Sunday, October 07, 2018


Hot and Humid

Excerpt from letter by Flaubert to Louis Bouilhet (June 26, 1863), in The Letters of Gustave Flaubert 1857-1880, tr. Francis Steegmuller (Cambridge: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1982), p. 74:
I don't know whether it's hot in the Celestial Empire [Bouilhet was studying Chinese], but here the heat is one great fart-blast. Mercury plus humidity means sweat-through-clothes; underwear wringing wet; trickle-trickle between ass-cheeks; underarms, phew!; shoes hell on feet; skin scorched; air stifling, gasp-making, murderous.
The original:
Je ne sais pas si dans le Céleste Empire on a chaud. Mais ici on cassepète de chaleur, on atmosphère-habit-sue, on flanelle-mouille, on entre-fesson-coule, on aisselle-pue, on botte-gêne-pieds, on peau-cuit, on étouffe, on râle, on crève!

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