Boris Vian discussion

Translating Boris Vian

Comments Showing 1-42 of 42 (42 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Tosh (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:30PM) (new)

Tosh | 47 comments Mod
I can't even begin to tell you how important translating a literary text is! First of all thank you Cal for your kind words about the book and Brian for bringing up the subject of 'how can you tell if the translation is good or not."

First of all translations are basically re-writing the book by another person. You can't get around that, and Vian's work, is probably one of the most difficult texts to translate.

At the moment I work with two translators: Brian Harper, who translated "L'ecume des jours (Foam of the Daze) and Paul Knobloch who worked on the other Vian texts. Besides being good prose or narrative writers, they also have a connection or understanding of Vian's work and word play. Vian was a natural crazy wit, and the translator has to be really intuned to the source and understanding of that humor. Which means they must understand the culture that Vian came from.

And what makes Vian even more difficult, is that he himself borrows from other literary works, makes comments on them, plays with them, and etc. So the translator has to be aware of Vian's sources as well.

Also Paul and Brian are huge music lunatics - and I think that helps while translating Vian as well - who was a major music figure as well as a literary writer. In other words one has to deal with the whole package or cultural luggage while translating from one language to another.

Both Foam of the Daze and Autumn in Peking have endnotes, which deals with translation issues as well as historical facts about Vian's life and times. It's not neccessary to read the endnotes as footnotes - basically it serves the same purpose as a bonus documentary on a DVD. It's there if you want to dig more into the world of Vian.

But yeah, even the translation issues of War and Peace is fascinating to me. For instance what version did the translators work from, etc.?

My versions are very complete and comes from the annotated editions that came out recently from France. Also the Vian family approved the translated texts as well.

I will write more on this subject shortly!

message 2: by Kimley (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:31PM) (new)

Kimley | 11 comments There's some really heated debates going on over at the NY Times War & Peace blog regarding the art of translation...

I personally feel torn over the issues of accuracy and beautifully written prose. What if the original text isn't very graceful in its prose? (not an issue of course with the Vian books!) Do you want to know that or do you prefer a translation that may be written better than the original? This seems to be a big part of the debate re: War and Peace.

And Brian I'm sure you'll laugh at knowing that when you told me the P&V translations were much heralded, I myself, being just as sceptical as you, immediately e-mailed a good friend of mine whose sister is a Russian professor at the University of Virginia to see what she thought. I'm happy to report that she very much approves!

And now, I think it's time to go crank up the ol' pianocktail!

message 3: by Tosh (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:31PM) (new)

Tosh | 47 comments Mod
My wife, who is Japanese, told me that "On The Road" is a terrible translation in Japanese. I think shortly there will be a new translation of the book - but for sure hurt the reputation of that particular title. On the other hand, "Cather in the Rye" is supposed to have a superb translation and of course is a classic in Japan.

So like anywhere else a great translation on a fantastic book is equally important as the original text.

Right now my press (or I should say Paul Knobloch) is working on the translation of Gilles Verlant's biography on Serge Gainsbourg. Verlant's prose style is easy to translate, but when you have to translate Gainsbourg's lyrics.... it's very difficult. At one time I wanted to do a whole book of Gainsbourg's lyrics translated into English. To this day I am having a hard time finding the right person to do the work - because Gainsbourg is such a literate lyricist - sort of in the Cole Porter but mixed with Dylan and Rimbaud - and maybe Gainsbourg is better than all those others!

Paul, my translator, feels that Gainsbourg is the best songwriter in the 20th Century - just the lyrics alone. But to translate them is ....extremely difficult. I have seen some samples of works done in English, but they're too literal - almost if someone just got the French dictionary out.

message 4: by brian (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:31PM) (new)

brian   ah, kimley, if only the pianocktail were real...

last night i'd have played sinatra's Wee Small Hours... (whoooosh! here comes a Manhattan), while right now i think i'd bang out some Little Richard (a Mimosa)...

accuracy vs. lyricism: it's a difficult question, and that's what i was trying to get at with cal... i think i'd prefer a more accurate translation than one in which the translator improves on the writing. for example: if philip larkin (perhaps, my favorite poet) decided to translate, say, Journey to the End of the Night (with the intention of improving on it), i'd consider it a wasted task. i read celine for celine, yeah?

now, by accuracy i don't mean word-for-word. that can end up being less accurate than intended... but retaining the spirit of the original, the spirit of the prose, the rhythm, the pacing, the structure, etc... from what paul says about vian, this is his motive in translation... but i read, far too often, that 'the translation is great' and have to believe it's someone appreciating the prose and wishing to sound smarter!

btw: just hit page 600 of War and Peace and losing my goddamned mind. tolstoy or volokhonsky, i really don't care: this is some serious shit.

message 5: by Kimley (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:31PM) (new)

Kimley | 11 comments Brian, I'm pretty much with you as far as wanting accuracy - if a writer's style is stilted, I want to experience that for better or worse. And interestingly I think this has been the main issue with a lot of the people who have been complaining about the P&V translation of War & Peace. They aren't happy with the style of the writing versus earlier translations. This is what my friend's sister (Russian prof) had said....

"I absolutely approve. It doesn't always mean that they "read easier" to the American ear, which is kind of used to a Jane Austinish diction for 19th century novels, but in most cases a) they really do read easier and more smoothly and b) in all cases, the actual diction, the way the prose is structured in Russian, the layers of dialect, etc. is much much much better rendered by P&V than by any previous translators."

So, I think Tolstoy's writing style may not be quite the style that people expect/want in their 19th century novels. He was a maverick after all!

Oh, and it's interesting that you brought up Celine as he was notoriously very poorly translated for years. Mostly due to trying to sanitize it. Now that's a true horror!

And to bring it back to Vian. I tried reading Foam in French but the complicated word play was far too difficult for my "schoolgirl French" but the original French definitely has a musical quality that I think the TamTam editions pick up really well. Vian is a writer who definitely could never be translated completely "accurately" - it takes an enormous amount of creativity on the translator's part to come up with equivalent word plays. So the accuracy needs to come out much more in a feeling - the sense of playfulness and musicality. And I think Tosh is completely right, especially with a writer like Vian, that the translator has to encompass the whole package - has to really know everything about the writer and his milieu. The translator has to be a contemporary Boris Vian if you will!

message 6: by brian (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:31PM) (new)

brian   yeah, i've actually recommended to tosh that after this round of books, he should consider new translations of Celine and/or Genet. they'd be great additions to the tamtam roster, huh?

thanks for your friend's input. i have always wondered if the Jane Austenish diction (i love that) was how the 19th century russians wrote or if it was their most known english translator, constance garnett. from all i've heard, i believe it was the latter. this War and Peace flies! seriously. it reads extremely contemporary but not at all anachronous. i'm actually amazed by how simply and cleanly tolstoy writes, while managing to pack so much in there. it's extraordinarily easy-to-read prose compared to many of his contemporaries...

back to foam: have you met paul? you need to ask him about how he chose certain words and names that have no exact parallel in english. very interesting...

message 7: by Tosh (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:31PM) (new)

Tosh | 47 comments Mod
I oftern talk to Lun*na (my wife from Japan - and no it's not a Deep Purple song title! But for the sake of others reading this ...) when she tells me that a book in Japanese is a great translation - she means that the Japaense translator has captured the vision or style of their subject matter. Another book Lun*na admires is Richard Hell's novel "Go Now." According to her it is a beautiful translation because she really captures the feeling of NYC in the late 70's as well as the writing style. And in this point of time, Lun*na pretty much understands American culture - so she can read that information in another's translation of a particular American narrative.

Hell mentioned that he knows the translator and is a good friend of his - so she (the translator) knows Hell's world pretty well.

I usually think of the term "good translation" when I read poetry. I have read French poetry and I just know ithe translation is not right! It can be either a phrase or the 'poetic' quality just doesn't jell.

And some of the early Penguin translations are really weird - because they are so British! For instance when you are reading a book that takes place in Spain or was written in the 1800' s - you just know that they didn't use phrases like "Hey Chap." That destroys that 'Spanish' feeling for sure!

message 8: by Tosh (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:31PM) (new)

Tosh | 47 comments Mod
I would ask Paul (the Vian translator) to join this list, but I don't want him to stop working on the Gainsbourg text! I am a bastard as a publisher!

Do you think Genet or Celine need new translations? It's funny you brought it up because Paul has expressed interest in translating both writers. As far as I know he never read the English translations. But he really loves both writers!

Grove Press and New Directions as far as I know owns the English rights to Genet and Celine - so that is why I don't go for those titles. On the other hand if they do decide to do a new translation (meaning the publishers) Paul would be perfect for the job. I really think he is an exceptional talent.

I do know that when he comes upon a word or name that can't be translated - it's sweating buckets! But I feel he always comes through. Usually we talk it out, and so far, he has never been wrong.

Also as some of you know there has been British translations of both Heartsnatcher and L'Ecume des jours - and Paul and I both feel that Vian is served more faithfully in the American English language. One, because Vian really loved American pop culture - and this is not saying anything bad about the British translation - it is just a matter of opinion. But yes, I do feel Vian is more suitable for the American Englsh language.

message 9: by Kimley (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:31PM) (new)

Kimley | 11 comments Tosh, you sure do crack the whip! And you know it would be fun to have Paul here. Get him to finish that book soon so we can pester him with translation/Vian questions.

As for what to translate next... gee, Tosh, guess what I'm going to say... Fantomas!!!!!!

The English speaking world needs access to Fantomas in a big way.

message 10: by Tosh (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:31PM) (new)

Tosh | 47 comments Mod
Do you think Fantomas needs a new translation? Penguin just re-issued an edition that came out in the 80's. I have both the original English edition (from 1915?) as well as the new one. I read them both and for sure the new edition was edited differently than the original - but can't remember the details of both editions.

I saw Paul give a lecture on translations and it was a fascinating talk. He did it for a translation class. Remarkable talent that boy! I was lucky to meet Paul and Brian Harper at the right time and moment. These things just happens!

message 11: by Kimley (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:31PM) (new)

Kimley | 11 comments Well, the first Fantomas installment doesn't really need a new translation (and the second installment while out of print isn't difficult to come by used in English) but the 30+ subsequent books definitely need to be translated! I don't think they've been translated or available in English in a really, really long time - like maybe since the 30's. I've read several of the other books in French and they are great!!!

message 12: by Kimley (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:31PM) (new)

Kimley | 11 comments And Tosh, I think it would be great to publish the Fantomas books as small books with cheap paper and pulp-looking covers. In France they used to be available from Livre de Poche (pocket books) and they were small and literally fit in your pocket. As much as I respect a lot of pulp fiction, it kinda annoys me to see it all gussied up in shiny pretty covers. I want something I can put in my pocket and take on the subway!

message 13: by Paige (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:32PM) (new)

Paige | 5 comments Hey Tosh. My first post to a Goodreads group has to be in honor of M. Vian.

The whole question of translations fascinates me, and I thought Cal nailed how a reader "knows" if a translation resonates. One of my favorite horror stories with a translation comes from Madame Bovary. In one horrible edition, characters say things like, "No way." Yikes.

The Genet translations available in paperback are actually quite good. But Celine... that might be worth looking into.

message 14: by Tosh (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:32PM) (new)

Tosh | 47 comments Mod
Paige it is great to have you here! I am curious, what do you think of the Celine translations?

message 15: by Kimley (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:32PM) (new)

Kimley | 11 comments Tosh, I think the Ralph Mannheim translations of Celine are generally considered pretty good. The poor translations I mentioned earlier were previous translations as Celine was very poorly translated for a long time (up until 1983 for Journey) - cleaning up the language and eliminating his staccatto, fast-paced style for something considered more "literary". I first read Journey right after the new Mannheim translation came out and I remember my professor made a BIG deal about it and was very happy with the translation.

I think there may be a few Celine books that Mannheim hasn't translated - those may be worth looking into.

message 16: by Tosh (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:32PM) (new)

Tosh | 47 comments Mod
Besides the two Mannheim translations I have heard that Celine is really out there with the racism. I never read the other books. I think they are published by Dalkey Archive. I was told that they were tough going. Brian have you read these books?

message 17: by Paige (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:32PM) (new)

Paige | 5 comments It's been a while since I've read Celine and would like to reread Journey. I've never read the translations but always heard that they were only so-so. And yes, he was definitely into the fascism thing. So strange.

Have you ever looked into Huysmans? He was an amazing author, and his works could stand new translation. Of course, he's not quite in the same era as Vian.

message 18: by Kimley (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:32PM) (new)

Kimley | 11 comments Celine is about as politically incorrect as one person could get. He was racist, misogynistic and every other rotten thing you could think of. And he wrote some very nasty anti-semitic, pro-Nazi pamphlets during the war that the French are so embarrassed by that they've got them locked in a vault so nobody can read them.

Why do I love his work? Because under all that, he has an incredibly powerful understanding of mankind at its worst and by default at its best. His writing style is so full of life and exuberant that my heart pounds when I read him. And he is so hysterically funny that I literally laugh out loud.

Journey and Death on the Installment plan are definitely his best works and I haven't read all of his work yet as I kept waiting until my French was good enough... but of everything that I have read, nothing has disappointed.

message 19: by Tosh (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:32PM) (new)

Tosh | 47 comments Mod
Paige, once you start reading 'Foam of the Daze" you will notice the Huysmans touch. I love 'Against Nature' and I think Vian loved his work as well.

Celine needs to be looked over again!

message 20: by brian (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:32PM) (new)

brian   tosh: as with kimley i've only read Journey and Death... and they are both utterly evil and tragic and fantastic. two of my all-time favorites. i really do need to plunder this guy's entire body of work.

paige: i kind of hate you. i must admit that. to be able to read Celine in the original? ah... i'm very very jealous. i really hate myself. :-(

message 21: by Kimley (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:32PM) (new)

Kimley | 11 comments Brian, don't hate yourself so much. I studied French in high school, as an undergrad and a grad student and still have a rough time getting through Celine... Though he's not as difficult as Vian!

message 22: by Paige (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:32PM) (new)

Paige | 5 comments Ahhhhhhhhhh, don't hate me, Brian! Or yourself for that matter!

Like Kimley, reading certain authors like Celine is still slow going for me.

message 23: by Tosh (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:34PM) (new)

Tosh | 47 comments Mod
Who was the bad translator of Celine's work? I have heard rumors that the British edition of Death on an Installment Plan is slightly different. Well, the British title is "Death on Credit, ' or something like that.

And speaking of the devil it is often that the same translation of a work may have two separate English titles. The decision is usually made by the British or American publisher.

message 24: by Jason (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:34PM) (new)

Jason | 4 comments The first English translator of Celine was John Marks. I have a copy, but I've never read it over the Manheim. I may try it next time I read Journey.

I saw Death on Credit, but it was in fact translated by Manheim and not Marks! Weird. I've never seen Marks's version of that book.

Here's an interesting clipping about Marks and Celine, from a translation article by Alice Kaplan:

"There is a less romantic moral to the story of Louis-Ferdinand Céline's friendship with his first English language translator, John Marks. Céline visited Marks several times in London, and helped him with the translation of Voyage au bout de la nuit and Mort à crédit in the early 1930s. In turn, Marks took him out onto the streets of London and arranged some pretty wild parties for him with English girls. The problem, it turned out, was that Céline was completely indifferent — if not intellectually opposed — to the idea of translation. For him, seeing his books come out in English was primarily a commercial venture; his correspondence with his American publishers, Little Brown, show that he was interested in sales figures to the detriment of content.[14]

In the absence of any objections by Céline, and with the encouragement of his English and American publishers, John Marks substituted polite words for Céline's gynecological and sexual vocabulary: for example, he changes the word "abortion" to "miscarriage" in Voyage. Moreover, Marks regularly corrected Céline's syntax, erasing the famous three dots and restoring Céline's sentences to something resembling normal polite English prose. What is shocking is not that Marks misunderstood Céline's revolution in prose — that was common among many of his contemporaries — but that Céline himself went along with Marks. He was more interested in having a good night on the town in London than in confronting his translator with the specificity of his language.[15] In an article on Céline's hostility towards translation, Philippe Roussin untangles the linguistic nationalism at the root of Céline's attitude.[16] In Bagatelles pour un massacre, his anti-semitic pamphlet from 1937, Céline declares war on a "robotic" style that he blames on the invasion of bad translations and the erosion of real French into what he considers a standardized, robotic, "Jewified" language [Céline's anti-Semitism is well-known]. The paradox is that he was uninterested in defending the linguistic specificity of his own language with Marks, and aided and abetted a "standardized" version of his own work. It wasn't until the 1960s, with the retranslations by Ralph Manheim, that Céline found an English language translator sensitive to his quirks and innovations.[17] So we see that while hostility between translator and author can lead to disaster, complicity can also create problems. In translation relationships — as in so many other human encounters — tact, sympathy, intimacy, and distance, are all necessary ingredients."

message 25: by Tosh (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:35PM) (new)

Tosh | 47 comments Mod
Jason, thanks for the post! I only know Ralph Manheim's translations and never ever seen the Marks translations. If I come across it I will buy it -just for collection sake.

message 26: by Jason (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:35PM) (new)

Jason | 4 comments Yeah, I've got a cool old paperback of Journey that is the Marks translation. Someday I'll compare it.

Seeing the Manheim translation of Mort a credit in a different version called Death on Credit (instead of the usual DOTIP) surprised me. I saw it in hardcover when I was at Powell's a few weeks ago.

As to the rare anti-Semitic Celine books, I have photocopies of both of them, but unfortunately my French has never been good enough to read them properly. I do hope they are translated one day, because I doubt they can be without literary merit, despite the sad anti-Semiticism.

message 27: by Jason (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:35PM) (new)

Jason | 4 comments Paige, I'm not sure it's accurate to say Celine was a fascist, although he was definitely anti-Semitic. Under threat (because of these pamphlets) in liberated France he did flee into Germany during the war, but he despised nationalism and was really not an Axis supporter, merely looking for temporary haven while things cooled down in France. He was a man without a country for a while, hated in France and in Germany. He's no saint regardless, but IMO his political situation is quite a bit different than overt fascist supporters like Heidegger or Hamsun.

message 28: by Tosh (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:36PM) (new)

Tosh | 47 comments Mod
There is a biography on Celine that looks interesting. I should pick it up, read it, and think about it. What a fascinating character. I heard the story that Ginsberg went up to his house sometime in the early 60's (?) but wasn't too.... nice.

message 29: by Kimley (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:36PM) (new)

Kimley | 11 comments Jason, where did you ever get copies of Celine's notorious anti-semitic pieces? I was actually looking on Amazon France for his books the other day and did see that one of them was available used for quite a bit of money. I would definitely be curious to see these. Are they full of his famous ellipses? I'm curious as to how his style may have changed with these pieces. He's a man of many sides...

Tosh, which bio are you referring to? I have a bio on him - can't remember right now who wrote it.

message 30: by Paige (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:36PM) (new)

Paige | 5 comments Jason, I'm definitely not an expert on Celine. But I do know that several scholars believe that he was using fascist rhetoric, even in works like Voyage. An interesting question, though.

Tosh, I would love to read a biography, too.

message 31: by Tosh (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:36PM) (new)

Tosh | 47 comments Mod
Not sure who wrote the biography, but i think it was written in France and translated into English.

Also I got the impression that Celine was a total racist, but not a nationalist at all. I guess it depends how one defines 'fascist.' For instance did he believe in a French state or a country just for the French (whatever that means)?

It seems to me that he loathe everything. Yet he was a Doctor to the poor -so go figure!

message 32: by Jason (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:36PM) (new)

Jason | 4 comments Kimley, I found those Celine texts in a university rare books dept. and made copies. I've got them put away in storage right now, or I could give more information...

message 33: by Kimley (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:36PM) (new)

Kimley | 11 comments Thanks Jason. I was just curious. I thought they were more difficult to come by than apparently they are.

Cal, I think we're all interested in the conflicts and "embarrassing" actions of Celine because it is precisely the conflicts and stupidity that run deep in all of us that make life interesting. How boring life would be if we all just had a dogged single-minded point of view that never waivered. I love seeing how people's views change, what made them change and then questioning my own view points.

I think it's clear that all of us on this thread have also "forgiven" Celine his foolishness. There appears to be a lot of respect for the man's work here. N'est-ce pas?

message 34: by Paige (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:36PM) (new)

Paige | 5 comments Well put, Kimley!

I tend to put artists -- especially writers -- on a pedestal. I mean, can you imagine writing something as good as Voyage? To find out about writers' foibles, kookiness, or obsessions makes me love them a bit more. And understand their prose a bit more.

message 35: by Caroline (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:37PM) (new)

Caroline (thebookdr) i agree with you, paige. i think also that writers can sometimes inspire a certain kind of awareness and insight with their work that clearly didn't bleed over into their personal lives; rilke has inspired all kinds of ideas about what love or enlightened living means, yet he ditched his wife and kid and holed up sniveling in all kinds of recovery spots in europe. this doesn't mean i don't live reading him- i just don't want to live the same way.

still it is fun to know they aren't perfect, either.

message 36: by Brent (new)

Brent Legault (mcnab) | 1 comments As I often do, I'm coming in late to this storyline, but I thought I'd add my deux sous anyhow.

There are at least a couple of biographies of Celine but the earliest, I think, is Voyeur Voyant, by Erika Ostrovsky. I started reading it years ago and then I got sidetracked and now it just glares at my from the shelf.

Also, I think the difference between Death on Credit and Death on the Installment Plan is simply the difference between lift and elevator or boot and trunk. Death On Credit is a more precise translation, however. (Just the title, I mean.)

And let's talk about those infamous ellipses of his. Does anybody know why they became more and more prevelant as his work progressed? There are, for example, as many periods in Castle to Castle as there are words. (Or so it seems.) Did he ever talk about his philosophe de l'ellipse?

And one more thing: my French connections assure me that N'est-ce pas? is not really used anymore. I mean, it's no longer considered good French. The same goes for Sacre-Bleu! and comme-ci, comme-ca. (Sorry, I don't know how to make a c with a cedilla on my keyboard.) But I shouldn't get picky. I guess they are probably considered good English.


message 37: by [deleted user] (new)

on the subject of translation, I know how hard it can be, and how one must know the language thoroughly to even consider making a move. I studied German for quite some time and had to do some translations on literary works and it is incredibly hard.
One of my favorite American writer, Poe, was translated by one of my favorite French poet, Baudelaire. The two had minds that were alike, tortured and sensitive to the extreme. I would say it takes a translator as talented as the author to make a decent translation. I have read many translated works that just were off and not rendering what the author had said. It certainly was a pity it actually made it to the print.

I sure enough would like to read the Vian's translations... and give my two cents! But Vian is extremely hard to read as well, and even in French, we need end notes to understand the context. So much has changed in this last century, that our young minds can't think like Vian's generation used to. And for the pianocktail...the idea came from a decadentist (end of the French Romantic movement aera) K.J. Huysmans, in one of his novel... À Rebours if i'm not mistaken (and I could because I haven't read the novel, only studied about it in a Litt. class! So do correct me if I'm wrong)

message 38: by Tosh (new)

Tosh | 47 comments Mod
And if I may add a footnote Pamela, my edition of Foam of the Daze and Autumn in Peking have endnotes describing the Vian world. It can be read after reading the main text.

And you are also correct about Vian being inspired by Huysmans. What would be really interesting and helpful if those who can speak or read bi-lingual list their favorite translations as well as what they think is really terrible.

And final question, does the Baudelaire translation of Poe read well in French?

message 39: by [deleted user] (new)

Yes Tosh, it reads really well, great minds think alike. Having read Poe in English and French alike, I have foud that Beaudelaire captured Poe's expressions quite wonderfuly.
I would really like to post my appreciations of translations on this site, however I don't beleive I actually have read novels in both Fren. and Engl. very often. I could do it for German novels, of which I have read quite a lot in the past.

message 40: by Tosh (new)

Tosh | 47 comments Mod
Oh you should Pamela, because Translations as a subject matter is very interesting to me (and i imagine others as well). Are there other translations of Poe in French?

And Vian translated Chandler's 'The Lady in the Lake" that is still in print in French. In fact it maybe the only French translation of this title.

message 41: by Boris (last edited Aug 17, 2009 02:11PM) (new)

Boris Pilsudski | 1 comments Hi Tosh! "Foam of the Daze" seems like a very strange translation for L'écume des Jours". I would think a more appropriate translation might be "The Debris of Time" or "Scumdog Days" or something along those lines which would go further towards capturing the meaning behind Vian's novel. As for translations of Poe in French, Baudelaire translated all Poe's Tales so perfectly that Poe is much more popular in France than he ever was in the US.

message 42: by Tosh (new)

Tosh | 47 comments Mod
"The Debris Of Time" is very close to "Foam of the Daze" to me. But "Foam" sounds more poetic and dreamy. "Scumdog Days" no! But again it shows how subjective translations are in literature. Fascinating! Thanks Boris for your thoughts.

back to top