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While reading "Louis Pasteur" by Margaret Avery,I am having difficulty in understanding this statement:

"...Placed under the patronage of a name doomed henceforward to execration by my country, that of Rex Guilemus" Louis Pasteur(Franciscan) wrote this to Uni. of Bonn when war broke out between France and Germany.

I tried literal translation but could not figure out.

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    What words do you not understand?
    – John Feltz
    Jan 10, 2017 at 17:25
  • I googled meanings of words but I couldn't make out meaning of the sentence in this context.
    – Saqeeb
    Jan 10, 2017 at 17:27
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    Could you please add more context from the book? I can understand the general meaning from this fragment, but I would like to give a complete answer.
    – Andrew
    Jan 10, 2017 at 18:14
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    "Rex Gulielmus" is Latin for "King William", the German Kaiser Wilhelm who was educated at Bonn in his youth and apparently became the University's official patron upon becoming Emperor. Jan 10, 2017 at 18:35
  • The actual sentence presents a quote, and says that that Louis Pasteur wrote this to the University of Bonn when war broke out between France and Germany, and Louis Pasteur was Franciscan. Are you asking what the quote means? Dec 12, 2018 at 20:42

5 Answers 5

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I found the context of the above phrase in

Journal of the Chemical Society. Transactions. Vol. LXXI Part I, 1897. p. 727.

After referring to the fact that he had framed the diploma and hung it up in his study, he says:

"To-day, the sight of this parchment is odious to me, and I feel offended at seeing my name, with the qualification of virum clarissimum which you have bestowed upon it, placed under the patronage of a name doomed henceforward to execration by my country, that of Rex Guilelmus."

In context, "Rex Guilelmus" refers to Emperor Wilhelm II of Germany. Diplomas of that time often used Latin. What Pasteur means is, he is offended that the diploma is signed by Wilhelm, or that it states his endorsement of the university (of Bonn), implying that he (Pasteur) is approved of by ("under the patronage of") Wilhelm, whose country has attacked France, and Wilhelm is therefore hated by the French people.

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  • This is right. minor point: it was Wilhelm I not II.
    – smatterer
    Dec 13, 2018 at 4:31
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In this instance, the man Louis Pasteur is a Frenchman who has received an honorary doctorate from a German university. However war between Germany and France has just broken out, and so he feels uncomfortable with being honored by an institution of a rival nation, something that other French might see as negative, or an indication of disloyalty.

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Say that the name doomed henceforward to execration by my country, was a well-known German. It means the name might likely be heavily criticised or disdained by Pasteur's fellow country-men. He would want to be recognised by his fellow French, and might not like being admired by the enemy of his country.

Oh and the writing is not clear in terms of modern writing. It was likely perfectly understandable when it was written.

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"...Placed under the patronage of a name doomed henceforward to execration by my country, that of Rex Guilemus" Louis Pasteur(Franciscan) wrote this to Uni. of Bonn when war broke out between France and Germany.

We have two quasi-passive predicative complements there, formed with the past participles of verbs (place, doom):

placed under the patronage of a name

doomed henceforward to execration by my country

and two metonyms:

name (meaning "notable person") and country (meaning "fellow citizens")

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He is offended to see his name on a document approved by a German emperor, whom his country men hate and criticize. As Pasteur was a patriot so he felt like he was under patronage of that name which he wanted not.

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