VMs ff please remove when you have a moment. ! thanks a lot
Request as above ff, thanks. Ipresume if the gremlins and strange visitors all depart we can have VM back? Will this delete the hundred or so that dear Anton has also sent and haven't been deleted by me?Ihope so. regards, saly
Originally Posted by french frank
post 25 vinteuil
Thank you for a very courteous response to my very drunken post no. 23. In your shoes I wouldnt have bothered to react to such a rubbish item, but I'm flattered that you did. I must learn not to post after a bottle of Ozrouge, but I fear that after sixty two years, you cant teach an old Zulu new tricks.
So here we go again.
However, I'm not without resource, I dug out some old poetry books and found the Auden reference that came to me darkly. It was the last line that struck my memory:
'Some thirty inches from my nose
The frontier of my Person goes,
And all the untilled air between
Is private pagus or demesene.
Stranger, unless with bedroom eyes
I beckon you to fraternise,
Beware of crossing it:
I have no gun, but I can spit.'
I dont know why I like that poem (or know its title, it has none in my book), but I do.
Vinteuil! What a wonderful world that name opens up. I have read my way through Proust several times, but never completely, there always seems to be a gap, a piece of the consciousness we all experience in the essence and the necessary nature of the beginning of our lives, before we started to understand syntax and in the maturity of our endeavour, found solace in the cognisant substance of forgetting in which we find no particle, no fundamental piece of the unknown universe we wish to know and yet have not the understanding to unlock, the realisation of suppressed scenarios, the justification of endless sentences, the glories of our past, the loss of the beginning of the sentence, for what are the real hoards unless they are our memories, the forgotten hoards of our childhoods, the true pasts that we would not have lost if we had not known them because the true childhoods are the childhoods we have lost?
A pale parody of the original, in the English translation (the thought of reading it in the original French makes me quite unsteady, but I cant, my French is rudimentary). I'll quote the whole two pages from the end of 'Time Regained' in the Penguin translation if you wish, but I'm sure you know it.
Proust wrote wonderful stuff. I am halfway through ' A la Recherche ...' for at least the third time, it seems to be a book you never actually finish. There is too much life there to ever close the pages.
Which translation are you reading umslopogaas?
Originally Posted by umslopogaas
Do Proustian experts have any advice on the best translation into English?
I must have another go .... yes!
post 34 amateur51
I've got the Penguin 'Twentieth Century Classics' edition in three volumes. The blurb is a little confusing about the translation.
On the back it notes that the earlier translation by Scott Moncrieff was from an unreliable early French edition, but this one is "flawlessly translated by Terence Kilmartin in this acclaimed version."
However, in the biographical note in the front, it says that this edition is based on a Pleiade text from 1954 and in it Kilmartin has revised Scott Moncrieff's original translation and added new material. So, it looks as if Kilmartin's translation is a revision of the old Scott Moncrieff version, rather than an entirely new version. I have read somewhere, I think in some notes by Kilmartin himself, that Scott Moncrieff was somewhat prudish and bowdlerised some of the more shocking passages. They are not particularly explicit by modern novel standards, but Proust did have perverse tastes and there are some disturbing details in Painter's biography.
The three volumes are: one, Swann's Way and Within A Budding Grove; two, The Guermantes Way and Cities Of The Plain; three, The Captive, The Fugitive and Time Regained.
I've had these for many years and I think I heard that there had been an entirely new translation, but I havent spotted it. At over three thousand pages, it must be a forbidding task!
Cheers for this, umslopogaas!
Originally Posted by umslopogaas
According to this, however, there are several translations to make things even more complex, although there is some advice:
post 36 amateur51
I'm probably risking getting my wrists slapped for drifting off topic on this thread, but thanks for that link. I guess the Davis translation is the one I had heard rumoured. I've got some of the original Scott Moncrieff translations, but I think they would now have a rather old-fashioned feel to them. Certainly when Kilmartin's revisions came out, there was strong advice going around that this was now the one to have, so I duly bought it. If there has now been a further revision by DJ Enright, there'd be a strong case for it: I didnt know he was a French scholar, but he is a language expert and I've got a very entertaining 1986 book by him called The Alluring Problem: An Essay On Irony. The advantage would be that, having now gone through two revisions, his version should now have had all errors and inconsistencies ironed out. However high the standard of scholarship in the new Davis one, there is a higher likelihood of errors creeping in.
I mentioned the biography 'Marcel Proust' by George D. Painter: my copy is a two volume paperback in Peregrine Books, published in 1977, though it was originally issued in 1959. Despite now being quite old, its a marvellously detailed study and a fascinating read. He tells the real life models for the characters in the novel and in particular gives some great stories about Comte Robert de Montesquiou, who had an ego the size of a truck and was the principal model for Baron Charlus.
Vinteuil, incidentally, is a composite of aspects of Debussy, Faure, Franck, D'Indy and Saint-Saens. The "little phrase" of Vinteuil's sonata is apparently based on a them from Saint-Saens' D minor Sonata for violin and piano.
Originally Posted by umslopogaas
'Proust evolved his thinking about the little phrase over many years; he didn’t want people to pin it down to any one particular work. In his dedication copy of ‘Swann’ to Jacques de Lacretelle in April 1918 he wrote:
“to the limited extent to which I have made use of real examples, the ‘little phrase’ of the sonata (and I have told no-one this) is … the charming but ultimately banal phrase from a sonata for violin and piano by Saint-Saëns, a composer I don’t care for. Later on, when speaking of this little phrase, I shouldn’t be surprised if I wasn’t also thinking of the Good Friday Music. Later, when the piano and violin sob like two birds, I was thinking of the sonata by Franck (above all as played by Enesco), whose quartet will appear in a subsequent volume. The tremolos covering the little phrase at the Verdurins’ were suggested to me by the prelude to Lohengrin, but the phrase itself by something from Schubert. And the phrase is also at the same Verdurin soirée from a ravishing piano piece by Fauré.” .'
As far as translations are concerned - I think we are/were very lucky to have had the Scott-Moncrieff, which is how I first encountered Proust. It was revised and tidied up intelligently by Kilmartin. The next big new translation was that published by Penguin in 2002 with various translators. I am not convinced. Proust is of his period, which Scott-Moncrieff/Kilmartin capture well; the modernisms I detect in the new Penguin translation jar unhelpfully.
Iris Murdoch thought Proust read better in English than in French (she wd have known the Scott-Moncrieff). I still think it's worth trying the French if you have the beginning of a handle on the language...
One good thing about having read it through several times - is that now I don't necessarily feel the need to read all of it all the way through - I can dip into my favourite bits - Combray, Balbec, Venice - and skip the ghastlier longueurs of the Albertine maelstrom...
post 38 vinteuil
Ah ... thanks Vinteuil, I should have known better than believe anything in or about Proust was straightforward! The biography is fascinating to read in conjunction with the novel, because it adds an extra dimension to the novel when you read about the real-life models. Apparently Proust was permanently worried that Count Robert would recognise he was being lampooned as Charlus and throw a hurricane-sized strop, but as far as I recall, Montesquiou never noticed. In fact from Painter's descriptions, the real-life model was considerably more outlandish than the fictional character who carries some of his characteristics!