NABOKV-L post 0023839, Wed, 27 Mar 2013 13:42:51 -0700

Subject
Re: Ada's dissolved epigraph
Date
Body
Thank you to Jerry Katsell - I think he's got it (by George he's got it).
Carolyn



________________________________
From: Jerry Katsell <jerry3@ROADRUNNER.COM>
To: NABOKV-L@LISTSERV.UCSB.EDU
Sent: Wed, March 27, 2013 12:28:57 PM
Subject: Re: [NABOKV-L] Ada's dissolved epigraph


On 3/26/2013 7:01 PM, Nabokv-L wrote:

Subject: Re: [NABOKV-L] Ada's dissolved epigraph
>From: Jansy <jansy@aetern.us>
>Date: 3/25/2013 12:14 PM
>To: Vladimir Nabokov Forum <NABOKV-L@LISTSERV.UCSB.EDU>
>
>Jansy Mello: Fascinating exchanges*.There's one nagging
>question,though. If, as AS and SS affirm, there is no ambiguity
>(or little ambiguity) in Pushkin's sentence in Russian - but there
>are "often fruitful" ambiguities in VN's translation (following JK
>and SKB and, indirectly, CK) - can we say that VN was following
>the strictures of the criteria he used in the translation of EO,
>or did he deviate from them in this instance?
>
>
>.....................................................................................
>
>*AS:(quoting Pushkin) ...":lyubov'yu shutit satana(with
>love jokes Satan)."
>CK: I have to disagree with Alexey's usually excellent English
>AS: ...here Carolyn, you disagree with Nabokov's incomparable and
>precise English - for it is his translation.
>
>CK: Satan does not joke lovingly, as is would appear in Alexey's
>translation, but uses love to make fun of humans.
>
>AS: This is exactly what Pushkin is saying.
>Stan Kelly Bootle: Do we have have a common word-order reversal adding
>to the potential ambiguity? SVP (subject verb predicate) in many
>languages can be varied for emphasis. Here we have PVS to stress the
>adverbial predicate ... The object &/or nature of Satan’s
>humour/satire. A comma/pause plus italics may clarify:With love, jokes
>Satan.The preposition WITH remains ambiguous:Satan jokes ABOUT love?
>Or Satan jokes LOVINGLY? Is the Russian dative case-ending lyubov'yu
>equally ambiguous? Regardless of Nabokov’s ‘incomparably precise’
>command of Russian & English, there remain inescapable (often
>fruitful!) NL ambiguities, especially with poetry & aphorisms.Finally:
>Is the ‘epigraph/epigram’ referring to a particular incident (resting
>on subsequent context), or a general accusation about the Devil’s
>indifference to human emotions?
>
>[to SKB: 'Is the Russian dative case-ending lyubov'yu equally
>ambiguous?']
>Jerry Katsell: Certainly there are no lack of ambiguities in VV's
>work, often fruitful, as Stanley Kelly-Bootle states.One thing is
>certain though: lyubov'yu is grammatically feminine with a soft
>consonant ending and thus here in the instrumental, not dative
>case, -- perhaps adding to the adjectival emphasis of the word in
>first position in the phrase.
>Sergei Soloviev [ to SKB]: no, in Russian it is less ambiguous
>(ambiguous variant would require "s lyubov'yu...").
>AS: lyubov'yu is instrumental case. No ambiguity in Russian, despite
>the reversed word order.Ljuba Tarvi lyubov'yu shutit satana. Here is
>this line in the four latest full-text translations of EO:
>
>Tom Beck (2004): for Satan loves а fiendish joke! Stanley Mitchell
>(2008): That Satan plays оn gentlefolk.
>
>Henry Hoyt (2008): Тhе Evil Оnе plays jokes with love. D.M. Thomas
>(2011): For Satan always jokes with love.
>
>
>Google Search the archive Contact the Editors Visit
>"Nabokov Online Journal" Visit Zembla View Nabokv-L Policies Manage subscription
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>
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>co-editors.
>
In reply to JM, I think Nabokov was here faithful to literal
translation, although he forgoes Pushkin's iambic tetrameter except for
the first foot of the line, giving us: "with love jokes Satan" -///-
(one could, I suppose, argue for -/-/-). [/ = stress, - = lack of stress].

In the Russian original the stress goes like this: lyubOv'yu shUtit
satanA, or -/-/---/,
with the stress missing in the third foot and thus providing two
particularly
stressed iambs, the first and the fourth, lending further emphasis to
the lack of ambiguity regarding Satan's toying
with love, which I believe the reversed word order further supports.
Except for Hoyt's line which doesn't scan, all the
other relatively recent translations provided by L. Tarvi translate
the line as regular iambic tetrameter -/-/-/-/ , which makes them
generally monotonous and filled out with filler, stuff not in
Pushkin: "fiendish," "gentlefolk," "always."


Jerry Katsell

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