To Restore Civil Society, Start With the Library’, NYT

and: ‘Le dernier recours pour des usagers démunis face au tout-informatique’, Libération

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