NABOKV-L post 0014371, Wed, 13 Dec 2006 14:01:22 -0200

Re: Brief editorial apology: VN on Translation
Hello all, I accidentally posted Penny's recent message before excising her prefatory question to me, just as a few weeks ago I forgot to excise a similar prefatory question from the subject heading to one of Jansy's messages. Sorry! (SES)
Accidents may become major or simply minor incidents and as we all know, redundantly, they are bound to happen unexpected! I hope this message now may become attached to other shorter ones I sent before, but there will be no great harm if it goes as it is.
The words are mainly Nabokov's, quoted from Bend Sinister.

Hamlet and Danish verbal instruments abound in B.S, since "As with all decadent democracies, everybody in the Denmark of the play suffers from a plethora of words". Mixing doubting Homais we get "that is the question" with a legend: "Ink, a Drug", which in turn takes us to Grudinka ("which means 'bacon' in several Slavic languages" (and not Shaks) to break the eggs to be fried in a "Homelette au Lard". And Ink, a Drug is not so distant from Paduk's Mugakrad, Gumakrad, Gumradka Mad Adam...

But before and after paronomasia and reversions, there comes a wonderful coment about "true" translation.
From the "plethora of words" we reach "an Englishman whose domed head had been a hive of words; a man who had only to breathe on any particle of his sutendous vocabulary to have that particle live and expand..." and to another man, three centuries later, in another country "trying to render these rhythms and metaphors in a different tongue".
What happens?
"It was as if someone, having seen a certain oak tree ...growing in a certain land and casting its own unique shadow on the green and brown ground, had proceeded to erect in his garden a prodigiously intricate piece of machinery which in iteself was unlike that or any other tree as the translator's inspiration and language were unlike those of the original author, but which, by means of ingenious combinations of parts, light effects, breeze-engendering engines, would, when completed, cast a shadow exactly similar to that...[individual oak] - the same outline...The greatest masterpiece of imitation precupposed a voluntary limitation of thought, in submission to another man's genius... Could this suicidal limitation be compensated by the miracle...or was it, taken all in all, but an exaggerated and spiritualized replica of Paduk's writing machine?"...

" 'Never in my life' , said Krug, 'have I seen two organ-grinders in the same back yard at the same time... An organ-grinder is the very emblem of oneness. But here we have an absurd duality."

As I see it, "translation" is here described as the endproduct of a twin shadow that moves according to the clues of differential calculus or in the beehive of modern computers. Some kind of mechanical grinding monster...

Somewhere VN spoke of "shadows of words", of "meeting in silhouette"...but I haven't yet placed these lines to compare them with the strange reality that prompts words...

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