I'm sure the writer is conveying sincere thoughts and feelings, seriously, I am not being sarcastic. But I can't seem to go through with it, because I can't find anything really related to alienation in this and I don't get it.
What annoys me and makes me so cynical to it is that the whole approach in defined in that article sounds so mainstreamly American from the title of 'Acting French' -the pun, oh god- to 'joy of learning French', it sounds like he is stuck in one of the most popcultural conflicts of American culture and a part of American identity, esp. found in a certain group and it is not alienation. It's just confirmation of a promotion of a sub culture in a greater group that is defined by a socio-political hierarchy.
You want to enjoy Rimbaud? First read it and find out if you enjoy poetry or not. Then try Rimbaud. You don't need to learn French for that because poetry is universal. On the other hand, you might get the same thing from reading something else. You don't have to love Rimbaud.
Also what is this alienating force that alienates people from another culture today that they cannot enjoy it or love some writer or a poet? (What does that even mean?) You don't need to understand Russian to enjoy Dostoyevski. You don't need to know English culture to enjoy Shakespeare. OR Ursula or Vonnegut, Faulkner by knowing American culture.
When I discovered there were things called books made of printed material, full of 'made up things' written by other people I don't know, will never know and mostly long dead, my instant feeling in reaction to read them as if they were written for me, so I could read them. That's not hubris, that's the way it happens, because you own up to your own; because there is nothing else to do. If you have never felt any curiosity or felt nothing about what has been going on in the world, with some material accessible to you as humanly possible what is this alienation you are talking about?
Does anyone know a universal piece of literature that actually counts reading which has a foreword saying 'people from outside blah blah culture please don't read it, you won't get it'? Or a book that cannnot be understood if you don't understand its original language? No, you don't, because there isn't.
Or may be I am not getting what is this all about and it is getting on my nerves. May be beause I am 'alienated'?