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18-1-2017 23:01:54  #21


Re: Books, books and more books!

I think I'll just stick to "Fantastic Voyage," the Sunday funnies, and whatever letters I write to my friends and my girlfriend.  'Night, all!


Underwood--Speeds the World's Bidness
 

19-1-2017 05:14:51  #22


Re: Books, books and more books!

I hesitate to say I have any all-time favourite books or authors, as my tastes have changed so often over time. In my late teens I loved SciFi and favourites included The Hitchhiker's Guide series and Dune. In my early twenties I grappled with big, literary works like Ulysses and Gravity's RainbowIn my late twenties I favoured fiction in translation: Borges, García Marquez, Georges Perec,  and so on. In my thirties, I got into Haruki Murakami, Javier Marías & Thomas Bernhard, but as that decade wore on, I read less fiction and more about history & art. For a few years in my mid-forties I barely read at all. Recently I've been reading quite a bit by mid-20th-century British women authors I'd previously overlooked: Shirley Jackson, Muriel Spark, Sylvia Townsend Warner & Barbara Comyns: fantastic stuff! 'Best ever' lists can be one way of discovering books via the enthusiastic recommendation of others., but beyond that, I don't take them seriously. I very seldom read novels or short stories more than once, but, as the years pass and my memory worsens, perhaps I will do that more often!

 

19-1-2017 10:00:35  #23


Re: Books, books and more books!

Repartee wrote:

... but meanwhile, returning to the original topic... If in some alternate universe I were fluent in Spanish and been given the task to translate into English a book with strong regional dialects which would have been understood as such by a Spanish reader, I'm wondering how I might render such a thing?

The only good answer I can come up with is to invent some dialect or accent in English which embodied some characteristics of the Spanish dialect and did not sound too much like any English dialect. If the Spanish dialect broadened all the vowels then my English equivalent might do the same, but at the same time should not sound like a recognizable English language accent which might imply, for example, that they were speaking Spanish with a Scottish accent, for example (hair raising thought!).

Translating is hard enough without pouring accents in the mix! Your suggestion is a good attempt at preserving the essence of the original, but it´s really complex. We have a saying which goes like this: traducción es traición (translation is betrayal), meaning that it´s impossible to convey everything from the source to the target. You´re bound to make changes, both forced and accidental. In many cases you just have to reach a middle point between fidelity to the original and naturaily in the target language. For example, bad translations reek of the original language, and many times we see how English speaking actors talk like idiots when dubbed in Spanish, because the translation they use is absolutely unnatural.

From Hell (masterpiece by Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell) is a great example of what to do. Many characters sport a really thick accent, and in the translation it´s reflected as a Spanish low-culture, very "poor" accent. It respects the essence, but not the form. As they speak, curse and make extensive use of profanity, they use pure Spanish ways, portraying the environment all these people have the disgrace to live in. But the speech is the total opposite. In Spanish it´s much more open, not mentioning the intonation. But it works! In fact, the Spanish edition of the comic has a 100-page appendix with notes, and many of them are translation notes. The translator says he was in permanent contact with Alan Moore, and asked him what did he exactly mean with this and that. IMO, he did a great job, as Terry Pratchett translators (who by the way have a great time doing so).

Repartee wrote:

I believe writing in accents is considered poor taste by some and some accents are absolutely unacceptable for contemporary English but preserved by such authors as Mark Twain, who wrote southern slave dialect. As did William Tecumseh Sherman! I enjoyed his memoirs - one of the trio of Union officers whose lives would have ended in obscurity had not a good bloody war given them a chance to work in the metier for which they had been trained, and write about it.

Accents are very real, and I don´t see why it´s considered poor taste. I mean, you´re absolutely right, but I can´t fathom why are they of a lower class. I´ve read a bit of Mark Twain, but I´ve to admit I´m quite weak in North American literature. I can´t really tell much about how he preserves the southern accent, but I´ll try to solve that .

In Spain, the best example of thick accent taken to the top of literature is Camilo José Cela. A Nobel laureate, but he represents the WORST of Spanish literature. But until the 50´s he was a damn good writer, and with The Family of Pascual Duarte he did his best. From the 70´s onwards, he behaved like a total, f****** as****le. He went as far as stealing a full novel in order to win the Planeta prize. But back to the topic! Thing is the Family of Pascual Duarte is a perfect picture of marginal and poor people, uncompromising and usually quite grotesque. Too realistic, in fact. But it´s a great example of how a book plagued with thick accent can send you to the Nobel prize. A pity Cela was such an idiot... And that´s not only my personal opionion, it´s widespread.

Conclussion: Translation is an engrossing aspect of literature. I´m quite involved in it because after all that´s what I was (partially) trained for. A good translation is invisible and real at the same time. Much like Flaubert´s hand!

P.S.: From Hell is a comic about a deranged guy killing and dismembering women. Another example of how I enjoy seeing women getting murdered. (ironic mode off).
 


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19-1-2017 13:29:39  #24


Re: Books, books and more books!

Javi wrote:

From Hell is a comic about a deranged guy killing and dismembering women. 

Alan Moore is a fantastic writer, and it would be selling his work short to describe From Hell as a mere comic. Those unfamiliar with the medium of graphic novels would probably never pick one up if they thought the quality of the writing was on par with some superhero yarn. This particular graphic novel, which inspired the film that starred Johnny Depp and Ian Holm, was well researched and it's actually about Jack the Ripper.
 


"To save time is to lengthen life."
 

19-1-2017 14:34:22  #25


Re: Books, books and more books!

Uwe wrote:

Javi wrote:

From Hell is a comic about a deranged guy killing and dismembering women. 

Alan Moore is a fantastic writer, and it would be selling his work short to describe From Hell as a mere comic. Those unfamiliar with the medium of graphic novels would probably never pick one up if they thought the quality of the writing was on par with some superhero yarn. This particular graphic novel, which inspired the film that starred Johnny Depp and Ian Holm, was well researched and it's actually about Jack the Ripper.
 

 
Bullseye! Comics are far more than mere mass produced superheroes. From Hell is the first Graphic novel I read, probably ten years ago or so. I bumped into it at the local library, started skimming over it and when I came back to the Earth a few hours had passed. I couldn't put it down, and it's  guilty of infecting me with the comic disease. Not only Alan Moore wrote a masterpiece, but also Eddie Campbell's drawing matches perfectly. The chapter about Druitt is just... Wow. And it has to be read more than once. In fact, I'd say comics can be read as many times as you want, just for the aesthetic pleasure. And of course, sucessive readings dig up more and more little details.

The don't call comic the Ninth Art just because it sounds good. Comics are art, as cinema is.


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19-1-2017 18:54:13  #26


Re: Books, books and more books!

Javi wrote:

Comics are far more than mere mass produced superheroes. From Hell is the first Graphic novel I read, probably ten years ago or so. I bumped into it at the local library, started skimming over it and when I came back to the Earth a few hours had passed. I couldn't put it down, and it's guilty of infecting me with the comic disease. Not only Alan Moore wrote a masterpiece, but also Eddie Campbell's drawing matches perfectly. The chapter about Druitt is just... Wow. And it has to be read more than once. In fact, I'd say comics can be read as many times as you want, just for the aesthetic pleasure. And of course, sucessive readings dig up more and more little details.

The don't call comic the Ninth Art just because it sounds good. Comics are art, as cinema is.

And again, wow. I admit my unexamined (I stress unexamined) prejudice is that comics are low brow and that only adults with some developmental disorder would be caught reading one. They have some commonality with children's books - heavy illustration and light prosody - but beyond the speech balloons the style and content of illustration and text is of course much different. Though when I think of it I don't see why a serious work could not use the format of children's books as well as the comic. Your last sentence makes me reexamine my unspoken assumption - why indeed should they not be art, being a combination of graphic images and dialogue?

Don't want to stir up trouble (unless I do in my inner demonic mind), but I notice you and Uwe are saying different things : he is keeping a distinction between the artistic part of the genre and "mere comics" or "superhero yarns", whereas you are more inclusive. I have a few comics bought as an adult - some issues of "Submarine Attack" which reflect my interest in subs rather than comics - but I have never cracked the covers. Not only will I read them now but proudly, because I am reading art!  
 


"Damn the torpedoes! Four bells, Captain Drayton".
 

20-1-2017 07:28:04  #27


Re: Books, books and more books!

Repartee wrote:

Don't want to stir up trouble (unless I do in my inner demonic mind), but I notice you and Uwe are saying different things : he is keeping a distinction between the artistic part of the genre and "mere comics" or "superhero yarns", whereas you are more inclusive. I have a few comics bought as an adult - some issues of "Submarine Attack" which reflect my interest in subs rather than comics - but I have never cracked the covers. Not only will I read them now but proudly, because I am reading art!  
 

There are good superhero comics as well, but most of them just aren´t. They´re mass produced, hastily thrown on the streets to "cover the demand". A demand for poor material, I wonder?
This is something I keep arguing with a friend who is a big fan of superhero comics. He puts it like this: What whould you prefer? Having one good story each year or having 12 stories which aren´t as good, but keep you entertained?

I´ll stick to the former. Besides, there are enough good comics out there to spend a thousand lives reading them. No need to get a new Iron Man copycat each month. First they had Iron Man, then they had to add War Machine (which is the same but in black), and now they´ve made an Iron Woman, impersonated by a 15 year old crossing between Leonardo da Vinci and Rhianna. Come on, is that what you call good comics?!

That kind of stuff is what makes poeple think all comics are worthless. But take 1602, some of the best stuff Marvel has blurted out. Or Sandman, if you prefer DC. Or if you´re into manga, get Akira. Or... way too many things to list them all. There´s not enough time to enjoy everything!
 


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20-1-2017 19:33:45  #28


Re: Books, books and more books!

I remember as a youth, I would spend hours and hours at the local library--but not to read the literary prowess of the heavyweight authors such as Erskine Caldwell, Margaret Mitchell, Leo Tolstoy, or even Charles Dickens.  Nor did I prefer the ancient musings of Aesop, Plato, Socrates, or even Aristotle.  I didn't even go to admire the paintings and portraits they had there--which were many and varied.

I went to the library so I could go down to the basement floor to the room where they had the Reader's Guide to Periodical Literature.  It was a tool I had learned about in Junior High School.  Didn't think much about it then (when you're 15, all the stuff grownups teach is thought to be absolutely useless and out of date).  Well, out of date most or all the literature within this Reader's Guide may be--but most certainly not useless--as I learned later in my years.  In fact, I found it entertaining.  It's like perusing through a bunch of old magazines someone has in an attic somewhere.  That is exactly what it is--only it was on the basement floor.  What you do is go to one of the reference guides, look up a topic you want to read something about, and it will tell you the magazines you can find out about it in, including the date and page numbers where it can be found within the magazine or magazines.  Sometimes, I just like to skip the Guide and go straight to the hardbound magazines and peruse through certain years to see what people read, say, in 1959, or 1968.  I have found several refrigerators they sold back in 1953, as well as a few ads for manual and electric typewriters and adding machines they had available at the same time.  It was also in the same magazine that Oldsmobile offered air-conditioning in their cars courtesy of Frigidaire.

It's quite a history lesson that can be had in this wonderful room full of old magazines they had hardbound into volumes.  I even found a very interesting article about sharks in a 1968 issue of the National Geographic magazine (not sure of the month, but I think it's February--about 6 months before I was born that year).


Underwood--Speeds the World's Bidness
 

21-1-2017 10:51:13  #29


Re: Books, books and more books!

Wuthering Heights - Yorkshire, not Scotland.  With heavy dialect and desolate moors (are there other kinds?) my confusion may be understood. Dartmoor, The Hound of the Baskervilles, Wurthering Heights... are there some extensive and desolate moors left or have all have been reclaimed like filled wetland?

I came upon an obscure essay by an obscure 19th Century English academic called "The Silent Isle". The "Isle" was a town in the moors set on a slight rise so that it was an island in the sea of moors. The essay gave the title to a collection of his essays so I thought that it was really the introductory chapter to a book about this isolated place... but it was merely a clever throw away conceit in a book of vacant essays on a kind of NY Times Op-Ed page note. That's why he was an obscure academic and this was not an unexpected gem.  The title promised more.
 


"Damn the torpedoes! Four bells, Captain Drayton".
 

21-1-2017 11:14:14  #30


Re: Books, books and more books!

misteraitch wrote:

I very seldom read novels or short stories more than once, but, as the years pass and my memory worsens, perhaps I will do that more often!

For me to reread a book it must have given me a certain kind of pleasure which I hope to rekindle. I read "Out of the Silent Planet" at least three time - there is something about his treatment of Merlin  - but probably will not again, I enjoyed some Dostoevsky and Tolstoy but they will not be getting even a second pass and despite our enlightening discussion of Madame Bovary I definitely will not be rereading it! I just cannot dredge up enough interest to decide for myself if it is a great and pathbreaking work in novelistic realism or a colossal scam job. When I hear "important" I reach for my Submarine Attack comic, and when a book loses my interest in midstream I don't hesitate to drop it half-read -- there is no virtue of completing it as if it were an obstacle course, it's just a species of entertainment.


"Damn the torpedoes! Four bells, Captain Drayton".
 

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