I had no idea there were so many of us who can, and do, read in mutiple languages. Absolutely amazing to me. I can speak and read spanish, but have never read anything more daring than a greeting card or Carlos Brown comic in spanish. I guess the "Do Not Add Titanium" caricature on the mop buckets at work here at the local nuclear power plant don't count.
[This message has been edited by grasstains (edited 04-30-2004).]
This is my first time here. I've always been a great fan of Ray bradbury (always, here, is just about 30 years) but only tonight did I think of searching for a site - ha!
Anyway, the whole translation issue is quite tricky. Poe translates quite nicely into French because it is quite 'abstract' (careful careful) and deals with emotions and atmosphere and nebulous things that could really be anywhere - French is good for that. Unfortunately a lot of Ray Bradbury translates very poorly into French - I think that it's the very inescapable American-ness of his writing (and I don't just mean the stuff set in Greentown when he was a kid) - there are expressions and references and so many details that are very important and dependant on the language itself - Dandelion Wine, mentioned above, is a good example. but the Martian Chronicles come out nicely in French.
I live in France and have done fair bit of translating myself (though nothing of any consequence, unfortunately) and sometimes just sit gazing at a sentence wondering how I'm going to translate it and still keep all of the nuances - suddenly the dictionary seems to be very short of words.
Glad to see that there are readers of Seamus Heaney out there, too.
Is there a connection between Poland and France? I know French is one of your languages, and my current French professor is a Polish national who grew up bilingual with French as her second language. She learned English later.
I don't know if there's even a colonial connection, because my grandmother came to the US from Israel about 75 years ago, and she knew four languages: Hebrew, Yiddish, Arabic, and French--no English at all until she got here.
--Just figured you'd have an opinion on this!
France is a Pole's home away from home, so to speak...When Bonaparte was in power, he promised to drive the russians out of Poland and reinstate Poland on the map (it was annexed by a few bordering countries). So poles went into exile to france, and we've had a symbiotic relotionship ever since (ie, there are many mentions of Poland by such authors as Balzac, Zola, or Flaubert). As well, quite a number of important Poles had some french in them (ie, Chopin; Madame Curie married Pierre Curie; Gombrowicz (a famous author) lived in france for a long time, Joseph Conrad had his first nautical experiences under Frech colours, and many, many more). Plus, it's so much nicer to speak french than english.
That should summarize it.
By the way, did she always live in Israel? I've never been yet, though I am Jewish as well...
(or was she a Polish or German Jew? Yiddish was derived from those languages)
[This message has been edited by Translator (edited 05-17-2004).]
Thanks for the info! Now things make a bit more sense.
My grandmother's family lived in Tvas (Safed) for seven generations before they emigrated to the US in the mid 1920s. I am led to believe that although Israeli Jews of that time tended to be Sephardic, our ancestors were from parts of Eastern Europe and they maintained a fluency in (a dialect of) Yiddish. Sadly, I know very little of it and am mainly a speaker of English and its variations.
I thought I saw a dirty joke in your response about the Curies. Now that I know you're reading the Kama Sutra I understand why...
I don't know as much about yiddish as I should as well; luckily, yiddish is now used mainly for effect - I've been called a shmuck many times in my life by non-yiddishers.
The joke was not intended, but if you see one, and it makes sense, then let it fill your mind with mirth and break your sides with laughter. Vivre l'amour libre!
Have you ever read Frenchman Robert Charroux's FORGOTTEN WORLDS? It was banned in Europe, he was labled a heretic by the Vatican, and he was banned from television and the radio in most places. This was fairly recent too, the book was originally published in the early 70's.
I have not, but I have heard of him. Apparently, his immagination was quite vivid. But I'll take a look at it the next time I'm at a library (which is today).
I hope you haven't been run out of here. It's been a couple months for me (all the politics, you know).
I saw a copy SOLARIS at a bookstore the other day which had a film-still photo of George Clooney on the cover and "Now A Major Motion Picture" up top. I was wondering if you thought the film any good and wether you rate the book as one of Lem's better offerings?
Kudos for bringing some of these old threads back to life! I hope your plan works and we all return to a measure of civility and reasonably intelligent discourse...
Well....at this point I'd settle for reasonable "unintelligent" discourse.
By the way, where's my Translator?
I had a bit of a depression started by the death of a great writer, but I think I'm getting to be ok.
Under no circumstances should you read the old translation of Solaris (done by Cox and Kilmartin). It is abominable. I have translated the entire Solaris novel two years ago, but there was a problem with the publisher (essentially, Faber and Faber, who have the rights on the english version, are not interested in buying my translation). I know it's all right because Lem himslef told me so. If you want to, I could send you a couple of chapters.
Solaris the English movie is a great visual feat, but, alas, not cclose to the book at all. The book is one of the most intelligent novels ever written, and Sodenberg did not catch half the meanings (partially because he was relying on a script taken from the Cox and Kilmartin translation which, once again, is so bad that some things are done by different characters than in the original Polish version).
There is also a Russian filmed version of the book done by the great Tarkovsky - it is excellent, though it too differs a bit from the book. Apparently, Lem was very ticked off at Trakovsky for adding in his own spiritual take on it. But I really enjoyed the movie, and consider it in the top 5 movies I have ever seen (and I'm an amateur movie maniac, so that should tell you something).
Anyway, if there is one thing that you should do in your life, it should be to find out more about Lem. I swear to you, you will be amazed. The sheer genius, the satire, the brilliance of that author is unparalleled. I hate saying this here, but Bradbury is not as good as Lem. I have great respect for bradbury, and consider him, along Frank Herbert and Tolkien, to be the three best sci-fi/fantasy writers in the English language, but the best ever is Lem. I trabnslated, except for Solaris, two of his other books, one of which is a collection of short stories. If you email me at my stated email, I can send you some (they come from the collection "The Star Diaries", and have been translated previously by Michael Kandel (the first part 1970) and two other translators (their names sliped from my mind) (the second part 1978). While Michael Kandel has done a stellar job, the other two, unfortunately, have not. Kandel told me that he strayed away from translating for a while to write his own books, which is why he did not do the second part.
Anyway, the moral of this is this: Read Lem as translated by Kandel, Green, or me, and stay away from other translators. I can send some of my translations by email, and the other things can be probably ordered by amazon.com. I guarantee anyone here, be they friend or foe, that they will not be dissapointed. In fact, they'll thank me for the introduction.
Lem's books, according to my preference (in reality I have no preference; they are on the same level. I've never met any other author which wrote all his works in the same caliber):
--The Star Diaries
--Memoirs Found in a Bathtub
--Peace on Earth
--Tales of Pirx the Pilot
--etc - many more
Finally, here is his website:
it is in both polish and English, and is full of great topics. For those interested, do visit.
by the way, Grasstains, thanks for noticing I was away. I appreciate that greatly.
Here is a NYT piece about him:
NYT about Lem
The Polish writer Stanislaw Lem is both a polymath and a virtuoso storyteller and stylist. Put them together and they add up to a genius... He has been steadily producing fiction that follows the arcs and depths of his learning and a bewildering labyrinth of moods and attitudes. Like his protagonists, loners virtually to a man, his fiction seems at a distance from the daily cares and passions, and conveys the sense of a mind hovering above the boundaries of the human condition: now mordant, now droll, now arcane, now folksy, now skeptical, now haunted and always paradoxical. Yet his imagination is so powerful and pure that no matter what world he creates it is immediately convincing because of its concreteness and plentitude, the intimacy and authority with which it is occupied... read Lem for yourself. He is a major writer, and one of the deep spirits of our age.
The New York Times Review of Books
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