Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Lost in an art, conservative bears, and a very good excuse

The difference between the Moncrieff translations of In Search of Lost Time and the new series overseen by Christopher Prendergast are indeed very distinct; Moncrieff tends to tie Proust’s sentences into knots, whereas the James Grieve translation of In the Shadow of Young Girls in Flower, for example, flows silky-smooth. You get the point (and with Proust, there are many worth getting) without having to untangle an overtly-ornamental rendering to do so. Aciman’s article, however, serves the dual function of being at once a perfect example of tunnel-vision typographical nitpicking, and an illustration of the inherent pitfalls of translation, proving again that the process involves its very own prickly form of creativity. It could be that Moncrieff’s original versions better approximates the context from which the work emerged (as Aciman notes, Moncrieff began his work on Swann’s Way just before Proust’s death in 1922), but as language inevitably evolves into different forms it does become necessary to take a fresh look once in a while.
Having grown up in the same region of the world that Berenstain hailed from, his Berenstain Bears series does have a nostalgic appeal to me, but I can’t say I ever saw much correlation between his vision of the world and mine; I just thought that living inside a tree would be pretty neat. Berenstain’s conservative storytelling was less interesting than his art; the books were always fun to look at, anyway. Ironic, then, that Theodore Geisel, also known as Dr. Seuss, helped get the series started at Random House in his days as an editor. Small world.

And now, an early holiday gift for all frustrated arty types:
Old news, really. Just save this article and use it as you might a “Get Out of Jail Free” card. Then thump your chest and bellow, "I am all that is man!"

2 comments:

Moran said...

RE: Creativity linked to sexual success

If that's true then how come my friends who went to real colleges seemed to get laid much more frequently then us poor saps at NCSA? Maybe filmmaking doesn't count.

Jason Comerford said...

The guy-to-girl ratio in the film program was what, five to one? Plus, the total population of NCSA was very small to begin with, and us heteros were pretty much outnumbered.

That, or none of us were worth doing. Which is most likely.