Diana Manister wrote:
> Our statements are always in danger of being misinterpreted. Perhaps
> we communicate meanings of which we ourselves are unaware. Not
> everyone feels free in the mountains, for example. The Countess uses
> the pronoun "you" as if it had a fixed meaning, which it does not. She
> is making certain assumptions about language based on her social
> class. A peasant living in the mountains might feel oppressed or
> restricted. A woodsman exhausted from long hours of chopping wood
> might find her statement nonsensical.
B.C. Southam has an entry for the line "In the mountains, there you
feel free." : "in German there is a romantic and somewhat clichéd
expression with precisely this meaning." Southam doesn't indicate what
the German is but I suspect that it uses the impersonal "Mann" and
Eliot translated to use the personal "you."
Gunnar, do you know this saying?
An example of the German impersonal usage is "Mann ist was Mann ess"
which has to be more fun to use in German than the English equivalent
"You are what you eat."
As an off-topic, because of your mention of social class, it is a
shame that Marie didn't have the same stuff of her aunts, the sisters
of Empress Elisabeth.
Aunt Sophie (who had been engaged to Mad King Ludwig):
Sophie Charlotte Augustine was Duchess of Alençon and born Duchess in
Bavaria. ... Sophie died in a fire at a charity bazaar in Paris on 4
May 1897. She had refused rescue attempts, insisting that the girls
working with her at the bazaar be saved first.
Also see: http://www.parissweethome.com/parisrentals/art_uk.php?id=38
By the age of 19, Maria Sophia had been a queen, lost her kingdom,
rallied soldiers around her in the hopeless defence of a lost cause,
and had had men --even her enemies--writing reams of romantic slush
about her. She was "the angel of Gaeta" who would "wipe your brow if
you were wounded or cradle you in her arms while you died". D'Annunzio
called her the "stern little Bavarian eagle" and Marcel Proust spoke
of the "soldier queen on the ramparts of Gaeta". She was intelligent,
lovely, and headstrong; she could ride a horse and defend herself with
a sword. She was everything you could ask for--a combination of
Amazon and Angel of Mercy.
In late 1860 and early 1861, the forces of Victor Emanuel II lay siege
to the stronghold of Gaeta and eventually overcame the defenders. It
was this brief episode that gained Maria Sophia the reputation that
stayed with her for the rest of her life. She was tireless in her
efforts to rally the defenders, giving them her own food, caring for
the wounded, and daring the attackers to come within range of the
fortress cannon. She refused the chivalrous offer from the attacking
general that if she would but mark her residence with a flag, he would
make sure not to fire upon it with artillery. Go ahead and shoot at
me, she said; I will be where the men are. In one lighthearted
episode--if anything at all can relieve the horrors of a four-month
siege--she assembled the men on the seaside rampart, had them turn
around, pull down their trousers and "moon" the attacker fleet. She
was worshipped unto idolatry by her men.
Also at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maria_Sophie_of_Bavaria