Guignol

French listening practice with side-by-side translation

Écouter ~ Listen

 Listening comprehension: See the links at the bottom for lessons related to the phrases in italics.

Guignol, un symbole de la culture populaire lyonnaiseGuignol, a symbol of Lyon’s popular culture
La marionnette « Guignol Â» fait partie des souvenirs d’enfance de tous les petits lyonnais. Mais Guignol est bien plus qu’une simple marionnette qui les amuse et les fait rire. Ce personnage est le symbole de Lyon et incarne l’identitĂ© lyonnaise.
Translation
The puppet "Guignol" is part of the childhood memories of all children from Lyon. But Guignol is much more than a simple puppet who amuses them and makes them laugh. This character is the symbol of Lyon and embodies Lyon’s identity.
Le personnage et la marionnette de Guignol ont été créé par Laurent Mourguet en 1808. Laurent Mourguet était un ouvrier tisserand lyonnais, autrement dit un canut. Au chômage, il décide de se reconvertir en marchand forain, puis en arracheur de dents, pour subvenir aux besoins de sa famille.
Translation
The character and puppet Guignol were created by Laurent Mourguet in 1808. Laurent Mourguet was a silk worker in Lyon, also known as a "canut." Unemployed, he decided to become a fairground seller, then a tooth extractor, to provide for his family’s needs.
Afin d’attirer de potentiels clients, il organisait des petits spectacles avec des marionnettes en reprenant le rĂ©pertoire italien (Polichinelle, Arlequin). Progressivement, il crĂ©e ses propres personnages : Gnafron puis celui qui deviendra le plus cĂ©lèbre, Guignol, qui incarne un canut lyonnais.
Translation
In order to attract potential customers, he organized little puppet shows by copying the Italian repertory (Polichinelle, Arlequin). Gradually, he created his own characters: Gnafron then the one who became the most famous, Guignol, who embodied a silk worker from Lyon.
Laurent Mourguet Ă©tait analphabète, il ne lui Ă©tait donc pas possible d’Ă©crire ses spectacles. En revanche, il improvisait facilement en fonction de l’actualitĂ© et de son Ă©tat d’esprit. A l’origine, les spectacles de Guignol ne ciblaient donc pas du tout les enfants mais plutĂ´t la population adulte en s’insurgeant de manière satirique contre les injustices subies par le petit peuple.
Translation
Laurent Mourguet was illiterate, so it was impossible for him to write his shows. However, he easily improvised according to news and his state of mind. So in the beginning, Guignol’s shows were not at all targeted toward children but rather adults by satirically rebelling against the injustices that the lower classes were subjected to.
Une version moderne de Guignol est par exemple l’Ă©mission de tĂ©lĂ©vision française de Canal + « Les Guignols de l’info Â», parfois appelĂ©e tout simplement « Les Guignols Â». Cette Ă©mission satirique de marionnettes est une parodie du journal tĂ©lĂ©visĂ©e qui caricature le monde politique, les medias, et la sociĂ©tĂ© française contemporaine. On y retrouve la mĂŞme tradition satirique et théâtrale que dans le guignol traditionnel. Cela a d’ailleurs permis Ă  l’Ă©mission d’obtenir une grande notoriĂ©tĂ© en France et Ă  l’Ă©tranger … tout comme Guignol en son temps.
Translation
A modern version of Guignol is for example the French TV show on Canal + "The News Puppets," sometimes called simply "The Puppets." This satirical puppet show is a parody of televised news that caricatures the political world, media, and contemporary French society. The same satirical and theatrical tradition is found in traditional Guignol puppetry. Moreover, this has allowed the show to earn great notoriety in France and overseas … just like Guignol during his time.
Mais le Guignol satirique d’antan est toujours vivant. Une compagnie de théâtre lyonnaise, la Compagnie des Zonzons, renoue avec la tradition guignolesque, c’est-Ă -dire satirique, tout en continuant Ă  faire des spectacles plus classiques pour les enfants.
Translation
But the satirical Guignol of yesteryear is still alive. A Lyon theater company, "The Company of Prisons," is reviving the tradition of Guignol; that is, of satire, while continuing to make more classic shows for children.
French text, sound file, and image courtesy of Think French audiomagazine. This is part of an article in the fĂ©vrier 2010 issue.Translation by LKL

 Guignol Listening comprehension

Expressions

Grammar

Questions about French?

 Ask me in the comments section below or visit the Progress with Lawless French Q+A forum to get help from native French speakers and fellow learners.
 

More Lawless French

 Subscribe to my twice-weekly newsletter.
      

Support Lawless French

  This free website is created with love and a great deal of work.

If you love it, please consider making a one-time or monthly donation.

Your support is entirely optional but tremendously appreciated.