Talk:François de La Rochefoucauld (writer)

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This article is pompous[edit]

Whoever wrote the bulk of this article is much more concerned with showing how smart they are than creating a helpful article; the whole damn thing needs to be rewritten. I'd do it myself, but I don't actually know anything about La Rochefoucauld. Someone please do some work here. Czoller (talk) 15:45, 5 April 2008 (UTC)

"Whoever wrote the bulk of this article" was George Saintsbury, who has been dead for 75 years. I know the style of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica is off-putting to many modern readers. Unfortunately, in the majority of cases that we copied and pasted the 1911 EB articles into Wikipedia back in 2003 and 2004, no one has ever rewritten them (because they felt intimidated? not sure). I rather wish we'd never done it. Antandrus (talk) 15:06, 14 December 2008 (UTC)

Religion[edit]

He was a Freethinker, and atheist.

This page seems to be translated straight from the French version. As a result I see French constructions that don't flow very well in English ex "La Rochefoucauld was somewhat neglected in the matter of education, at least of the scholastic kind." It sounds fine in French but no one I know talks in English like that. I recommend that someone rewrites this to flow better. Te_aute


In French his name is spelled "de La", with an upper case L, and sorted alphabetically under L (La Rochefoucauld, François de). This English Wikipedia article spells his name "de la" with a lower case L. Is this by design, or just by mistake? The name is mentioned several times in the article using an upper case L.

I've always seen it with a capital "L". Antandrus 03:49, 6 Jul 2004 (UTC)
Moved. --Smack 21:27, 4 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Birthdate[edit]

See also. [[de:Diskussion:François de La Rochefoucauld|diskussion on German wikipedia]

There seem to be two different birthdates floating around in sources. Britannica 1911, current claims September 15, while two German encyclopedias (Brockhaus 1908, dtv 1992) say December 15. Anyone know what is correct? andy 12:09, 16 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Suggested spot for revision[edit]

"was the greatest maxim writer of France, one of her best memoir writers, and perhaps the most complete and accomplished representative of her ancient nobility."

1. 'the greatest maxim writier of France' strikes one as non-neutral. Perhaps we should consider revising to remove some subjectivity.

2. La Rochefoucauld was a man, not a woman. Unless I read that wrong, we should fix that.


Her refers to French, if I'm right.

Violation of neutral policy[edit]

Read the section on La Rochefoucald's works - the author of the section seems to be so enamoured with La Rochefoucauld that he forgets to say anything meaningful about the philosophy behind the works and instead heaps excessive praise upon its style. Worthless.

We don't need five tags that say virtually the same thing. I'm taking some out. If you find it so offensive, why don't you improve it? ImperfectlyInformed | {talk - contribs} 07:00, 8 May 2008 (UTC)

Pompous style that masks sketchy content[edit]

This article is written in a pompous style. The complex sentence structure seems like it was translated from a flowery biography written two hundred years ago, and that the translator sought to preserve the original writer's style rather than to render it in good English. When you finally distill these complex sentences down to their essence, you find that there isn't much left. It's basically obfuscatory writing.

It's the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica, and while its style does not conform with the Wikipedia ideal, the last long paragraph under "Literary works" is as fine a summation of what you find when you read the Maxims as any I have ever read. Read them yourself and you'll see that they're about as packed with meaning, in as small a space, as is possible to do in language. Ideally we would rewrite the article in Wikipedia's NPOV style, but as it hasn't happened in the four or five years I've been watching it, I rather doubt it would happen. Am I the last one alive who still reads La Rochefoucauld? I wonder. Antandrus (talk) 15:00, 14 December 2008 (UTC)
No, you are not the only one still reading La Rochefoucauld. The "problem" with the 1911 articles are, that while their style and sometimes Victorian infused morals can be somewhat antiquated, the actual research and scope of the articles are very detailed. Thus it makes it hard to compete for anyone wanting to write a new article from scratch, because chances are that it would not be as well-researched and include as many details as the 1911-article. For more popular topics this is usually not a problem, as someone who knows a lot about the subject invariably will come along, but on more "obscure" subjects like this one, there might not. Even though I have read and enjoyed the Maxims (readily available thanks to the Penguin paperback edition), I do not feel qualified to compete with the author of the 1911 article on the topic of his biography or philosophy. In this case I think the 1911 article is an excellent alternative to what would probably just have been a stub, although some modernisation of the language is required. --Saddhiyama (talk) 15:45, 14 December 2008 (UTC)

The last paragraph on "Literary works" is in desperate need of a complete rewrite to conform to modern (Wiki) standards. I noticed that everyone is in agreement that this article needs a rewrite but no one has attempted any changes. Certainly there must be more modern scholarship somewhere on Rochefoucauld then the 1911 Britannica entry? Odin1 (talk) 05:15, 13 November 2009 (UTC)

I agree with all the above. Greatly daring I shall attempt to simplify and clarify the prose. (There might not be much left when I'm done.) Rumiton (talk) 11:03, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
My goodness, you need a strong stomach for this job. That prose is truly sickening. I'll try to do some more tomorrow. Rumiton (talk) 11:18, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
Your work is appreciated :) -- Quiddity (talk) 20:40, 7 February 2010 (UTC)
Your appreciation is appreciated. Rumiton (talk) 13:37, 19 February 2010 (UTC)

Has 'Literary Work' been edited now? If so, change it back! The original can't possibly be any worse than what's there now... The last part, in particular, reads like somebody wrote out a series of bullet points but forgot to seperate and format them. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 134.151.33.154 (talk) 15:23, 1 July 2010 (UTC)

Have you read the original? I suggest you have a look at the comments above and the heading of this section. Summaries can indeed end up terse and lacking in flow, but I think most agree it is now at least readable. Rumiton (talk) 11:37, 2 July 2010 (UTC)
I have evidently not read the original, and I apologise if you feel I have belittled your hard work. However, I don't agree that summaries need to be 'terse and lacking in flow', and seems rather like translating a passage from Chinese to French when the target readership speaks English. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 134.151.33.154 (talk) 13:46, 13 July 2010 (UTC)
I did not say that summaries should be "terse and lacking in flow." I am saying the opposite, that if they are, it is a fault. And yes, this is very like translation work, from ancient French to modern English via that most turgid of literary periods, the English Edwardian. If you feel you can see how to make the article more reader-friendly, please go ahead. Rumiton (talk) 13:54, 13 July 2010 (UTC)

Unnecessary/subjective details[edit]

The following does not seem like an objective encyclopaedia entry: "His Maximes never become platitudes, nor yet dark sayings. He has packed them so full of meaning that it would be impossible to pack them closer. He has sharpened their point to the utmost, yet there is no loss of substance. The comparison which occurs most frequently, and which is perhaps the most just, is that of a bronze sculpture—a completed work, yet one whose workmanship is not over-detailed." Statements such as "it would be impossible to pack them closer" are quite meaningless and hyperbolic, and the bronze sculpture metaphor is very overwrought. 160.39.182.183 (talk) 00:19, 29 January 2013 (UTC)

I agree with you, but this is actually a toned-down version of the main source for this article, the 1911 Brittanica, which is full of Edwardian floweriness and repellent to the modern reader. Much of it is also clumsily translated from old French. If you have found a more plainly written source please point us to it. Rumiton (talk) 15:23, 29 January 2013 (UTC)