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Ex Uno Plures: Global French in, on and of the Rue Morgue and the Orient Express

  • Alistair Rolls EMAIL logo
From the journal arcadia


In the following paper, Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” and Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express are considered, and compared, as exemplars of what Andrea Goulet has labelled “Global French,” which is to say that both texts convey non-English, and especially French, language use through their own original English. Both texts will be shown to be born in, stage, and depart from primal linguistic scenes: the Babelian confusion of Poe’s multiple foreign witnesses will be embodied in the impediments that keep them from the scene of the crime; in Christie’s case, the multilingual investigation on board the Orient Express will stand in place of stilted and curtailed conversation held, in the Global French of Christie’s English, on the platform of another train. As sites of original translation and communicative excess and failure, these classic texts are about language first and crime second; indeed, the murder on Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express embodies taking place but, ultimately, does not take place at all.

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Published Online: 2018-06-05
Published in Print: 2018-06-04

© 2018 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston

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