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    #1

    Smile with 400,000 horsemen

    Hello. Do you have any idea why Flabert used the phrase "with 400,000 horsemen" here?
    Thank you.


    ----from Le Road Trip by Vivian Swift
    Born in Rouen in Haute Normandie in 1821, Flaubert was, by the age of 9, already complaining about living in hick country,
    being surrounded by the stupidity of his parents' provincial friends-and writing it all down. At 20, he drafted an autobiographical novel and called it Novembre,
    after the most barren and lonely month of the year. At age 22, he wrote to a friend: "I loathe it, I despise it. Oh, Attila, when wilt thou return,
    kind humanitarian, with 400,000 horsemen, to set fire to this land of trouser straps and suspenders?" At 25 he was still moaning about living a "backwater" life.

  1. bhaisahab's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: with 400,000 horsemen

    Do you know who Attila was?
    “Every miserable fool who has nothing at all of which he can be proud, adopts as a last resource pride in the nation to which he belongs; he is ready and happy to defend all its faults and follies tooth and nail, thus reimbursing himself for his own inferiority.”

    — Arthur Schopenhauer

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    #3

    Re: with 400,000 horsemen

    Oh, I thought he's one of friends of Flaubert.
    Then, this Attila is the king of the Huns who invaded Gaul?

  2. Piscean's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: with 400,000 horsemen

    Yes. His armies were very large for those times.

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    #5

    Re: with 400,000 horsemen

    Attila wasn't really the friendly type.
    Wear short sleeves! Support your right to bare arms!

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    #6

    Re: with 400,000 horsemen

    Flaubert was writing as a proto-Internet troll, expressing the belief that genocide would be good for his home province.
    I am not a teacher.

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    #7

    Re: with 400,000 horsemen

    It's a similar sentiment to John Betjeman's poem about Slough:

    Come friendly bombs and fall on Slough!
    It isn't fit for humans now,
    http://www-cdr.stanford.edu/intuition/Slough.html

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