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11 January 2012

Fortunata and Jacinta

Hello again. It's been a while, hasn't it? I'm currently defying time and mortality by reading Fortunata and Jacinta by Benito Perez Galdos, in a translation by Agnes Moncy Guillon (with occasional lookups to the Spanish Wikisource text). It's tremendously enjoyable so far, like Spanish Dickens with added sexual frankness and a believable, complex female character (possibly two - Fortunata hasn't really shown up yet).

The translation's not too irritating, either, despite being clearly American. It is annoying that place names are semi-translated, so we have for example Cuchilleros Street, rather than Calle Cuchilleros, which I'd have thought would be acceptable. There's a lot of gottens (although that's soon going to be standard UK English again). There's that funny way the Americans have of using himself as the reflexive pronoun for one. At one point Jacinta and Juan, her husband, are together:
For a while they stared at each other, each riveting his eyes on the other ... (p 72)

Here's the Spanish:
Uno y otro se estuvieron mirando breve rato, los ojos clavados en los ojos

Which reveals that the translation is not only a bit sexist, but terribly weak.

But here's the worst one. A character remembers hearing
the collectors going by, ladened with money (p 85f)

Ladened? I looked it up for examples, and found, among others, this:
It would be writer pragmatic to see it as a pursuit that pays a few century dollars a period, or swan it as a ladened reading job paid up to a few thousands if you are consenting to move it a small farther by working yearner hours on them.
Exactly.