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Clarity of the Unidentified

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1870 [Aug. 15th, 2005|12:42 pm]
Clarity of the Unidentified
I went off with my hands in my torn coat pockets; my overcoat too was becoming ideal; I travelled beneath the sky, Muse! and I was your vassal; oh dear me! what marvellous loves I dreamed of!
My only pair of breeches had a big hole in them. — Stragazing Tom Thumb, I sowed my rhymes along the way. My tavern was at the Sign of the Great Bear. — My stars in the sky rustled softly.
And I listened to them, sitting on the road-sides on those pleasant September evenings while I felt drops of dew on my forehead like vigorous wine;
and while, rhyming among the fantastical shadows, I plucked the strings of a lyre the elastics of my tattered boots, one foot close to my heart!

»My Bohemian Existence«
A. Rimbaud
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plus lynx [Aug. 5th, 2005|05:04 pm]
Clarity of the Unidentified

I have another link of interest:

There you can see a project near & dear to our hearts, the Alan Edwards translation of Mallarmé's L’après-midi d’un faune. (To those who wonder why my screen name says "apres" & "du faun," remember, I had a fifteen letter limit.) I'd like to ask what anyone thinks of this translation, as compared to say C. F. MacIntyre's (non merci!) or Henry Weinfield's (pas mal).

Pervesely, I have been trying my own hand at it. But it's nowhere near substantial. Like those nymphs.
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(no subject) [Jul. 30th, 2005|06:50 pm]
Clarity of the Unidentified

Here is Stephane Mallarmé's translation of Poe's Annabel Lee . I don't know enough French to pick up on the subtleties of Mallarmé's version; so I was wondering what you could observe in it:

Annabel Lee

Il y a mainte et mainte année, dans un royaume près de la mer, vivait une jeune fille, que vous pouvez connaître par son nom d'Annabel Lee: et cette jeune fille ne vivait avec aucune autre pensée que d'aimer et d'être aimée de moi.

J'étias un enfant, et elle était un enfant, dans ce royaume près de la mer; mais nous nous aimions d'un amour qui était plus que l'amour, -moi et mon Annabel Lee; d'un amour que les séraphins ailés des cieux convoitaient à elle et à moi.

Et ce fut la raison qu'il y a longtemps, - un vent souffla d'un nuage, glaçant ma belle Annabel Lee; de sorte que ses proches de haute lignée vinrent et me l'enlevèrent, pour l'enfermer dans un sépulcre, en ce royaume près de la mer.

Les anges, pas à moitié si heureux aux cieux, vinrent, nous enviant, elle et moi - Oui! ce fut la raison (comme tous les hommes le savent dans ce royaume près de la mer) pourquoi le vent sortit du nuage la nuit, glaçant et tuant mon Annabel Lee.

Car la lune jamais ne rayonne sans m'apporter des songes de la belle Annabel Lee; et les étoiles jamais ne se lèvent que je ne sente les yeux brillants de la belle Annabel Lee; et ainsi, toute l'heure de la nuit, je repose à côté de ma chérie, - de ma chérie, - ma vie e tmon épouse, dans ce sépulcre près de la mer, dans sa tombe près de la bruyante mer.

Mais, pour notre amour, il était plus fort de tout un monde que l'amour de ceux plus âgés que nous; - de plusieurs de tout un monde plus sages que nous, - et ni les anges là-haut dans les cieux ni les démons sous la mer ne peuvent jamais disjoindre mon âme de l'âme de la très belle Annabel Lee.


It was many and many a year ago,
In a kingdom by the sea,
That a maiden there lived whom you may know
By the name of ANNABEL LEE;
And this maiden she lived with no other thought
Than to love and be loved by me.

I was a child and she was a child,
In this kingdom by the sea;
But we loved with a love that was more than love-
I and my Annabel Lee;
With a love that the winged seraphs of heaven
Coveted her and me.

And this was the reason that, long ago,
In this kingdom by the sea,
A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling
My beautiful Annabel Lee;
So that her highborn kinsman came
And bore her away from me,
To shut her up in a sepulchre
In this kingdom by the sea.

The angels, not half so happy in heaven,
Went envying her and me-
Yes!- that was the reason (as all men know,
In this kingdom by the sea)
That the wind came out of the cloud by night,
Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee.

But our love it was stronger by far than the love
Of those who were older than we-
Of many far wiser than we-
And neither the angels in heaven above,
Nor the demons down under the sea,
Can ever dissever my soul from the soul
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee.

For the moon never beams without bringing me dreams
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And the stars never rise but I feel the bright eyes
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side
Of my darling- my darling- my life and my bride,
In the sepulchre there by the sea,
In her tomb by the sounding sea.
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Baudelaire's Lethe [Jul. 29th, 2005|05:05 pm]
Clarity of the Unidentified

One of the poems excised from the 1857 edition of les Fleurs du Mal.

LetheCollapse )
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lynx [Jul. 27th, 2005|08:43 am]
Clarity of the Unidentified

this is just to draw
your attention to a photo
posted in lj of verlaine...

it's drawn few comments of interest,
but it's good to see his face
bantered about. I mention a poem
"La Tete de Paul Verlaine"
by Jean-Michel Maulpoix,
which I have in a book called
ORPHEE STUDIO, Poesie d'aujourdhui a voix haute (1999).

While I'm at it, I wanted to share this link:

a dead or near-death experience, where I've posted
several files. You may be interested. The few
who still look in at that site would love
to have fresh blood, fresh postings.
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Baudelaire's Martyr [Jul. 25th, 2005|05:16 pm]
Clarity of the Unidentified

‘Midst flasks & fabrics of opulence,
a voluptuous décor,
portraits, figurines, & scented gowns
cascading to the floor...

of a languid boudoir, its hothouse air
as dangerous as death,
where wan bouquets in glass coffinware
exhale one final breath,
Read more...Collapse )
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Harmonie du soir [Jul. 24th, 2005|03:22 pm]
Clarity of the Unidentified

I have taken two stanzas from Charles Bauderlaire's Harmonie du soir , to compare and contrast two translations.

Voici venir les temps où vibrant sur sa tige
Chaque fleur s'évapore ainsi qu'un encensoir;
Les sons et les parfums tournent dans l'air du soir;
Valse mélancolique et langoureux vertige!

Le violon frémit comme un coeur qu'on afflige,
Un coeur tendre, qui hait le néant vaste et noir!
Le ciel est triste et beau comme un grand reposoir;
Le soleil s'est noyé dans son sang qui se fige.

Version A , by William Rees
Now is the time when, vibrating on its stem, each flower exhales itself in vapour like a censer; sounds and scents wheel around in the evening air; melancholy waltz and languorous vertigo!
The violin shudders like an afflicted heart, a tender heart, that loathes the great black void! The sky is sad and beautiful like a great processional altar; the sun has drowned in its own congealing blood.

Version B , by Cat Nilan
Now comes the time when, trembling on its stem,
Each flower exhales like an incense burner;
Sounds and perfumes turn in the evening air;
Melancholy waltz and languid intoxication!

The violin quivers like a distressed heart,
A tender heart that hates the vast, black void!
The sky is sad and beautiful like a great altar;
The sun has drowned in its congealing blood.

* * *

In the first line, there seems to be a temporal difference between version A and B: for A, the time has already arrived (“now is the time”); for version B, the time is perhaps just arriving (“now comes the time”); though perhaps these may mean the same thing. However, version B’s “come” produces more of a sense of progression, which I think is in tune with the rest of the stanza. The original has venir , which is more like “comes”.

In version A the flowers are “vibrating” on their stems; in B they are “trembling”. The original has vibrant , so I prefer A’s “vibrating”.

Version A has a tough time with line 2: “each flower exhales itself in vapour like a censer”. Version B flows more naturally, “Each flower exhales like an incense burner”. Yet version A, I think, captures the fact that they exhale themselves , i.e. that it is a transitive verb, s’évapore ; and B’s “incense burner" is quite crude. A’s “censer” sounds much nicer, and is in the original.

In line 3, A has “scents” for parfums ; B has “perfumes”. The word could mean either. In A, they “wheel around in” the air; in B, they simply “turn” in it. Again A is more descriptive.

For line 4, version A translates the original’s vertige as “vertigo”. B daringly, I would think, uses “intoxication”.

In the 3rd stanza, the violin “shudders” in version A; in B, it “quivers”. I like “quivers” better for frémit . In line 2, version B changes removes the comma between tendre, qui , while A remains faithful. In A, the heart “loathes the great black void”; in B, it “hates the vast, black void”, which unquestionably is truer.

In line 3, A again uses a rather clumsy “great processional altar”; B has only “great altar”. I have no idea where A gets “processional” from.

Both translations close this stanza alike. Which do you like best?
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