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1 week ago
We expect poetry to be rich in words (Shakespeare uses something like 30,000), whereas Racine is parsimonious (he uses around 3,000).
Thirlwell quotes a single sentence from Eleanor Marx-Aveling's translation of Bovary, and offers his own improvement. Her sentence is: 'Emma leant forward to see him, clutching the velvet of the box with her nails.' His goes: 'Emma leaned forward to see him, scrunching with her nails the plushness of her box.' He adds, 'It isn't perfect; but it's a start.'Well, far from perfect. As Mars-Jones points out, 'scrunching' is just wrong.
The novelist's subject is always real life. But real life doesn't exist. It only exists when it has been embodied in a style.Which is either nonsense or needs a lot more explanation. And we saw his utter misuse of the word 'literal' and now that I think of it, to describe OuLiPo as 'tricksy' in a fairly dismissive way is at best inadequate.
The first sentence of Queneau's story "Anglicismes" sounds, in his Franglais, like this: "Un dai vers middai, je tèque le beusse et je sie un jeugne manne avec une grète nèque et un hatte avec une quainnde de lèsse tressés." But in Wright's Englench, because it is a literal translation, this story is now called "Gallicisms", and its first sentence sounds like this: "One zhour about meedee I pree the ohtobyusse and I vee a zhern omm with a daymoorzuray neck and a shappoh with a sorrt of plaited galorng."
A novelist who thinks only about novels in his or her own language is no more a novelist, I think, than one who doesn't think about other novelists at all.One translation I have read is Gilbert Adair's A Void, the brilliant rendering of Georges Perec's La Disparition, in which the phrase "un mauvais roman" is translated as "a Dick Francis". Somehow this is OK - so why am I upset when someone translates "cien metros" as "a hundred yards"? Translation theory looks like more fun than you might imagine.
Pound believed in the Great Man theory of history - and he was one of the Great Men.Actually, it's pretty useless as a review. The reviewer has his own axe to grind, but I get no real idea of what line the book takes. The most useful part is the factual statement (or warning) that the book has 976 pages.
Sei que me espera qualquer coisa
Mas não sei que coisa me espera.
Como um quarto escuro
Que eu temo quando creio que nada temo
Mas só o temo, por ele, temo em vão.
O mistério da morte a mim o liga
Ao brutal fim do meu poema.
I know that some thing waits for me
But I don't know what thing waits for me.
Like a dark room
That I fear when I believe I fear nothing
But just to fear it means I fear in vain.
The mystery of death for me is linked
To the brutal end of my poem.