From Le mystère de la chambre jaune (Gaston Leroux):

[U]ne terrible aventure que Joseph Rouletabille eût voulu savoir, me disait-il, oubliée pour toujours.

My first instinct was to translate eût voulu savoir [...] oubliée as "would have liked to forget" but then I realized oubliée is a past participle rather than infinitive.

My question is, is this a valid construction? And if so, I'm guessing the correct translation is "would have liked forgotten," but I don't really see how you can get that meaning from savoir.

1 Answer 1


oubliée is more of an adjective rather than a past participle in this case. The structure is perfectly correct (but uncommon), and the second translation you wrote would be the right one.

One another way to put it would be that Joseph wanted to know that his adventure has been long forgotten by others (a more literal translation).

  • This is definitely a passive participle, you could have a par Paul complement (and your own translation also suggest the same thing).
    – GAM PUB
    Commented Oct 26, 2015 at 14:24
  • Indeed, my bad. I wanted to say that it is a past participle but used as an adjective. It still is a past participle though. Thanks for noticing that !
    – Sake
    Commented Oct 26, 2015 at 17:31

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