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Home :: Archive :: 2006 :: April ::
Monsieur La Far
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 17.0314  Monday, 17 April 2006

[1] 	From: 	Kevin Donovan <
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	Date: 	Tuesday, 11 Apr 2006 10:38:34 -0500 (CDT)
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 17.0309 Monsieur La Far

[2] 	From: 	S. L Kasten  <
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	Date: 	Wednesday, 12 Apr 2006 12:58:46 +0200
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 17.0309 Monsieur La Far


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Kevin Donovan <
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Date: 		Tuesday, 11 Apr 2006 10:38:34 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: 17.0309 Monsieur La Far
Comment: 	Re: SHK 17.0309 Monsieur La Far

Re: Tony Burton's connection of La Far with the H5's Le Fer, Steevens 
noted the similarity in his 1793 edition and ascribed it to 
Shakespeare's relative ignorance of French names.

Kevin Donovan <
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[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		S. L Kasten  <
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Date: 		Wednesday, 12 Apr 2006 12:58:46 +0200
Subject: 17.0309 Monsieur La Far
Comment: 	Re: SHK 17.0309 Monsieur La Far

From: Tony  Burton:

 >I'm surprised that no one has connected the Monsieur La Far of Lear with
 >the Monsieur Le Fer of Henry V.  Both names have evoked speculation that
 >it carries some unrecognized significance.  Given the vagaries of
 >English orthography and regional or class differences in pronunciation,
 >the "e"/"a" variation practically assures that the names were pronounced
 >the same way.

Some time after a Shaksper thread some years ago on "Frog" as a nickname 
for a Frenchman I became aware that that the Chinese for France is "Fah 
Guo", Fah denoting "law" and Guo meaning "land" or "kingdom" .  (My 
Chinese is smaller than my Latin and Greeke, but I was able to make my 
way on the Bei Jing subway without help and occasionally strike a very 
good bargain in the market, and this without Berlitz.)

English is peppered with many common words acquired in foreign sojourns, 
conquests, and presumably trade, India being the prime example of such a 
source.

My question is how far back have England and France been rubbing 
shoulders in China?  Does anyone out there have any idea when and how 
the French got their Chinese name?  Certainly for "Lear" Fah would be 
anachronistic, but for "Henry V" less so.  By the time the plays were 
written the Silk Road had been well trod and the world well 
circumnavigated by, among others, the English Tar.

England is Ying Guo,  America is Mei Guo.  Fah may well have been what 
the Chinese ear made of the French pronunciation of "France", rather 
than homage to Frances devotion to law and constitutionality.

Best wishes,
Syd Kasten

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