NABOKV-L post 0018998, Wed, 23 Dec 2009 00:46:49 -0200

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Re: VNBibliography
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D.B.Johnson: Translation: theory and practice : a historical reader By Daniel Weissbort, Ástráður Eysteinsson-Oxford University Press | 2006 This volume is a compendium that contains a good bit of material by and about translation. In the chapter "From Pound to Nabokov', the authors gather together both VN's numerous discussions and samples of his own translations and his comentaries on translations...There is also discussion about VN's translations.

Walter Miale: I can't read Russian.I'm not sure how to apply your method of assessing translations, which has its limitations, as you note. Some translations read like translations, if not ponies for students. Others take liberties with literal meaning but provide distinguished prose and spine tingling literary experience...Ten years ago (Fri, 4 Jun 1999) I tried to make a case on this forum that the ideal translation should provide the original language (with a transliteration if necessary), a sublinear word-for-word translation, and on facing pages a literary translation.

Jansy: In some cases bilingual editions published in non-anglophone countries spontaneously present the answer to Walter Miale's plea. Most foreign poems I recently read brought the original English,French,German,Russian verses in one leaf and their translation in Portuguese at its side (like Miale I speak no Russian so, in this case, a sublinear word-for word translation is required). Take TOoL: in the Brazilian edition we have the facsimile of the card (in VN's English longhand) and on the opposite side, the text in Portuguese. The book is less bulky and easier to hold for reading in bed, too.

C.Kunin and A. Stadlen apparently came to the same conclusion concerning the comparison I suggested*.
Carolyn wrote: "To me it looks like they are both (sic) saying exactly the same thing." A.Stadlen noted: "But Shade writes of life as a commentary to a poem, not as the poem itself. Kinbote inanely explains to readers what they can read for themselves Shade wrote."

JM: I realized too late that I'd expressed myself badly and I thank A.Stadlen for his correction ("Shade writes of life...not as the poem itself") because my intention had been to stress the contrast bt. their lines. They might be "saying exactly the same thing," but style makes all the difference. Shade writes as a poet and Kinbote, as an annotator.
Shade registers his considerations ("a note"!) - in the poem.
Kinbote exchanges Shade's word "commentary" for "footnote" - in a footnote.
After noticing that each man writes after his own fashion (inevitably), I realized other little things. Shade's note for future use has no future (he will die in a few days) and his poem shall remain unfinished. (btw: a point to Cassandra...)
For Kinbote, life is not a poem, but it is vaguely described as a "masterpiece."
Other deductions might be put forward, I couldn't really grasp their logic. Shade believes in a "plexed artistry.. a richly rhymed life" aso. Kinbote, like Shade, sees "Man" as a subject of another greater force, or destiny. And yet, their positions are distinct. Shade ignores his fate. Kinbote feels he controls it.


*Man's life as commentary to abstruse
Unfinished poem. Note for further use.
(John Shade, PF,lines 939-40)

".our poet suggests here that human life is but a series of footnotes to a vast obscure unfinished masterpiece."
(Charles Kinbote, footnote to lines 939-40)



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