Derivations: translator's quandaries and ekphrasis
A friend asked me to help him to translate a line from Walter Pater's text about Mona Lisa: 'She is older than the rocks among which she sits; like the vampire, she has been dead many times, and learned the secrets of the grave; and been a diver in deep seas, and keeps their fallen day about her . . . ' While I examined Pater's lines from different angles of approach (any suggestion about how to interpret Pater's underlined words shall be most welcome!), I came across Pater's use of "ekphrasis" in a wiki reference.
I had no need of "Nabokov specs" to be reminded of VN - once again - and I was happy to discover a great quantity of articles about his use of this rethorical device, besides David Rampton's book, already mentioned in the VN-L.* One of articles addressed issues that have been recently thematized in the VN-List: "Brushing through « veiled values and translucent undertones » Nabokov's pictorial approach to women" by Lara Delage-Toriel [http://transatlantica.revues.org/760] and here I mean Nabokov's thinking in images, synesthesia, the translation of Pushkin's perfect poem, his verbal magic and intertextual referencing. **
In the Wikipedia we read that: "Ekphrasis or ecphrasis is the graphic, often dramatic, description of a visual work of art. In ancient times it referred to a description of any thing, person, or experience. The word comes from the Greek ek and phrasis, 'out' and 'speak' respectively, verb ekphrazein, to proclaim or call an inanimate object by name. - Ekphrasis has been considered generally to be a rhetorical device in which one medium of art tries to relate to another medium by defining and describing its essence and form, and in doing so, relate more directly to the audience, through its illuminative liveliness. - In this way, a painting may represent a sculpture, and vice versa; a poem portray a picture; a sculpture depict a heroine of a novel; in fact, given the right circumstances, any art may describe any other art, especially if a rhetorical element, standing for the sentiments of the artist when she/he created her/his work, is present." Perhaps the translation of a complex sentence or poem could be dealt with by applying an "ekphrastic perspective" to it, instead of a "literal translation." The distance in this case lies on how to relate two languages (and not only when "one medium of art tries to relate to another medium"), that is, the distance between what, in his essay on translation, VN named as "the Russian and the English series of words," for example.
It seems to me that his evaluation while describing Pushkin's most famous poem, was already an expression of his applying an ekphrastic device to it, as in his example of "the central word in Housman's 'What are those blue remembered hills?' [ ] in Russian "vspom-neev-she-yesyah," a horrible straggly thing, all humps and horns, which cannot fuse into any inner connection with 'blue,' as it does so smoothly in English, because the Russian sense of blueness belongs to a different series than the Russian 'remember' does."
* - "Vladimir Nabokov: A Literary Life", David Rampton - 2012 - ?Literary Criticism
"This is the ekphrastic theme again, the idea of recognizing wordless representations of the world and the patterns they make..."(quoted at VN-L, "an available page online opened me to Naiman's views..." https://listserv.ucsb.edu/lsv.../wa?...?]
"Crossbreeding Word and Image: Nabokov's Subversive Use of Ekphrasis" Marie Bouchet; Bouchet, Marie C. "La technique ekphrastique chez Vladimir Nabokov : Cadrages et recadrages de l'image textuelle", in Cadres et limites Y.C. Grandjeat (éd.), Bordeaux : Annales du CRAA, 2007, pp. 153-168.Bouchet, Marie C. "Nabokov's Poerotics of Dancing: From Word to Movement," in Kaleidoscopic Nabokov, Paris : M. Houdiard, 2009.( Cf.Vladimir Nabokov, A Bibliography of Criticism by Dieter E. Zimmer with additions by Jeff Edmunds )
Vera and Vladimir - Slate
Brushing through « veiled values and translucent undertones » transatlantica.revues.org/760? de L Delage-Toriel - ?2009 -
The Sublime Artist's Studio: Nabokov and Painting Gavriel Shapiro - 2009 - ?Art
de M Niqueux - ?2000 - ????????? ? ?????????? ? ?????????? ?. ???????? ??? ???? ????????? ? ???????? ?. ???????? ?????????? (1924?., ?????????????? ? 1996?. ? ?.
The real Ekphrasis picturing the Calomny of Apelle is supposed to be ...from the "Rapid Nabokov" sequence in Vol.9 of 20th Century Boys.
Ekphrasis II - Sarah Z. Sleeper - Writer & Editor
Ekphrasis II, by Sarah Z. Sleeper. ekphrasis ii, July 11 - Sept. ... Wolfe, Hemingway and Kerouac cohabitate and comingle with Fitzgerald, Nabokov, Roy, Munro, ...
Ekphrasis et fantastique dans la Vénitienne de Nabokov ou l'art ...Ekphrasis et fantastique dans la Vénitienne de Nabokov ou l'art comme envoûtement - article ; n°3 ; vol.72, pg 475-484 : Revue des études ..
** - About the split between images and words in relation to akphrasis, Lara Delage-Toriel quotes, from LATH: "I am reduced-a sad confession!-to something I have also used before, and even in this book-the well-known method of degrading one species of art by appealing to another," when she writes: "Vadim had declared, in the wake of phenomenologist philosophy, that "we think in images, not in words" (Look at the Harlequins!102). But if language can only be derivative, how can one's vision be adequately translated? Rather than strive to make language conjure up effects similar to those created by pictures, Vadim has recourse to ekphrasis, "the rhetorical description of a work of art" (Oxford Classical Dictionary), or, more generally "a set description intended to bring person, place, picture, etc. before the mind's eye" (Hagstrum 18) "[ ] She notes: "It is time, indeed, which seems responsible for the hiatus between the book and its reader. This hiatus also strikes at the very roots of the creative act, for the writer is constantly striving to make inspiration's unmediated picture coincide with its verbal recapture. The struggle is constant because, as Michel Foucault writes in The Order of Things, ' the relation of language to painting is an infinite relation. [.]. Neither can be reduced to the other's terms: it is in vain that we attempt to show, by the use of images, metaphors, or similes, what we are saying; the space where they achieve splendour is not that deployed by our eyes but, that defined by the sequential elements of syntax.' (Foucault 9-10).This kind of judgment could very well sap the artistic foundations of a writer like Nabokov, who is a particularly prolific producer of such images, metaphors and similes." [ ] "Nabokov doesn't only indulge in convoluted puns and imagery for the mere sake of show-off-although he sometimes does. Nabokov was a synaesthete and was subject to mild hallucinations from his early childhood: he couldn't help filtering the world through the prism of his fanciful perceptions and striving to translate these in the most faithful possible way by dint of an iridescent style. Nabokov's aesthetic sensitivity doesn't only enhance his style, it also informs his very poetics and the dynamics of his creative elan, thus forming between the sister arts a properly incestuous relationship." [ ] "The poetic aspects of Nabokov's prose are often so striking that they can easily outshine its semantic content, leading us to forget that eloquence is part and parcel of a rhetorical apparatus in which ideas and images are inextricably linked. In effect, Nabokov here resorts to the evocative power of harmonious resonances in order to convey the exquisite graces of the tonal unity which characterizes the chiaroscuro technique."[ ] "The scope of Nabokov's chiaroscuro approach thus operates on two levels: the textual-through the tonal nuances which make the nude's skin almost palpable-and the metatextual-through the lambent dove-tailing of various layers of perception which imparts a secret aura, an almost magic depth, to this unique instant of discovery."[ ] btw: my quotes from Lana Delage-Toriel article are intended only as examples of the items I indicate, since her article is available on line.
Search archive with Google:
Contact the Editors: mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org,email@example.com
Visit Zembla: http://www.libraries.psu.edu/nabokov/zembla.htm
View Nabokv-L policies: http://web.utk.edu/~sblackwe/EDNote.htm
Visit "Nabokov Online Journal:" http://www.nabokovonline.com
Manage subscription options: http://listserv.ucsb.edu/