The question is on the highlighted sentence in this passage from La porte étroite by André Gide.

Sans doute imaginez-vous aisément avec quels transports de joie je lus cette lettre, et avec quels sanglots d’amour. D’autres lettres suivirent. Certes Alissa me remerciait de ne point venir à Fongueusemare, certes elle m’avait supplié de ne point chercher à la revoir cette année, mais elle regrettait mon absence, elle me souhaitait à présent ; de page en page retentissait le même appel. Où pris-je la force d’y résister ? Sans doute dans les conseils d’Abel, dans la crainte de ruiner tout à coup ma joie et dans un raidissement naturel contre l’entraînement de mon cœur.


How should I parse it? Is it one of the following? If not, what?

  1. à présent simply means now and qualifies souhaitait. Thus her hoping for me is taking place now.

  2. présent means presence as opposed to absence. Thus, it is somehow part of what she hopes, for example, she hopes for my being present.


Translations didn't help.

Felix Paul Greve seems to have taken parsing 1 above:

... aber es tat ihr leid, daß ich nicht da war, sie sehnte sich jetzt nach mir; von Seite zu Seite hallte derselbe Ruf.

Maria Honeit, parsing 2:

... aber sie bedauerte, daß ich nicht da war, es verlangte sie nach meiner Gegenwart, auf jeder Seite spürte man diesen Ruf.

Dorothy Bussy dismisses à présent:

... but she regretted my absence, she wanted me; from page to page there sounded the same appeal.

As an aside, it seems all three translations are cranking up souhaiter to something more definite or desperate.

Unrelated: This earlier question of mine is still (essentially) unanswered. I would be very grateful if someone took a crack at it.

  • Please, edit your question, and provide translations if you use a 3rd language, like German, because most of the people here speak at least French and English, but with additionnal languages, not everyone can read your question.
    – Quidam
    Commented Dec 18, 2016 at 7:38
  • @PERCE-NEIGE But that's why the quotes are relegated to a BACKGROUND section. They are not part of the question (don't need to be read to answer the question). And the whole point of the translations is to show how other people have interpreted the original passage (here, to show that they too seem to have had trouble with it). But if I were to translate the translations, then the result would no longer be Greve's or Honeit's interpretation. If anyone simply wanted to know what those 3rd language passages said, why, they would translate back into Gide's original.
    – Catomic
    Commented Dec 18, 2016 at 9:51
  • On lira avec intérêt l'entrée pour présent (voir I.C. loc. adv.), au TLFi...
    – user3177
    Commented Dec 19, 2016 at 5:53

1 Answer 1


Gide really means "now", insisting on the difference with her past attitude.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.