More on translations of Proust into English


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More on translations of Proust into English

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okt 6, 2006, 2:52am

I have been able to find the Hitchens article I mentioned in a previous post. Here is an extract from it, to give you an idea of the whole thing. Hitchens quite often writes about French books in the The Atlantic and I think the subscription is worth it just for him.

Here it is:
"...I myself noticed too late (after the new version had gone to press) that in the paragraph evoking the bedroom at Tansonville la chambre où je me serai endormi had become in English "the bedroom in which I shall presently fall asleep" (instead of "in which I must have fallen asleep"), thus giving the reader the impression that the narrator is writing at Tansonville instead of in Paris some years after.
A similar bêtise—this time caught by Kilmartin—had altered the spatio-temporal significance of Swann's jealous questioning of Odette. He demands to be told, of her possible lesbian encounters, "Il y a combien de temps?" Perhaps to an extent giving away his own proclivities, Scott Moncrieff made this into "How many times?" instead of "How long ago?" Even my French would be equal to that, as it would have been on the occasions when Scott Moncrieff, astonishingly, gave actuel as "actual." If only the present and the actual were indeed the same. But what's the occasional faux ami between real friends?