the salvation of French and its best claim to moral superiority over other languages, Bloy's Latin is a source of obscurity and alienation, as well as a means by which he distances himself from literary tribes and bien pensant morality. Latin is the language of the Church Fathers and of Catholic liturgy, of course. But instead of a sacred language immune to the suspicion of inherent meaninglessness that had attached itself to vernaculars, Latin for Bloy was post-lapsarian, contaminated by centuries of paganism, unable to forge a link between human abjection and divine transcendence. His de-sacralization of Latin does not reduce it to the level of vernaculars; if anything, Bloy's Latin remains a privileged medium, not for the Word of God, but for the ultimate human expression of despair at Its inaccessibility. This distorting and alienating Latinity diverges radically from the twin archetypes glorified by the school of the Third Republic and the Vatican (both targets of Bloy's contempt), and Guyot's book is a useful corrective to images of Latinity in French literature and culture that continue to hold sway. The danger of explaining Bloy's stubborn idiosyncrasy by reference to Latin, is that it risks placing him squarely
Nineteenth Century French Studies – University of Nebraska Press
Published: Jun 28, 2005
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