This sentence is troubling me, especially the part comme devant un jour.

Madame de Rênal, de son côté, trouvait la plus douce des voluptés morales à instruire ainsi, dans une foule de petites choses, ce jeune homme rempli de génie, et qui était regardé par tout le monde comme devant un jour aller si loin.

(Le Rouge et le Noir, ch. 16, p. 153)

I know the last part translates to, 'who was universally regarded as someone who would one day go far.' (Translation from Oxford 1991).

I don't understand the devant un jour part. If it's an idiom, I can't find it in a search.

I'd appreciate it if someone could clarify this.

1 Answer 1


I suspect devant is what is causing trouble. It doesn't mean "in front of" here but is the present participle of the modal verb devoir.

Il devrait aller loin.

translates to:

He shall go far. (It is anticipated that he will go far)


[...] comme devant un jour aller si loin.

kind of literally translate to:

[...] as "shalling" one day go so far.

Of course, there is no such thing like shalling but I guess you got the idea.

  • That makes perfect sense. I didn't think of that. Thanks. Jan 31, 2019 at 2:56

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