Mots D’Heaures: Gousses, Rames

mots dheaures gousses rames rooten angus and robertson 1968Mots d’Heaures: Gousses, Rames: The d’Antin Manuscript edited and annotated by Luis d’Antin Van Rooten, 5/5

This might be the strangest and most ingenious premise for a book I have ever seen–even after reading it, I still don’t really see how it’s possible.  It is a collection of poems written in French that, when read aloud, sound like Mother Goose rhymes being read in English with a thick French accent.  The author supplies entertaining footnotes that attempt, with varying degrees of success, to make sense of the “original” French.

Here’s an example for “Little Bo Peep”:

Little Bo Peep
has lost her sheep
and doesn’t know where to find them;
leave them alone and they will come home
wagging their tails behind them.

Lille beau pipe
Ocelot serre chypre
En douzaine aux verres tuf indemne
Livre de melons un dé huile qu’aux mômes
Eau à guigne d’air telle baie indemne.

Why I read it: My friend, Alison (whose own book, Entropy Academy, is soon to be released), gave this book to me while I was taking a French language class.  Hearing the verses read aloud in her English accent was a hilariously bizarre experience.

N.B. There is a German version of this concept called Mörder Guss Reims.

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