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The Short Form

Bad French, Bad English

Lawrence Durrell in The Big Supposer:

If you write bad French you end up with bad French. Whereas in English you can make any number of grammatical errors and still retain control, so that mistakes (whether or not they are deliberate) turn into gems. Take Conrad: his mistakes had such a beauty about them that the English ended by imitating them. A French poet needs a lot more temerity before he sets about destroying the grammar. When Rimbaud writes ‘Je est un autre’ he is deliberately attempting to break down logical structure; as a result he thought of as a phenomenon. In England we take that sort of thing in our stride, as if the language belonged to each individual.