Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0004389, Fri, 17 Sep 1999 12:05:59 -0700

Re: Updike and Nabokov: A Question of Translation (fwd)
From: Icrywolf@aol.com

Updike's questions here are the product of a
life-long writer who has learned to be careful with his own language. It
is an admirable quality in a writer to treat his words gingerly on the
umpteenth review, to carefully analyze each image for sense and
sensibility, as it were; however, one of the beauties of translation,
particularly when the original author is translating, is that
unintentional slip beyond the rules of a language. Nabokov, who stretched
metaphors to a fine, taut line in any case, probably did go too far in
some of his translations, from a strictly sensical standpoint. But how is
a language to evolve without an occasional growing pain? I would certainly
rather see the phrase containing "linotype swing" from time to time than
bear another cliched metaphor. It might actually be the duty of
multi-lingual writers upon this planet to bastardize a non-native tongue
every once in a while, if only to produce a universe of connotations as
broad as the multivarious lepi! doptera on earth. Then again, I'm biased.

Chris J. Magyar
The Business Word
Denver, Colorado