Concessive Conditions in Les Liaisons dangereuses
An Elegant Construction Still in Use Today
Examples of the conditionnel concessif from Chloderlos de Laclos’s famous epistolary novel of 1782. Some involve the conditional present introduced by quand (rather than the imperfect indicative introduced by si), and some involve the imperfect subjunctive.
The French Literary Subjunctive: Uses
When an Ordinary Tense Is Not Enough
The things literary subjunctive tenses can do, both their rather unsurprising uses in secondary sequence and their more remarkable ones in conditional sentences.
The French Literary Subjunctive: Formation
Forms You Won't Want To Be Without
Excellent tips for recognizing the imperfect (and the pluperfect) subjunctive.
Là-haut sur la montagne
Aimer n'est pas un crime; Dieu ne le défend pas.
A mountain song that may put you in mind of Rousseau’s star-crossed Alpine lovers. My version of the melody is especially good if you like to yodel.
Il était un petit navire
Empêche-les de me manger!
The best of all children’s songs, full of drama, pathos, piety, humor, and with a rousing rhythm. On top of all which, it is neverending.
Pour qui ces ignobles entraves, / Ces fers dès longtemps préparés?
France’s stirring national anthem. Its “us versus them” sentiment can be (and has been) put to use in a multitude of situations.
À la claire fontaine
Je voudrais que la rose fût encore au rosier
A stroll to a favorite bathing spot turns into a lament for lost love and a meditation on what-might-have-been. With a haunting melody.