CONCOURS GÉNÉRAL DES LYCÉES – SESSION DE 1988
(Classes terminales A, B, C, D et E)
Durée : 5 heures
L’usage de tout dictionnaire est interdit
Dans le texte suivant traduire de « No wine in the saucer… » jusqu’à « … Let’s get round to business. »
« Let’s see where we are? You will get authorization, like I said. But what assurance have I that you will keep your side of the bargain? So you’ll do anything. Just to prove it – just a friendly test. Rick. Take one of the saucers and put some Dole in it. »
I waited, interested. He did nothing. …
« No wine in the saucer, no authorized biography. No letters from MacNeice, Charley Snow, Pamela, oh a whole chest full of goodies! Variant readings. The original MS of All We Like Sheep which differs so radically from the published version. Photographs, journals datmg right back to Wilt’s schooldays, the happiest days of your life. Tucker, when you get your claws into it – a placated Halliday. You will be able to get off your knees. The pearly gates will open. A modest fame. »
« Scholarship. »
« Balls. »
Heavily he reached out his hand, heavily poured Dole into one of the little saucers.
« Put in on the floor. »
For the first time in my life I saw eyes literally fill with blood. There were blood vessels in the corners and they engorged. I thought for a moment that they might burst. Then he laughed with a kind of crack and I laughed with him. I shouted yap yap at him and he shouted it back and we laughed and he put the saucer down on the floor laughing and he got on his knees having caught on and understood what was required of him. I could hear him lap it up.
« Good dog, Rick, good dog! »
He leapt to his feet and buried the saucer in my face but I knew Who I was and the saucer passed by my ear. It hit a curtain and fell to the floor. The pile of the carpet was thick enough to receive it gently. The saucer didn’t even break but rolled round in diminishing circles then fell over the right way up. Tucker collapsed in the chair. He deflated further than I have ever seen, seeming to come in on every side so that his very clothes hung on him like sails that have lost the wind. He put his face in his hands. Only then could I see that he had begun to shudder like a man in deep shock. A dog. He sat there, leaning forward, face in hands, elbows on the polished table.
I turned my attention back to the intolerance and insolently interrogated it. How’s that?
Water was coming through between his fingers. Sometimes single drops fell straight down on the polish but sometimes they would be included in the sobbing and through a shake they would be flicked out into the air and thus come halfway across to my side. His weeping became noisy. I have never heard a sound from as deep down and as hard to get out, like bone breaking up. It took the will of his body away so that he slumped, his elbows sliding back off the table, hands open on either side, cheek flat.
« Can you hear me in there? »
His hands slid off the table too. I could imagine his arms hanging straight down, knuckles perhaps on the floor, like an ape’s.
« I said, ‘Can you hear me in there?' »
« I can hear you. »
« Right. Let’s get round to business. »
He heaved himself up so that he was sitting, hunched. He didn’t look at me. Ail the same I could look at him. His face was streaming wet, eyes red, but no longer with engorgement. It was more like smears.
« Must we now? I guess I want to sleep or something. »
« Have another drink. »
« No, no! »
I looked at my paper again.
« I shall make you my literary executor, probably in association with my agent and either Liz or Emmy. Emmy, perhaps. I shall authorize you to write my biography while I am still alive but with reservations I have not yet detailed. »
Rick yawned. He really did!
« Pay attention, son! »
« Sorry. »
« After I have taken legal advice on the proper form of the document you will sign I shall communicate with you again, appointing a place for us to meet. Is that all clear? »
« Well there we are then. Remember me to Helen if and when you see her again. Give Halliday my best wishes as from one banker to another. I imagine he has a bank. »
« Quite a few. »
« Tell him to keep up the good work. A wit, your Mr Halliday. Or have I said that before? »
« Yes, sir. »
William GOLDING, The Paper Men, Faber and Faber, 1984, p. 148-151.
Lire le texte en entier et répondre en anglais aux questions suivantes:
1. What are the main characters in this passage from The Paper Men by William Golding?
2. Account for their personal relationships. Give your opinion about their handling of the situation.
3. Could this scene be adapted for one medium or another? Justify your answer.
4. Would you enjoy reading biographies such as the one in the making here?