QOTD: Voltaire’s Lifeboat

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3 Responses to QOTD: Voltaire’s Lifeboat

  1. Joe R. says:

    Small issue here Gregor. Volaire didn’t write this, and ships weren’t even equipped with lifeboats during his lifetime. In 1912, 200 hundred years later, the Titanic still wasn’t equpied with enough for its passenger loading when it sank. Slave ships were the normal transatlantic “passenger” ships of Voltaire’s age and they sure as hell had none.

    The quote actually comes from 1963 from an Englishman called Peter Gay and is a loose interpretation of a very metaphorical line of Voltaire from ‘Candide’ that doesn’t actually mention singing or lifeboats at all at all. It makes Voltaire sound stoically British rather than fatalistically French. Given that Gay was ‘translating’ Candide presumably making Voltaire sound English in the translation would sell better in the UK. Jean Paul Satre and company would have cringed probably. The original French follows:

    “Comptez que le monde est un grand naufrage, et que la devise des hommes est, sauve qui peut”

    Or (roughly) :

    “Count that the world is a great shipwreck, and therefore the motto of men should be; save who you can.”

  2. macromon says:

    Joe, You are incredible. You are now designated GMM’s official fact checker! By the way, you have never had a Pliny the Elder. Three will knock any Irishman on their arse, including this Irishman. Pliny the Younger is even more potent but only brewed and released two weeks out of the year.

    • Joe R says:

      Cheers, I will look into these Pliny’s. Any drink that could knock me in my arse, but is also tasty, piques my interest.

      How about me being GMM’s official nitpicker or occasional curmudgeon? Fact checker sounds like a very onerous title!

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