Thursday, September 16, 2010

Why do we need a new translation of that?

Lydia Davis, having recently finished a new translation of Madame Bovary, answers that question in the Paris Review. How many ways, for instance, has even a single phrase (bouffĂ©es d’affadissement) from Madame Bovary been translated:

gusts of revulsion
a kind of rancid staleness
stale gusts of dreariness
waves of nausea
fumes of nausea
flavorless, sickening gusts
stagnant dreariness
whiffs of sickliness
waves of nauseous disgust


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