Tuesday, March 18, 2008

+ qu'hier - que demain

In 1889, French poet Rosemonde Gérard wrote, “Car, vois-tu, chaque jour je t’aime advantage / Aujourd’hui plus qu’hier et bien moins que demain.” (“L’Eternelle Chanson,” Les Pipeaux).

The passage translates into English as, “For, you see, each day I love you more / Today more than yesterday and less than tomorrow.” The poem was written for her husband, writer Edmond Rostand.

The above brass medallion edits the lines to, “+ qu hier - que demain.” Similar charms made from a variety of metals have been produced over the years, and are still considered a token of love today. “Plus Qu'hier Moins Que Demain” is also the title of a song by Lévis Bouliane, and a French film about a family in the countryside of France (1999).

Rosemonde Gérard’s poem can be found here. Yes, I know it’s written in French, but even if you can’t understand a word, try reading it aloud. In the late eighteenth century, French educator and philosopher Joseph Jacotot wrote that all people have equal intelligence; every person has the faculty of being able to self-instruct; and that “everything is in everything.” He called this type of teaching he practiced the "intellectual emancipation" method.

In Jacotot’s language “class,” students first studied the words, next the letters, then the grammar, and finally the meaning, until a single paragraph became a gateway to learning an entire literature—all without a teacher to guide the process. He said that that people differ only in their wills to use their intelligence, so if you want to learn absolutely anything, you have the ability.

Any approach that takes the class system out of the classroom sounds like love to me! There is so much emotion in Gérard’s poem, you might be surprised at what you might understand and feel—even if you don’t think you can speak French.


Anonymous said...

For more on the medallions and the author, have a look at Rosemonde Gérard on Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosemonde_G%C3%A9rard).

i love you said...

Thank you very much for the link -- lots of great info there!