June 20, 2005

the Adolescent

All of Friday's talk about this blog's namesake made me think, "Hey. The new translation of this book is supposed to be jaw-droppingly amazing. I should probably check it out sometime." It's not like with Proust, where the translations are done in shifts, and there's a debate between stuffiness vs. stylism. The new translation is, at least to the best of my knowledge, universally acclaimed. I checked out the book from the library, and made some headway with it, but I'm not sure what I think of it, yet.

It's probably a sign that I'm still not up to par after the recent heartbreak (haha, get it?) and drama that I'm having difficulties reading the translation. It's a good translation, to be sure, but it's not seizing me like it did the first time I read the book.

I'll let you judge for yourself the translation job.

Here is the sentence, from the original translation, which inspired this blog.
I have suddenly realized that if I had a single reader he would certainly be laughing at me as a most ridiculous raw youth, still stupidly innocent, putting himself forward to discuss and criticize what he knows nothing about.

And here is that sentence, retranslated.
It has just occured to me that if I had at least one reader, he would probably burst out laughing at me, as at a most ridiculous adolescent who, having preserved his stupid innocence, barges with his reasons and solutions into things he doesn't understand.

I think I like the first translation better. I like how the realization is 'sudden,' and I have a obvious fondness for the phrase 'ridiculous raw youth.' But both are good works, worth a look.
Here lies a most ridiculous raw youth, indulging himself in the literary graces that he once vowed to eschew. Now he just rocks out.