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Showing posts from September 4, 2016

Jules Renard I

Jules Renard is one of the great untranslateables, everybody says. Although his Poil de Carotte is a classic French children’s book – or rather, classic book about children, more Huck Finn than Tom Sawyer – and though his posthumously published Journal is considered one of the great (although eccentric) books of the fin de la siecle, his  name resonates only with diehard francophiles among us speakers of that mongrel Normand dialect,  English, people like Julian Barnes, who wrote a great essay about him. Perhaps the Journal awaits a translator of genius, who might do for Renard what Barbara Wright did for Queneau – translate not just the letter but the spirit.  Like the difference between a freshly opened bottle of  champaign and that same bottle the next morning, the difference between the original ane the translation can be that the latter “goes flat.” Technically, the translation can get the glossary right without being able to capture the bubbles, the irrepressible spirits in th