01 September 2008

Translating Hugo

I spent a relaxing Sunday morning finishing up my last post on the literary allusions in Anne of Green Gables while listening to a fascinating conversation between Rick Kleffel and Julie Rose, translator of Les Misérables (dated 08-07-2008 down near the bottom in his archive).

Their talk included discussion of Les Misérables as an experimental novel, the fact that she had never read it before translating it, the literary crimes of two previous translators--Charles Wilbur and Norman Denny (and it's not the Victorian who gets the harshest criticism), how she lived during the three years (and three drafts) it took to complete, thoughts on the "force of nature" that was Victor Hugo, the importance of new translations due to the rapid evolution of the English language, the role of fundamentalism in the work, its political factors, Hugo's writing process, and the novel's enduring relevance. I was impressed by her sheer love of the text and her confession that for awhile she completed only a paragraph a day. (It was wonderfully affirming.)

1 comment:

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