Two Solitudes

In 1945 a book by  Hugh MacLennan called Two Solitudes came out. I read it about 30 years ago and it left an impression on me. It was about the English and French in Quebec and how they could live in the same society together and yet not know anything of what was going on in the other culture. I don’t think much has changed. Yes, I have French friends but they speak to me in English. Perhaps its because I put them through torture when I speak French. I admit I don’t know any of the popular French singers or rock bands, I  also don’t know any of the English singers or rock bands in Quebec, so there we are even. I don’t watch French television, but I was a great fan of the Plouffe Family. I do watch sometimes when I feel I should improve my French, but if the talk is too fast or dubbed, forget it. My French speaking customers in the magic shop say I speak very well. They are kind. I did take a French literature course while at McGill, and my  professor spoke two languages, French and German. We studied the classics, Madame Bovary, Le Rouge et le Noir, Huis Clos, etc.  I do know something.

So the other night, maybe a few weeks ago or longer, while I was channel flipping I came across Luc Langevin, who I have known since he was a kid. After all he bought his first tricks here. I’m usually pretty good at figuring out how something is done. Even if I don’t figure out how it was actually done, I can figure a way it could have been done. I saw him do two effects. One was torn and restored card, and the other was a very complicated and long effect which involved 4 or 5 spectators. I understood every word, just about, but I could not figure out how he did either effect. He did a mentalist effect which involved a sub-trunk -like effect without a sub-trunk. He went back in time to when he was a 13 year old child. Then he came back to his present self. The point is, I was so absorbed in what he was doing, I didn’t realize I was listening to French. That was magic!


Filed under Evelyn Matlin

2 responses to “Two Solitudes

  1. I remember a French teacher once telling me that the reason I was having so much trouble learning french was that I was constantly trying to translate french to English in my head. That I just have to accept the french and learn it without translating. I kind of understand the principle. But for the life of me I could never put it into practice.


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