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TSE  January 2012

TSE January 2012

Subject:

Translations of Chanson from Anabase by Saint-John Perse

From:

"Rickard A. Parker" <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

T. S. Eliot Discussion forum.

Date:

Tue, 3 Jan 2012 21:29:31 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (177 lines)

In the first post of 2012 CR sent us to Eliot's translation of
a portion of Saint_John Perse's Anabase.
    http://books.google.com/books?id=mB1ZKy7SQawC&pg=PA43&lpg=PA43

I visited that and have come across another book on Google books
that is worth TSE listers' time:

Second finding: a poetics of translation
Barbara Folkart
University of Ottawa Press, Sep 6, 2007
Language Arts & Disciplines - 562 pages

Google's URL: http://books.google.com/books?id=mq5Rw5Bi2TMC

A blurb:

    The translation of poetry has always fascinated the theorists, as the
    chances of "replicating" in another language the one-off resonance of
    music, imagery, and truth values of a poem are vanishingly small.
    Translation is often envisaged as a matter of mapping over into the
    target language the surface features or semiotic structures of the
    source poem. Little wonder, then, that the vast majority of translations
    fail to be poetry in their own right. These essays focus on the
    poetically viable translation - the derived poem that, while resonating
    with the original, really is a poem. They proceed from a writerly
    perspective, eschewing both the theoretical overkill that spawns mice
    out of mountains and the ideological misappropriation that uses poetry
    as a way to push agendas. The emphasis throughout is on process and the
    poem-to-come.


A lot of the book is online but not everything.

Google shows "Eliot" on 100 pages and Chapter 6, titled "The Poetically
Viable Translation" and subtitled "Englishing Saint-John Perse," is
almost 140 pages.  I haven't done much but skim this but none-the-less
I've seen a few instances where Folkart says that Eliot doesn't measure
up in some areas.

I'm not a poet like some on the list but every once in awhile (okay,
every third year or so) I attempt a translation. I thought that Eliot's
translation was a bit highfalutin so I decided to try my own.  I sought
out another translation to help me on my way and that is how I came
across Folkart's book.

So, armed with a couple of previous translations, Google's translation
feature, a thesaurus, French-English dictionary sites and a few things
remembered from a French class I took decades ago I managed to come up
with the translation below.  I'll have to read Folkart to see how I
measured up. My main aims were to simplify the language but still have
it sound good. (However, my wife wasn't thrilled with the rhythm.)

Below I've included Eliot's and Folkart's translations along with mine
and Perse's original French. But I also created a framed webpage where
all four can be viewed at the same time.  That and the fact that I broke
up the sentences in Perse's three paragraphs and numbered them allows
easy comparison of the texts.

The framed page is at
    http://www.theworld.com/~raparker/temp/perse-chanson-framer.htm
This page is NOT for Carrol.


---------------------------------------------------------------------
ELIOT:
------

  1) I have halted my horse by the tree of the doves,
  2) I whistle a note so sweet,
  3) shall the rivers break faith with their banks?
  4) (Living leaves in the morning fashioned in glory) ...

  5) And not that a man be not sad,
  6) but arising before day
  7) and biding circumspectly in the communion of an old tree,
  8) leaning his chin on the last fading star,
  9) he beholds at the end of the fasting sky
10) great things and pure that unfold to delight. ...

11) I have halted my horse by the dove-moaning tree,
12) I whistle a note more sweet. ...
13) Peace to the dying who have not seen this day!
14) But tidings there are of my brother the poet:
15) once more he has written a song of great sweetness.
16) And some there are who have knowledge thereof. ...

A portion of Anabase by Saint-John Perse
T.S. Eliot translation
Source: http://books.google.com/books?id=mB1ZKy7SQawC&pg=PA43&lpg=PA43


---------------------------------------------------------------------
PARKER:
-------

  1) My horse stopped under a tree full of doves,
  2) I whistle a whistle so pure
  3) that rivers, to their banks, break promises to remain.
  4) (Living leaves in the morning are a reflection of the glory) ...

  5) And it isn't so much that a man not be sad
  6) but in rising before dawn
  7) and standing with wisdom in the company of an old tree,
  8) setting his chin towards the last star,
  9) he sees in the depths of the fading night
10) grand, pure, pleasing visions. ...

11) My horse stopped under the tree that coos,
12) I whistle a whistle even purer ...
13) And peace to those who will die not having seen this day.
14) There is news of my brother, the poet.
15) Once more he has written something tender.
16) And some had to know ...

A portion of Anabase by Saint-John Perse
Rickard Parker translation


---------------------------------------------------------------------
FOLKART:
--------

  1) Stopping my horse under a tree full of turtle-doves,
  2) I whistle a note so pure
  3) that not a one of these great rivers will keep a single
        of its promises to its banks.
  4) (Leaves living in the morning are in the image and likeness of 
glory) ...

  5) And a man may well be sad,
  6) but let him rise before day breaks
  7) and engage with circumspection in the commerce of an eldly tree,
  8) leaning his chin on the last of the star,
  9) and he will see in the depths of the fasting sky / of
        the still fasting sky
10) great pure things that turn to delght. ...

11) My horse halted under the turtle-doving tree,
12) I whistle an even purer note ...
13) And peace be to those who, if they are to die, will not see this day /
        who may die and never see this day.
14) But news has come of my brother, the poet.
15) He has once again written something exceedingly gentle.
16) And some there were who heard of it ...)

A portion of Anabase by Saint-John Perse
Barbara Folkart translation
Source: http://books.google.com/books?id=mq5Rw5Bi2TMC&pg=PA197&lpg=PA197


---------------------------------------------------------------------
PERSE:
------

  1) Mon cheval arrêté sous l'arbre plein de tourterelles,
  2) je siffle un sifflement si pur,
  3) qu'il n'est promesses à leurs rives que tiennent tous ces fleuves.
  4) (Feuilles vivantes au matin sont à l'image de la gloire)

  5) Et ce n'est point qu'un homme ne soit triste,
  6) mais se levant avant le jour
  7) et se tenant avec prudence dans le commerce d'un vieil arbre,
  8) appuyé du menton à la dernière étoile,
  9) il voit au fond du ciel à jeun
10) de grandes choses pures qui tournent au plaisir ...

11) Mon cheval arrêté sous l'arbre qui roucoule,
12) je siffle un sifflement plus pur ...
13) Et paix à ceux, s'ils vont mourir, qui n'ont point vu ce jour.
14) Mais de mon frère le poète on a eu des nouvelles.
15) Il a écrit encore une chose très douce.
16) Et quelques-uns en eurent connaissance ...

A portion of Anabase by Saint-John Perse
Source: http://books.google.com/books?id=mq5Rw5Bi2TMC&pg=PA197&lpg=PA197

---------------------------------------------------------------------

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