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From:
HenHanna <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Vladimir Nabokov Forum <[log in to unmask]>
Date:
Tue, 29 Sep 2020 11:38:47 -0700
Content-Type:
text/plain
Parts/Attachments:
text/plain (360 lines)
> http://www.nytimes.com/1999/09/12/books/lost-in-translation.html
>
> it is Hofstadter's ignorance of English, the English of poetry, that dooms
> his translation. He has absolutely no ear when it comes to mixing levels of
> diction ( . . . .........


this reviewer (in NYTimes)  at least offers a few examples  along with
a blanket  denunciation (see above).        VN denounces the Jp translations
without a single example or anecdote -- i'd say that smacks of arrogance.

I think I've tracked down   all  Jp refs by VN -- and they all seem
stereotypical
and shallow in a 1950's -- 1960's way.        If he'd lived longer,
he'd have made
similar comments about Koreans -- I wonder what kind of stereotypical comments
he'd made.

--- which reminds me...  I should collect Jp refs from George Steiner.


_________________________

I really like this book review article in the NY Times.

This reviewer (in NYTimes)  has put on the VN-ish
 "superior" persona.
-- The [Proud Russian] intellectual  role or persona --
 the [judgemental,   supreme  intellect]  mask  --
is this discussed in Prof.Boyd 2-volume biography?


Which recent critics and writers  have exhibited such
personas ?   -- I can only think of
Ian Buruma,  or   Christopher Hitchens.



On 9/28/20, Alain Champlain <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Priscilla: Thanks for the lovely story.
>
> Brian: Thanks for the correction — however, regarding translations into
> Japanese, is it possible you're thinking specifically of his Russian works?
> Nabokov mentions a Japanese translation of Lolita in his 1964 Playboy
> interview (quoted below), and a quick 'google translation' of the Japanese
> wikipedia page on Lolita mentions a "Japanese edition, 1959 to Yasuo Okubo
> (of
> a borrowed name Yutaka Takahashi )."
>
> Playboy interview: "Well, it occurred to me one day—while I was glancing at
> the varicolored spines of *Lolita* translations into languages I do not
> read, such as Japanese, Finnish or Arabic—that the list of unavoidable
> blunders in these 15 or 20 versions would probably make, if collected, a
> fatter volume than any of them. I had checked the French translation, which
> was basically very good, but would have bristled with unavoidable errors
> had I not corrected them. But what could I do with Portuguese or Hebrew or
> Danish? Then I imagined something else. I imagined that in some distant
> future somebody might produce a Russian version of *Lolita*. I trained my
> inner telescope upon that particular point in the distant future and I saw
> that every paragraph could lend itself to a hideous mistranslation, being
> pock-marked with pitfalls. In the hands of a harmful drudge, the Russian
> version of *Lolita* would be entirely degraded and botched by vulgar
> paraphrases or blunders. So I decided to translate it myself. Up to now I
> have about 60 pages ready."
>
> HenHanna: In addition to Brian's comment, the Strong Opinions quote you've
> highlighted isn't an example of arrogance "toward his Japanese or Chinese
> translators" [not sure how the Turkish version turned into Chinese
> characters] — rather, Nabokov is noting (from experience with the languages
> he knows) how difficult it is to obtain good translations into ANY
> language, and picks Japanese and Turkish (or in Playboy: Japanese, Finish,
> Arabic, Portuguese, Hebrew, Danish) arbitrarily as examples of languages he
> doesn't read. No arrogance necessary.
>
> Thanks,
>
>
> Alain
>
>
> On Mon, Sep 28, 2020 at 2:29 AM Brian Boyd <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>
>> Yes, it's a lovely memoir. But inaccurate: Bleak House was only one text
>> in a year-long course.
>>
>> Plummer has almost always struck me as an inept actor, and never more so
>> than as Nabokov (not helped in this case by weak direction).
>>
>> If there had been well-attested anecdotes about VN being rude or
>> insulting
>> to a slow or lazy student I would have reported them. In his European
>> fiction course, in which Ruth Bader studied, he was teaching in classes
>> of
>> 150 to 300 and would not have known most students individually. In
>> smaller
>> classes the reports are uniformly of his playful and cajoling ways.
>>
>> As for racism, Nabokov always challenged rather than exhibited it.
>>
>> During his lifetime VN did not have any translations into Chinese (the
>> Cultural Revolution seethed through most of the years of his fame) and
>> only
>> three books translated into Japanese, one in 1972 (Mashenka), and two
>> others (Kinq, Queen, Knave and Invitation to a Beheading) in 1977; by the
>> time the latter two were being prepared, Nabokov was mostly ill in
>> hospital. Since he had no knowledge of Japanese he had in any case no
>> reason to be involved any more than in translations into Norwegian or
>> Bengali.
>>
>> Brian Boyd
>>
>> ________________________________________
>> From: Vladimir Nabokov Forum <[log in to unmask]> on behalf of
>> HenHanna <[log in to unmask]>
>> Sent: Sunday, 27 September 2020 6:03 a.m.
>> To: [log in to unmask]
>> Subject: Re: [NABOKV-L] Former student's Memory of Nabokov's teaching at
>> Cornell
>>
>>            Thank you...   This is such a treat !
>>
>> I didn't realize that [Bleak House]  was a whole semester, and not
>> just a unit in a semester.
>>
>> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1jX7_pZ-AzU
>> The Metamorphosis - A Study: Nabokov on Kafka (1989) Christopher Plummer
>>
>>
>>  So it seems that Nabokov was charming and funny, in a way that's
>> much more subdued and subtle than as portrayed by Christopher Plummer.
>>
>>  I'd love to hear her (the former student's) impressions of
>>  what aspects  of  VN's  style or demeanor   Plummer  _did_ capture.
>> __________________
>>
>>  I wonder...      Are there any anecdotes about VN
>>         being rude or insulting to a slow or lazy student ?
>>
>>  ( Racist   remarks that white American ("liberal") professors
>>     made  to my face   are among my most unforgettable memories. )
>>
>> __________________
>>
>>  I probably mentioned this before, but  OF particular interest to me
>> is  VN 's  attitude toward his translators.    A passage in [Strong
>> Opinions]
>> suggests that he might have been arrogant toward his Japanese or Chinese
>> translators.
>>
>> But I tend to think that his "superior" persona   was  mostly an act.
>> -- the [Proud Russian] intellectual  (role)  that he was playing
>> because that was what the readers want to see.
>>
>> Passages from Prof. Boyd's 2-volume biography indicated to me
>> that VN was quite patient with his European translators,
>> never abusive or insulting.
>>
>>
>>
>> On 9/25/20, Priscilla Meyer <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>> > The grandmother of one of my students sent him her memories of studying
>> with
>> > Nabokov. She has graciously permitted me to post it (anonymously, "out
>> > of
>> > shyness"). Note particularly the last paragraph.
>> >
>> > To My Grandson:
>> >
>> > I am so pleased to hear you are reading Nabokov. I took a class with
>> > him
>> in
>> > 1950, in the Spring of my sophomore year at Cornell. It was not a
>> > course
>> on
>> > his own work or other Russian literature. It was titled: The Thematic
>> Lines
>> > in Charles Dickens’ Bleak House.
>> >
>> > He was of some renown then, but was not yet the towering figure he
>> > would
>> > become. He had written only two novels in English to date, The Real
>> > Life
>> of
>> > Sebastian Knight which we knew quite well, and a dystopian novel called
>> Bend
>> > Sinister which none of us had read at the time. I should expect that
>> > Ms.
>> > Meyer has had the privilege of reading some of his earlier works in the
>> > original Russian. I have since gone back and enjoyed many of them in
>> English
>> > and French, but I doubt they read perfectly as intended.
>> >
>> > As a professor, he was quite aloof. I can see him now in my mind’s eye
>> > seeming rather eccentric, always moving about the room, pacing
>> relentlessly.
>> > He was rarely at ease. Not a patient man, he took joy in improving the
>> > understanding his students possessed about literature, but was not
>> > always
>> > kind in his approach.
>> > His wife, Vera, sat in the front row for every class. It was rather
>> unusual,
>> > but her presence seemed to calm him. At the precise moment a smile from
>> > Professor Nabokov could have warmed up the room, it was often his wife
>> who
>> > would adjust her shoulders a half turn and offer a warm beam to the
>> > room
>> as
>> > if to say her husband was doing his best.
>> >
>> > In class, Nabokov would rarely speak of his career. Once, however, in
>> > disciplining a student who had been unable to produce the required
>> > piece
>> for
>> > the day and cited poor working conditions in his flat as an excuse,
>> Nabakov
>> > explained to the young man that he wrote Sebastian Knight in the
>> bathroom of
>> > his Paris apartment, using a bidet as a makeshift desk, so surely
>> > writing
>> > can take place under most any condition.
>> > I can say there was one student of whom Nabokov was rather fond. It was
>> my
>> > friend Ruth, whom I had gone to grade school with and was taking this
>> class
>> > as a Freshman at Cornell. Ruth was amongst the brightest in the class,
>> but
>> > beyond her intelligence, she seemed to understand how displaced he
>> > felt,
>> so
>> > far from home, she being the daughter of Russian Jewish immigrants
>> herself.
>> > I remember being somewhat jealous of the attention my friend received,
>> but
>> > genius has a way of finding genius, and this was no exception. Four
>> > years
>> > later, my friend Ruth Bader got married and became Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
>> > Thirty-nine years after that, she was nominated to the United States
>> Supreme
>> > Court.
>> >
>> > Anyhow, I do hope you enjoy Pale Fire!
>> >
>> > All my love,
>> > Your Adoring Grandmother
>> >
>> > Search archive with Google:
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>> >
>> > Contact the Editors:
>> > mailto:[log in to unmask],[log in to unmask],
>> [log in to unmask]
>> >  Zembla: http://www.libraries.psu.edu/nabokov/zembla.htm
>> > Nabokov Studies: https://muse.jhu.edu/journal/257
>> > Chercheurs Enchantes:
>> > http://www.vladimir-nabokov.org/association/chercheurs-enchantes/73
>> > Nabokv-L policies: http://web.utk.edu/~sblackwe/EDNote.htm
>> > Nabokov Online Journal:" http://www.nabokovonline.com
>> > AdaOnline: "http://www.ada.auckland.ac.nz/
>> > The Nabokov Society of Japan's Annotations to Ada:
>> > http://vnjapan.org/main/ada/index.html
>> > The VN Bibliography Blog: http://vnbiblio.com/
>> > Dieter Zimmer Website: http://www.d-e-zimmer.de/index.htm
>> > Search the archive with L-Soft:
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>> Contact the Editors: mailto:[log in to unmask],[log in to unmask],
>> [log in to unmask]
>>  Zembla: http://www.libraries.psu.edu/nabokov/zembla.htm
>> Nabokov Studies: https://muse.jhu.edu/journal/257
>> Chercheurs Enchantes:
>> http://www.vladimir-nabokov.org/association/chercheurs-enchantes/73
>> Nabokv-L
>> <http://www.vladimir-nabokov.org/association/chercheurs-enchantes/73Nabokv-L>
>> policies: http://web.utk.edu/~sblackwe/EDNote.htm
>> Nabokov Online Journal:" http://www.nabokovonline.com
>> AdaOnline: "http://www.ada.auckland.ac.nz/
>> The Nabokov Society of Japan's Annotations to Ada:
>> http://vnjapan.org/main/ada/index.html
>> The VN Bibliography Blog: http://vnbiblio.com/
>> Dieter Zimmer Website: http://www.d-e-zimmer.de/index.htm
>> Search the archive with L-Soft:
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>> Contact the Editors: mailto:[log in to unmask],[log in to unmask],
>> [log in to unmask]
>>  Zembla: http://www.libraries.psu.edu/nabokov/zembla.htm
>> Nabokov Studies: https://muse.jhu.edu/journal/257
>> Chercheurs Enchantes:
>> http://www.vladimir-nabokov.org/association/chercheurs-enchantes/73
>> Nabokv-L
>> <http://www.vladimir-nabokov.org/association/chercheurs-enchantes/73Nabokv-L>
>> policies: http://web.utk.edu/~sblackwe/EDNote.htm
>> Nabokov Online Journal:" http://www.nabokovonline.com
>> AdaOnline: "http://www.ada.auckland.ac.nz/
>> The Nabokov Society of Japan's Annotations to Ada:
>> http://vnjapan.org/main/ada/index.html
>> The VN Bibliography Blog: http://vnbiblio.com/
>> Dieter Zimmer Website: http://www.d-e-zimmer.de/index.htm
>> Search the archive with L-Soft:
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>
> Search archive with Google:
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>
> Contact the Editors:
> mailto:[log in to unmask],[log in to unmask],[log in to unmask]
>  Zembla: http://www.libraries.psu.edu/nabokov/zembla.htm
> Nabokov Studies: https://muse.jhu.edu/journal/257
> Chercheurs Enchantes:
> http://www.vladimir-nabokov.org/association/chercheurs-enchantes/73
> Nabokv-L policies: http://web.utk.edu/~sblackwe/EDNote.htm
> Nabokov Online Journal:" http://www.nabokovonline.com
> AdaOnline: "http://www.ada.auckland.ac.nz/
> The Nabokov Society of Japan's Annotations to Ada:
> http://vnjapan.org/main/ada/index.html
> The VN Bibliography Blog: http://vnbiblio.com/
> Dieter Zimmer Website: http://www.d-e-zimmer.de/index.htm
> Search the archive with L-Soft:
> https://listserv.ucsb.edu/lsv-cgi-bin/wa?A0=NABOKV-L
>
> Manage subscription options
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Contact the Editors: mailto:[log in to unmask],[log in to unmask],[log in to unmask]
 Zembla: http://www.libraries.psu.edu/nabokov/zembla.htm
Nabokov Studies: https://muse.jhu.edu/journal/257
Chercheurs Enchantes: http://www.vladimir-nabokov.org/association/chercheurs-enchantes/73
Nabokv-L policies: http://web.utk.edu/~sblackwe/EDNote.htm
Nabokov Online Journal:" http://www.nabokovonline.com
AdaOnline: "http://www.ada.auckland.ac.nz/
The Nabokov Society of Japan's Annotations to Ada: http://vnjapan.org/main/ada/index.html
The VN Bibliography Blog: http://vnbiblio.com/
Dieter Zimmer Website: http://www.d-e-zimmer.de/index.htm
Search the archive with L-Soft: https://listserv.ucsb.edu/lsv-cgi-bin/wa?A0=NABOKV-L

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