I think it a serious mistake--one the actually ruins the translation--to
change "Terre Haute." It is a midwestern city and Eliot chose the name
knowing that. No one would find an alternative set of words if the
couple returned to, say, London or New York or Paris. I suppose if they
went to Champagne, no one would change it to "sparkling drink." The
place name is clearly a part of their identity.
>>> [log in to unmask] 01/25/06 6:11 AM >>>
Thank you folks for the compliments on my translation. I'm still not
through with it because I think it has a mixed tone with both high and
low speech in it and I want to work that out.
I have two big things about it that I would like to ask opinions about.
First, I retained "Terre Haute" to keep the midwest/rural image even
though I lost the obvious wordplay in French between low and
high. I've since thought up two other alternatives. How do these
They've done the Low Countries and they're returning to Terre Haute;
They've done the Low Countries and they're returning to the high plains;
They've done the Low Countries and they're returning to Peoria Heights;
Peoria Heights is a made up name and there may not even be any hills
in Peroria. But a feeling is gained in the use of Peoria and Heights
makes the pun. Using "the high plains" may make the honeymooners seem
Second, I wrote "Resting between two sheets" although the French is
more like "at ease" or "comfortable". I avoided that because I
couldn't imagine that the bug-bitten honeymooners would be at ease.
Later I considered that Eliot may have used his phrasing to indicate
that the couple was used to bedbugs. That would make them appear a
bit lower in the social scale. Should I go with something like "at