Tosh's Reviews > Froth on the Daydream

Froth on the Daydream by Boris Vian
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Jun 01, 13

bookshelves: borisvian

There has been three translations of "L'ecme des jours" Brian Harper's translation "Foam of the Daze" (my press TamTam Books), "Mood Indigo" (American trans.) and this British edition translated by Stanley Chapman "Froth on the Daydream." Translations are a fascinating subject matter, because basically it is how one looks at a book and how they tell the tale in a lanugage that is suibtable for that book or culture.

Since I am the publisher, I of course nod towards Brian's translation - one because he's American who lives in Paris - and has an understanding of Vian's world and times. As well as giving the language an American tone. I think Vian's work translated into English works better with an American (English) voice due to the nature of the work. And this is not saying Vian doesn't like British literature - because he does - there is outright love for PG Wodehouse in this particular novel - but overall the love of Jazz is extremely important in Vian's work - and American English to my ears fit the material. Also Brian is a superb writer. But Chapman's translation is very interesting -for instance he drops reference to Jean-Luc Godard in the first few pages - which is not in the original by any means (since the book was written in 1946) - but the playful of the images and names is one of the charms of this novel - and for sure it is probably a monster of a book to translate in any language than French.

... Oh well, some random thoughts.
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Comments (showing 1-11 of 11) (11 new)

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Mazion Very useful thank you. I've been trying to get the best possible translation for my British musician friend.


Tosh The American English and the British English is a big issue. And on top of that I feel translation is an art more than just a practice. And I am talking specifically when one translates a creative work. A very very delicate practice for both the translator as well as the original artist/writer.


message 3: by Goji (new)

Goji Now I want to read all of the three English translations and compare. Unfortunately I can't read French, so far I have only read the Norwegian edition "Dagenes Skum" translated by Anne Elligers.


message 4: by Sarah (new)

Sarah Madden I actually focussed my uni translation dissertation on the different versions of L'ecume des jours for precisely this reason! Personally I found the wordplay in the British version to be more subtly crafted and closer to the original, but essentially, you should try to read this in the original French if you can - it is amazing!


Tosh Interesting comment Sarah. But what do you think of Chapman's re-naming one of the main characters in the book, or putting reference to Godard, etc. That i found off-putting. But still, I enjoyed reading his translation, but i still like my (Brian Harper's) translation.


Omar Spanish translate its great, but maybe is for the similarities of the lenguages , sorry about muy very bad english


Tosh Totally understandable (in English) Omar. Thanks for your commentary.


Omar is one of my favorite books ever!


Omar and the correct title would be on English of course "The foam of the days" And the title itself add a lot of meaning to the novel


message 10: by Tosh (new) - rated it 5 stars

Tosh Omar, if you read the title literary, yes it would be the foams of the days, but what is missing is the poetry - because Vian gave this a poetic title - or a pun. Therefore that is why our translation is Foam of the Daze. The British translated title is Froth on the Daydream. Both are good titles to this great novel. If we called the book foams of the days, it wouldn't be the 'proper' title for such a book.


message 11: by Omar (new) - rated it 5 stars

Omar i think tour rigth but in Spanish sounds good "La espuma de los dias" and the way the lives of the characters are inconsistent and disruptive like the foam, and they days go away so fast.


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