Sunday, October 30, 2011

being someone else in another language

The other week I noticed for sale a volume with the title L'Habitude d'Etre. After a second it struck me that this was to say The Habit of Being, the letters of Flannery O'Connor, and a second look confirmed it. I was a bit hurried, and despite the mild curiosity to see how the translator dealt with such phrases as "bob wire" or "skirted and beretta-ed simmernarians", I did not get a chance to check.

O'Connor was steadily translated during her lifetime; several of the letters mention her French translator Maurice Coindreau. There is also the the letter of March 4, 1962, the excerpt from which ends
The German translation of the stories is apparently doing very well. Every week I get a batch of gibberish-reviews that I can't of course read. A German friend of mine here who teaches at the college read the translation and said it was a schizafrenic (sp?) experience for her to read about General Tennessee Flintrock Sash in German. She thought the translation was a good one. Someone else is doing the novel. It it a very odd feeling this of being someone else in another language. . . .

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