Jules Verne, précurseur de Zazie?

There is undeniably a certain form a humor in the books of Jules Verne, but of a rather inoffensive kind, and the distracted geograph Paganel would probably be dismissed rather curtly by such a lively girl as Queneau’s Zazie. Nevertheless, while re-reading Les enfants de Capitaine Grant, I found a magnificent sentence that, I think, even Zazie would approve:

Les petits garçons et les petites filles, plus rageuses surtout, s’administraient des taloches superbes avec un entrain féroce.
(Les enfants du Capitaine Grant, 2ème partie, Chapitre XVI)

This is basically untranslatable; the literal meaning is something like

The boys and girls, even fiercer, exchanged superb blows with extreme alacrity.

but English words fail me to convey the finer meaning of taloche

And I was reading this book because, believe it or not, Jules Verne is now a Pléiade author! Of course, grudgingly, since only four of his novels were deemed worthy of this supreme honor of French letters. In addition to Les enfants…, we have 20000 lieues sous les mers and L’île mystérieuse, a trilogy, and Le sphinx des glaces, but obviously some strong reactionary faction must have resisted any attempt in adding De la terre à la lune, or Kéraban le Têtu, or Hector Servadac, or…

I also had not realized before the embarrassing chronological problems of the trilogy: Les enfants… happens in 1864–1865; 20000 lieux… begins in 1866; but then L’île mystérieuse, which is supposed to take place twelve years after the first part, begins in 1865…

What would Bertie Wooster say?

I once surprised a noted English number-theorist by asking him a burning question that had been on my mind for a long time: “Do students of Cambridge and Oxford still steal policemen’s helmets on Boat Race Night, as in a Wodehouse novel?”

Apparently, a reveler decided to interrupt the race itself today, which I think would have been met with a decided “Tut tut” from even the stiffest-upper-lipped of the Woosters.

Neils Bohr

What does it say about the state of science publishing when the paperback edition of a popular science book, appearing two years after the hardback edition with glowing blurbs, published by Oxford University Press, written by an actual physicist who is also an OBE, etc, etc, speaks of “Neils Bohr” at least three times in 70 pages?