The great and the good

From: Ritz and Escoffier: The Hotelier, The Chef, and the Rise of the Leisure Class (2018), by Luke Barr:

(1896-97) The Place Vendome was a wide and austere square – there were no trees – in the middle of which stood the Vendome column, with its statue of Napoleon on top. (There had been many statues of military leaders on the column over the years.) Ritz had seen the original column torn down in the spring of 1871 by the Paris Commune, who saw it as a symbol of war. He had been working as a waiter during the Siege of Paris, but made his way back to Switzerland soon after. The column had been rebuilt a few years later.”

“Number 15 Place Vendome was perfect. It was also expensive…

…Ritz was scrambling, calling on possible investors in Paris, when he remembered his friend Louis-Alexandre Marnier Lapostolle. He was the inventor of an orange cognac liqueur called Curaçao Marnier, which Ritz had immediately ordered for the Savoy. More important, Ritz had proposed a new name for the product: Grand Marnier, “a grand name for a grand liqueur.” At the time, everything was being called “petit” – “Le petit journal,” “Le petit cafe,” “Le Petit Palais.” Grand Marnier went brashly against this convention, and was hugely successful.”

From Wikipedia:

Le Grand Meaulnes is the only novel by French author Alain-Fournier, who was killed in the first month of World War I. The novel, published in 1913, a year before the author’s death, is somewhat biographical.

The title, pronounced [lə ɡʁɑ̃ moln], is French for “The Great Meaulnes”. The difficulties in translating the French grand (meaning big, tall, great, etc.) and le domaine perdu (“lost estate/domain/demesne”) have led to a variety of English titles, including The Wanderer, The Lost Domain, Meaulnes: The Lost Domain, The Wanderer or The End of Youth, Le Grand Meaulnes: The Land of the Lost Contentment, The Lost Estate (Le Grand Meaulnes) and Big Meaulnes (Le Grand Meaulnes).

It inspired the title of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel, The Great Gatsby. Despite this similarity, French translators struggled the same way to render the word “great”, and chose Gatsby le magnifique (literally Gatsby the Magnificent).”

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