Concept

Le Ton beau de Marot

Summary
Le Ton beau de Marot: In Praise of the Music of Language is a 1997 book by Douglas Hofstadter in which he explores the meaning, strengths, failings and beauty of translation. The book is a long and detailed examination of one short translation of a minor French poem and, through that, an examination of the mysteries of translation (and indeed more generally, language and consciousness) itself. Hofstadter himself refers to it as "my ruminations on the art of translation". The title itself is a pun, revealing many of the themes of the work: le ton beau means ‘the beautiful tone’ or ‘the sweet tone’, but the word order is unusual for French. It would be more common to write le beau ton. A French speaker hearing the title spoken (lə tɔ̃ bo də ma.ʁo) would be more likely to interpret it as le tombeau de Marot; where tombeau may mean ‘tomb’ (as per the cover picture), but also tombeau, ‘a work of art (literature or music) done in memory and homage to a deceased person’ (the title is intend
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