I take a rather simplistic view of Eliot's keeping the original
languages for certain quotes.  They resonated deeply with him.  "Mein
Irisch Kind, / Wo weilest du?"  carried, for him, the "objective
correlative" of his emotional tone (associated with the music, perhaps)
and a translation simply would not do.  (That he might also have valued
the gender ambiguity in the German is another question.) "Oed und leer
das Meer" certainly carries a hollowness of tonality (forgive me, I
search for the _mot juste_!) that "The sea is wide and empty" does not.
For me,  the final scene in _Parsifal_, with the voices of the children
reaching above the other voices is a transcendent moment.  How to
capture that in the original, since, as I remember, the children's
voices are only mentioned in the stage directions?  Use the French poem,
with resonances Eliot may have associated with the opera.  As I said, it
is simplistic.

J. P. Earls, OSB
English Department
St. John's University
Collegeville, MN 56321
Ph. 320-363-2705
Email: [log in to unmask]

-----Original Message-----
From: Steve Morse [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
Sent: Sunday, July 22, 2001 7:21 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Puns and the point

Still, is there an "accepted" rationale or interpretation for line 202
"The Waste Land" being stolen, or expropriated, from Verlaine's poem and

kept in French rather translating it to English? If the poem is
to allude to something with that line, an English translation of the
would maintain that allusion, wouldn't it? But keeping the line in
allows for the pun "voix" to make that allusion more ambiguous, if not 
humourous. Ambiguity certainly seems to be the lifeblood of "The Waste 

Still curious,

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