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Your comments are one of the reasons I've sworn off translations. Tom Send a noteboard - 25/01/2011 05:50:33 PM
I will perhaps step back from the precipice and admit that I might read an occasional book in translation if the language in question is one that I don't feel is worth my time (like Hungarian or Ibo or Thai) - it would be very difficult to learn all the languages on earth.

However, I'm not ever going to read any books in translation if they're in one of the "great" European languages - Russian, German, French, Spanish or Italian. With Spanish and Russian this has been the case for quite some time. I "broke" that rule with respect to 100 Years of Solitude and hated the book so thoroughly I'm not sure I can get myself to read it in the original Spanish to see if it was just a bad translation. However, now I'm committed fully. This year is about French and German classics.

With respect to Madame Bovary, the effect that it had on me now was radically different from the effect that it had on me back in early 2007 when I read it in English. The English translation left me depressed and shocked and mostly feeling sorry for Charles, who I saw as the victim of a woman who could never be happy.

After reading it in French, I was disgusted with the translation. I knew the book was a classic, and a very well written one at that, but I had failed to pick up on so much due to the translation. The tone was entirely different. There was more contempt on the part of the author, more disgust, and more of a grinding, relentless erosion of an entire way of life, than I had noticed. Charles is a disgusting, reprehensible man in his own way. Emma and her dreams are so forcibly divorced from one another that one almost feels sorry for her at times. Flaubert's grotesque description of her corpse brings home the ugliness of everything surrounding her that had been a constant theme of the book.

I think that I will definitely need to read the book again later on (years from now), just because it is perhaps one of the best books I've read. I reject much of Flaubert's cynicism but I am drawn to the reality that he has painted.
Political correctness is the pettiest form of casuistry.

ἡ δὲ κἀκ τριῶν τρυπημάτων ἐργαζομένη ἐνεκάλει τῇ φύσει, δυσφορουμένη, ὅτι δὴ μὴ καὶ τοὺς τιτθοὺς αὐτῇ εὐρύτερον ἢ νῦν εἰσι τρυπώη, ὅπως καὶ ἄλλην ἐνταῦθα μίξιν ἐπιτεχνᾶσθαι δυνατὴ εἴη. – Procopius

Ummaka qinnassa nīk!

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/Discussion: Madame Bovary - 20/01/2011 06:22:50 PM 7174 Views
Re: /Review: Madame Bovary - 20/01/2011 07:20:36 PM 1467 Views
I agree with much of what you say. - 20/01/2011 07:57:57 PM 1803 Views
I'm glad to hear that the read wasn't easy for you, either. - 21/01/2011 06:30:00 AM 883 Views
Yeah, I think it's safe to say some of those words would give even native speakers pause. - 21/01/2011 06:37:02 PM 1510 Views
I'm certain it was intentional. - 21/01/2011 07:21:45 PM 892 Views
I want to read two more "serious" works before skipping over to Druon. - 22/01/2011 06:03:09 PM 937 Views
Ambitious. - 22/01/2011 06:26:59 PM 1059 Views
Re: Ambitious. - 25/01/2011 06:20:12 PM 1968 Views
I don't think I've even heard of Benjamin. - 25/01/2011 09:41:55 PM 852 Views
Walter Benjamin - 25/01/2011 10:00:13 PM 1975 Views
I think he was the youngest son of Jacob. *NM* - 26/01/2011 05:16:26 AM 458 Views
I'm halfway through the second part now - 20/01/2011 11:58:01 PM 1052 Views
I'm interested to see what you think when you finish. - 21/01/2011 06:31:58 AM 871 Views
I hope to be done with it this evening - 22/01/2011 05:09:23 PM 1365 Views
My thoughts - 24/01/2011 06:48:13 AM 1563 Views
Your comments are one of the reasons I've sworn off translations. - 25/01/2011 05:50:33 PM 876 Views
?OT: reading French literature - 19/02/2011 04:09:36 PM 834 Views
You're new here, aren't you? - 19/02/2011 04:50:50 PM 1444 Views

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