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Showing posts from August 8, 2010

Seeing the forest

I’m sorry for not blogging for a week, but I am overwhelmed with work and love at the moment. However, I want to make a post continuing my forest thematic – or obsession. In Language and Sensibility in the seventeenth century (1975), Pierre Dumonceaux points out that even as the French government rationalized its operations under Louis XIV, the texts of that rationalization were shot through with irrationality. Take, for instance, Colbert’s radical reconstruction of the system of forest maintenance. His order of 1669 not only contains prescriptions concerning the cutting and use of trees, according to a new categorization that recognized different kinds of timber trees and their biological life cycle, but it also contained this sentence: Défendons à toutes personnes de charmer our brûler les arbres, ni d’en enlever l’écorce, sous peine de punition corporelle.” Dumonceaux remarks: “In this phrase, the three terms charmer, brûler, enlever are situated on the same semantic level; each