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toute extérieure d'antan

English translation: yesteryear's purely outward appearance of fidelity

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22:47 Jan 12, 2008
French to English translations [PRO]
Social Sciences - Philosophy / Psychology, Psycho-analysis
French term or phrase: toute extérieure d'antan
HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL

I hope 2008 brings good health, happiness and greater prosperity for each one of us.

I am currently translating a catalogue of books titles, including several on philosophy and psychology, and have across this sentence. I understand each word but not the collective meaning of "... écueil du retour à la fidélité toute extérieure d'antan..." As always, thanks in advance for any assistance provided.


"L’auteur se demande si la fidélité peut encore être un idéal pour les couples d'aujourd'hui, évitant le double écueil du retour à la fidélité toute extérieure d'antan, et celui de la dissociation contemporaine d'avec l'amour."
Joy Lewis
Local time: 12:27
English translation:yesteryear's purely outward appearance of fidelity
Explanation:
not very happy with the phrasing, but here's something to get the ball rolling..
I understand that the author is saying that his examination of fidelity will try to avoid these two pitfalls, one of them being to say that society should go back to 'traditional' values (if you're married then you must be totally faithful) because in fact fidelity 'in the olden days' was pure appearance - it being tacitly accepted that men would have mistresses...

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Note added at 45 mins (2008-01-12 23:32:26 GMT)
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sorry - I just translated what's in the heading. If I stay with my original suggestion and translate what you've put in " " in your question... ".. avoiding two pitfalls, that of (arguing for) a return to yesteryear's purely outward appearance of fidelity, (or, to go with Mark's excellent suggestion " the purely outward appearance of fidelity of past times" )" and ...."
Selected response from:

katsy
Local time: 18:27
Grading comment
Thanks
3 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer

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Summary of answers provided
3 +2yesteryear's purely outward appearance of fidelitykatsy
4the erstwhile pure seeming of fidelityxxxEuqinimod
3past times' keeping up an appearance (of fidelity)
B D Finch
3going back to the days when faithfulness was purely superficialMatthewLaSon


Discussion entries: 1





  

Answers


22 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +2
yesteryear's purely outward appearance of fidelity


Explanation:
not very happy with the phrasing, but here's something to get the ball rolling..
I understand that the author is saying that his examination of fidelity will try to avoid these two pitfalls, one of them being to say that society should go back to 'traditional' values (if you're married then you must be totally faithful) because in fact fidelity 'in the olden days' was pure appearance - it being tacitly accepted that men would have mistresses...

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 45 mins (2008-01-12 23:32:26 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

sorry - I just translated what's in the heading. If I stay with my original suggestion and translate what you've put in " " in your question... ".. avoiding two pitfalls, that of (arguing for) a return to yesteryear's purely outward appearance of fidelity, (or, to go with Mark's excellent suggestion " the purely outward appearance of fidelity of past times" )" and ...."

katsy
Local time: 18:27
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 3
Grading comment
Thanks

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Mark Nathan: or "of past times" at the end
10 mins
  -> good idea! Thanks Mark :-) I was a bit unhappy about yesteryear (a bit 'twee'?) .. but my other problem was having ".. OF fidelity OF yesteryear"... and your sugg. raises the same qu. Would two OFs be too cumbersome?

agree  writeaway: ah, where are those snows....... agree with Mark that past times is perhaps better in this post-medieval context :-)
2 hrs
  -> You're right, the shadow of Villon hangs over 'yesteryear'... thanks writeaway :-)
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18 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
the erstwhile pure seeming of fidelity


Explanation:
a seeming is precisely an outward appearance which belies the facts.

xxxEuqinimod
Local time: 18:27
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in FrenchFrench
PRO pts in category: 4
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1 day2 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5
going back to the days when faithfulness was purely superficial


Explanation:
Hello,

I think "superficial" would work.

superficial = just on the surface

to the days = d'antan (times past)

pitfalls of going back to the days when...

I hope this helps.

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Note added at 1 day2 hrs (2008-01-14 01:43:37 GMT)
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back to the days when it seemed that everyone was being faithful...(but we knew that wasn't all the case)

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Note added at 1 day3 hrs (2008-01-14 02:17:13 GMT)
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the two-fold pitfall of going back to the days when faithfulness was purely superficial in addition to contemporary society's notion that fidelity is disassociated from love

MatthewLaSon
Local time: 12:27
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
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2 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5
past times' keeping up an appearance (of fidelity)


Explanation:
Further from the original but, I hope, true to the idea.

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Note added at 1 day10 hrs (2008-01-14 09:29:32 GMT)
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"Past times' keeping up of appearances" - better with "of" and the plural removes the need to repeat "fidelity".

B D Finch
France
Local time: 18:27
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 6
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