The Readers Review: Literature from 1714 to 1910 discussion

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The Musketeers Project > The Musketeers Project - General Info

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message 1: by Robin P, Moderator (last edited Aug 14, 2020 04:28PM) (new)

Robin P | 2213 comments Mod
We will start in September 2020 reading the D'Artagnan Romances or Musketeer Series. These include The Three Musketeers, Twenty Years After, Ten Years Later, The Vicomte de Bragelonne, Louise de la Valliere, and The Man in the Iron Mask. The last 4 are often published in different configurations, sometimes under different names. The first 2 books have been recently translated to very good reviews by Lawrence Ellsworth. It looks like additional volumes by him will be coming out, using different titles altogether! We will be sure to clarify editions as we go along. To begin, any translation will do, as chapters should be the same, as long as it isn't a Young People's Edition, which leaves out some of D'Artagnan's amorous adventures!


message 2: by Francis (new)

Francis | 25 comments I see in one list "The Red Sphinx" is the direct sequel to The Three Musketeers. Anyone have any thoughts on that?


message 3: by Anne (new)

Anne | 93 comments I own a copy, but I have not read it yet. I've read The Three Musketeers 3 times, and I've read the next three once each, but I was waiting to read The Red Sphinx until I had finished the others.


message 4: by Robin P, Moderator (new)

Robin P | 2213 comments Mod
Good question. I did read The Red Sphinx. The problem is that there are no musketeers in it. Cardinal Richelieu is the title character. It was rediscovered recently. The version I had was unfinished and instead there was an unrelated story tacked on. If anyone else has an opinion, feel free to comment.


message 5: by Emma (new)

Emma Ruppell Hi, this is my first time joining the group for a "read", though I'll just be following along mostly. Already much enjoying looking at the chapters discussion. Don't have the time for a proper re-read, but read the whole series about 10 years ago, now all on the shelf here. Thanks for choosing these books!


message 6: by Robin P, Moderator (new)

Robin P | 2213 comments Mod
Emma wrote: "Hi, this is my first time joining the group for a "read", though I'll just be following along mostly. Already much enjoying looking at the chapters discussion. Don't have the time for a proper re-r..."

Thanks for joining us! Feel free to chime in even if you aren't reading again.


message 7: by Frances, Moderator (new)

Frances (francesab) | 1880 comments Mod
I'm along for the ride as well!


message 8: by Robin P, Moderator (new)

Robin P | 2213 comments Mod
Great! It's not too late if anyone wants to jump in, as it's a fast read and most of us at least know some of the characters and story.


message 9: by Ana (new)

Ana (__ana) | 158 comments Is everyone reading the Lawrence Ellsworth translation?

I have the William Robson and the Lowell Bair versions.
They are so different; it’s like reading a different book.


message 10: by Frances, Moderator (last edited Sep 29, 2020 07:33PM) (new)

Frances (francesab) | 1880 comments Mod
I’m reading the LE edition-it had great reviews as a translation so I forked out for a copy-its a very chunky book with lots of illustrations!


message 11: by Robin P, Moderator (new)

Robin P | 2213 comments Mod
I have no idea which translations I've read in the past. The Ellsworth one generally seems to be pretty faithful to the French, which I am checking periodically.


message 12: by Hedi (new)

Hedi | 978 comments I have also read the William Robson translation in a Borders Classics edition.
I must admit that I did not get through the book as easily as I did The Count of Monte Cristo which I had as an Everyman’s Library edition. It felt like a totally different reading/ author, which I thought might be due to the translation, especially as Umberto Ecco praised Dumas’ s writing of the Musketeers over The Count of Monte Cristo in his introduction to my Everyman’s Library edition.

Might it be so “bad”? 😢


message 13: by Jenny (new)

Jenny | 128 comments I’ve got the Jacques Le Clercq translation (Modern Library edition). Haven’t read French since high school so can’t compare the quality of translation. But modern library usually knows what they are doing.


message 14: by Anne (new)

Anne | 93 comments I am reading the Lowell Bair version. I have 2 other translations, but this is my favorite of the 3. I don't know any French, so I can't comment on how faithful it is.


message 15: by Ana (new)

Ana (__ana) | 158 comments I downloaded a few samples on my Kindle and I read parts of chapter 4 in a few different translations. Here is a sample:

Lowell Bair
“Allow me to point out to you, sir,” Aramis interrupted, “that your conduct just now was ungallant.”

William Robson
“Ah, monsieur,” interrupted Aramis, “permit me to observe to you that you have not acted in this affair as a gallant man ought.”

Lawrence Ellsworth
"Monsieur," interrupted Aramis, "permit me to observe that you have not behaved in this matter as a man of good breeding should have."

Richard Pavear
"Ah! Monsieur," Aramis interrupted, "allow me to observe to you that in this circumstance you have by no means acted as befits a gallant man."

Lord Sudley
"Sir," interrupted Aramis, "allow me to point out that your behaviour just now was not that of a gentleman."


message 16: by Robin P, Moderator (new)

Robin P | 2213 comments Mod
Thanks, that's very interesting. The French is

"Ah, monsieur, interrompit Aramis, permettez-moi de vous faire observer que vous n'avez point agi en cette circonstance comme un gallant home le devait faire"

Literally, "Ah, sir/monsieur," interrupted Aramis, "permit me to make you observe that you have not acted in this circumstance the way a gallant man should do it" - of course that is not how anyone would say it, I just wanted to put all the words in. I would say that those who translate "point out" are more accurate than those (including Ellsworth) who translated "observe" because Aramis wants d'Artagnan to observe it. I think the first example above also changed the meaning a bit just by changing the order of words, and that it is better that the sentence start as an actual interruption - Ah, sir, etc.

I don't know how much Dumas tried to add flourishes to the speech of his characters to show they were from a more formal age. Aramis seems the most likely to speak in formal, educated phrases. The one by Lord Audley seems the most conversational, but is that the effect Dumas was going for? I still remember from the adapted book I read as a child, how in Chapter 1 d'Artagnan says to his unknown assailant in Meung, "Turn, Turn, Master Joker, lest I strike you from behind". A more "modern" phrasing would be something like, "Turn around, Mr. Joker, or I'll hit you from behind", but that seems flat in comparison.

Literary translation is a really difficult task even for native speakers and for straightforward writers like Dumas, as some phrases and words don't have exact matches.


message 17: by Ana (new)

Ana (__ana) | 158 comments Thank you, Robin.
I know only a few words in French, but I knew something was missing in my translation. Something of the general tone gets lost (if that makes sense). A certain je ne sais quoi.
I remember there being more humor in the book when I first read it. I thought maybe I remembered it wrong. Looking at the Bulgarian translation some sections really are much funnier - something about the choice of words. It almost changes the personalities of the characters. (Aramis is more polite & likable and Athos is more sarcastic.)
I do prefer some chapters in English.
I like how the William Robson translation feels more formal but in certain sections of the book the language just seems so ‘heavy’. I think maybe Robson imitates the French sentence structure and that’s why it’s somewhat unnatural sounding in English.
I can see how reading this translation can be off-putting for a first time reader.
The Lowell Bair translation is very easy to read, but most of the dialogue in it feels almost too modern.
Something between the two would be ideal.
:)


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