Special occasionally extra-spooky Halloween links for you, dear readers! Boo!
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Special occasionally extra-spooky Halloween links for you, dear readers! Boo!
The Drew Friedmanizer can be a cruel mistress. Ladies and gentlemen, the Wall Street Journal‘s hedcut for Hugh Grant:
Man, has he let himself go. (Okay, not really.)
I bought a UBS microphone in June 2006, so it’s clear that I intended to start a podcast more than four years ago. I’m just getting around to it now because I’m lazy. I’m pretty sure that boat had already sailed on this form back then, so now maybe it’s retro-hip or something.
Anyway, this installment is really just a proof-of-concept: some intro music, then a little literary reading from a wonderful book, followed by an explanation/apology. I just wanted to figure out how to edit and assemble audio clips in Garage Band. Next time out, I’ll work on mastering my voice-recording better. Also, I’ll work on sounding less wraith-like.
Once the technical stuff is ironed out, I hope to put together some good content for you, in the form of interviews/conversations, readings from favorite books, essays and/or poems, and maybe an accordion performance or two, once I learn how to play that instrument.
For the second straight year, no team-by-team breakdown or NBA preview for you! I just don’t give enough of a crap about pro hoops anymore. Last year’s explanation holds up pretty well, especially when you add the silliness of the “Super Best Friends” gang assembling in Miami.Â I’m sure I’ll catch some games when there’s nothing else going on, but eh. Check back during the playoffs.
These are my only observations:
What I’m watching: Leaves of Grass, plus some football, some baseball, and Bored To Death and Eastbound & Down.
What I’m drinking: I’m outta limes, so I went with Amy’s gluten-free alternative: Bard’s sorghum malt beer.
Where I’m going: Nowhere! Why? You got somewhere you think I should go?
What I’m happy about: The autumn sensorium is just so beautiful. You can check out the first couple of pix from the hike to get an idea of the visuals.
What I’m sad about: The Yankees getting knocked out of the playoffs. On the other hand, I’m also happy about this because it means I won’t be staying up late watching World Series games. So it’s a wash.
What I’m worried about: Eating too much candy on Halloween.
What I’m pondering: Blowing off another NBA preview. The season starts tomorrow, so I’m guessing that’s less of a ponderment and more of a certainty.
I’m the guy who takes his greyhounds on a hike (just about) every Sunday, inÂ a funny hat and sunglasses.
Photo courtesy of Jim Thompson. No, not that Jim Thompson.
Time for another roundup of links, dear readers! Enjoy!
What I’m drinking: Dry Fly & Q-Tonic
What Rufus & Otis are up to: Not a lot. I was sick, so no Sunday grey-hike.
Where I’m going: Nowhere in particular, but I’m hoping to get a Herriman hike in on Saturday with a pal, provided my headcold’s all gone.
What I’m happy about: Getting into NYC on Saturday to meet up with Mark F., a good pal of mine. We had a nice brunch at the Double Crown, during which the ex-girlfriend I mentioned last week dropped off the accordion I’d bought from her. After eating, Mark accompanied me to the Billy Reid store on Bond St., and then we walked up to Astoria Wine & Spirits, St. Mark’s Comics and Porto Rico Importing Co. (for a bottle of Bols Genever, Marvel’s Strange Tales II, and a pound of Kona, respectively) before the farmers’ market at Union Square and Mark’s departure back to the Bronx. We had a good, meandering conversation. Between that and the previous weekend’s catch-up with my old high school pal Jen, I’m reminded of how much I need to stay in touch with old friends.
What I’m sad about: This lousy headcold. Grr.
What I’m worried about: Well, Mark’s response to our conversation about wearing nicer clothes (a prelude to visiting the Billy Reid store, which was a blast, btw) was, “Are you belatedly becoming a metrosexual?” I told him that if I started wearing man-scara, he could disown me, but once I began lugging the old-time suitcase containing the accordion down the street, he withdrew the question. As it turns out, carrying that accessory into the store seemed to grant me some weird street cred with the staff at the BR store. It seems that “Can you check my accordion for me, please?” isn’t said often enough nowadays.
What I’m pondering: How long it’s going to take me to learn to play that accordion, considering I have no musical training. Also, what else Never Let Me Go is a mix of. So far, I’ve got Such, Such Were the Joys and Camp Concentration (which you really should read). And whether I’ll ever buy anything from Billy Reid (I was sorely tempted).
This collection of links comes to you courtesy of the matrix of Twitter, Google Reader and Instapaper! Enjoy!
I remember how thrilled I was back in college (c.1990) when Pevear & Volokhonsky’s new translation ofÂ The Brothers Karamazov came out. I still have the giant Counterpoint hardcover downstairs in my library. Unlike so many of my other college-era interests that are now alien to me â€” Thomas Pynchon, fractal geometry, Concrete, Sting â€” I remain quite happy to read classic works in translation.
In the past week I’ve read a few articles & postsÂ about Lydia Davis’ new translation of Madame Bovary, and it reminded me of something I wanted to write seven years ago. (Seriously, I had to hunt through my old journals to find my notes on it, and they turned up undated around the Nov. 2003 entries. Boy, was I a different guy back then.) Ms. Davis has posted a series of entries on The Paris Review‘s blogÂ about translating Flaubert Â â€”
â€” that was followed by a neat post ofÂ replies from several other translators. You should check out the whole shebang. I like to imagine that all the big-name translators get together for poker and trade puns that are egregious and yet impossible to follow without knowing like 8 languages. I also imagine William Weaver rules the roost, and that he looks like Sydney Greenstreet.
In addition to theÂ Paris Review posts, I read thisÂ New York Magazine article by Sam Anderson, whichÂ explores some of the nuts-and-bolts labor Ms. Davis engaged in for the project, and explores (a little) the unique problems presented by Flaubert’s masterwork:
Davis admits that this is the one aspect ofÂ Bovary that will never survive translation: an almost superhuman cohesion. â€œItâ€™s the final, perfect fit between the style and the material,â€ she says. â€œItâ€™s impossible to achieve in English. Itâ€™s organically related.â€ Nevertheless, sheâ€™s given it her best shot. Her solution is a scrupulousness that seems, at times, to approach Flaubertâ€™s. â€œI stay very close to the original and only depart as much as I have to,â€ she says. â€œVery close. You can stay closer than most people would think.â€ She agonizes over even minor departures, when English syntax or an obscure French reference force her to improvise. Her version even preserves glitches that previous translators silently corrected: odd capitalizations, for instance, and inconsistent verb tenses. (Viking made her address all of this in her introduction, so it wouldnâ€™t just look like sloppy copyediting.)
I felt like I missed a connection with the book in my past readings ofÂ Madame Bovary, so I hope her new version â€” and my shifting perspective â€” will help me bridge that gap. I’m looking forward to trying it out in 2011 or ’12 (there’s a lot on my plate).
Back to 2003. It was Ms. Davis’ explanation for why we need new translations of classic work that put me in mind of my long-ignored post. She wrote:
[I]in the case of a book that appeared more than 150 years ago, like Madame Bovary, and that is an important landmark in the history of the novel, there is room for plenty of different English versions. For example, 1) the first editions of the original text may have been faulty, and over the years one or more corrected editions have been published, so that the earliest English translations no longer match the most accurate original; 2) the earliest translators (as was the case with the Muirs rendering Kafka) may have felt they needed to inflict subtle or not so subtle alterations on the style and even the content of the original so as to make it more acceptable to the Anglophone audience; with the passing of time, we come to deem this something of a betrayal and ask for a more faithful version. 3) Earlier versions may simply not be as good in other respects as they could be â€” let another translator have a try.
Each version will be quite distinct from all of the others. How many ways, for instance, has even a single phrase (bouffÃ©es dâ€™affadissement) from Madame Bovary been translated?
gusts of revulsion
a kind of rancid staleness
stale gusts of dreariness
waves of nausea
fumes of nausea
flavorless, sickening gusts
whiffs of sickliness
waves of nauseous disgust
Vile variations all. But they reminded me of how I once hunted down translations of love. See, there was a line from Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina that stuck with me since the first time I read it back in college (1991), when Levin first sees Kitty, out skating:
He stepped down, avoiding any long look at her as one avoids long looks at the sun, but seeing her as one sees the sun, without looking. â€”tr. Louise & Aylmer Maude (1918)
It still takes my breath away. It’s almost Rilkean in its beauty. Seven years ago, it occurred to me to look up other translations of that sentence:
He stepped down, trying not to look at her, as if she were the sun, yet he saw her, like the sun, even without looking. â€”tr. Richard Pevear & Larissa Volokhonsky (2000)
He went down, trying not to look long at her, as though she were the sun, but he saw her, as one sees the sun, without looking. â€”tr. David Magarshack (1961)
He stepped down, avoiding a long look at her, as though she were the sun, but he saw her, just like the sun, even without looking. â€”tr. Joel Carmichael (1960)
He walked down, for a long while averting his eyes from her, as though she were the sun, but seeing her, as one sees the sun, without looking. â€”tr. Rosemary Edmonds (1954)
He walked down, for a long while avoiding looking at her as at the sun, but seeing her, as one does the sun, without looking. â€”tr. Constance Garnett (1901: not sure if this was the one revised by Kent/Berberova in 1965)
I’m sure P&V’s translation, for example, is more accurate and in Tolstoy’s rhythm and mode, and that the others each have their own appeal, but that sentence from the Maudes’ version still strikes me as one of the most lovely things I’ve ever read.