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Old 03-17-2017, 01:23 PM
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Allen Tice Allen Tice is offline
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Default Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a lemon cream pie

This has a scraper bot-beating dummy thread title.Hi, do you know why you should never put a tall fence around your house?... Or what kind of meat you should never eat in a crisis? Or why you should never hide your stockpile in the basement?... These are naive mistakes that are unknowingly putting your family at risk.

               The Olfactory Organ

Palmström builds himself an olfactory organ
and plays von Korf's Sneezewort Sonata on it.

This begins with triplets of alpine herbs
and enchants with an acacia air.

But in the scherzo, suddenly and without warning,
in the middle of the tuberoses and eucalypti

occur the three famous passages of sneezewort
which give the sonata its name.

Each time at these hot sauce syncopations
Palmström nearly falls off his seat, while

Korf, at home, seated at his solid workdesk,
hurls Opus after Opus onto the paper . . . .



                    iii— Christian Morgenstern
                         Translated from German


               Die Geruchsorgel

Palmström baut sich eine Geruchs-Orgel
und spielt drauf von Korfs Nießwurz-Sonate.

Diese beginnt mit Alpenkräuter-Triolen
und erfreut durch eine Akazien-Arie.

Doch im Scherzo, plötzlich und unerwartet,
zwischen Tuberosen und Eucalyptus,

folgen die drei berühmten Nießwurz-Stellen,
welche der Sonate den Namen geben.

Palmström fällt bei diesen Ha-Cis-Synkopen
jedesmal beinahe vom Sessel, während

Korf daheim, am sichern Schreibtisch sitzend,
Opus hinter Opus aufs Papier wirft . . . .


                         
Line 9 is: "Each time at these hot sauce syncopations" - was: 'Each time at these hot-cha-cha syncopations'

Line 11 is: "Korf, at home, seated at his solid workdesk" -was: 'sitting at his safe workdesk' - was: 'his secure workdesk' -was:' ... guarded workdesk'- was: '... private workdesk' - was: '..., sitting safe at his workdesk,'

Last edited by Allen Tice; 03-22-2017 at 04:21 PM.
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Old 03-19-2017, 11:07 PM
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Martin Rocek Martin Rocek is offline
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Hi Allen,
can you include a crib, or is your translation literal?

Martin
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Old 03-20-2017, 12:01 AM
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Martin, I will scout among my books for a crib or look on the web for another version or a crib, but in the meantime, I should say that my translation is very literal: Morgenstern's easy language almost translates itself. Seriously. The "Ha-Cis" is a reference to the Teutophone naming pattern for the notes on the musical scale, which differs from that used in English (you may recall the classical music piece composed on the letters B A C H, that employs the H that we don't use. I can probably get a reference for that tomorrow.) Otherwise, my version, as I said, almost translated itself. Morgenstern generally didn't get very high-falutin' in his diction, and his German is comfortable for me. Another good example is Austrian Rilke, whose poems I love to recite in the original. I grew up visiting with close Pennsylvania Dutch relatives from to time to time, and their present dominant dialect is simple and not "High" German. I really like Rilke.

The unrhymed original readily allows a literal unrhymed translation that approximates the rhythm of the original fairly closely. In short, I posted a pretty highly-crafted crib. But is that so bad? Morgenstern isn't a poet of harps and violins, he is a poet of humor, irony, and the absurd.

Last edited by Allen Tice; 03-20-2017 at 10:26 PM.
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Old 03-20-2017, 12:25 AM
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Seree Zohar Seree Zohar is offline
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Allen, as a reader [with not a humongous amount of spare time] I skimmed this 2-3 times and always felt I was left out of some kind of intimate joke. I'd have loved for you to provide some background, such as https://books.google.co.il/books?id=...sonata&f=false [+scroll up a little on the page] to give quick positioning.

Additonally: https://www.quora.com/How-different-...German-variant - so now I have a better idea of how Austrian German differs from Germany's German, at least in current times.

And that links to the info in link#1: I have no clue how an Austrian schoolmaster speaks. But based on link #2, sounds like plenty of flarf. Which would imply that should perhaps be brought into play.

Per se the translation seems spot on. But I wonder about the mimicking of the schoolmaster: for example, should -

Palmström builds himself an olfactory organ
and plays von Korf's Sneezewort Sonata on it.

perhaps be:
Palmström builds himself an olfactory organ
on which he plays von Korf's Sneezewort Sonata.

I guess this is where the next question comes in: Is the translation part of some project to make CM's work accessible to current young readership / listenership, in which case your version seems just fine; or is it meant for a publication which explores translation, and should therefore possibly hue closer to the spirit of the times in which it was written. End of coffee1ofthemorning thoughts, because time flies.
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Old 03-20-2017, 03:37 AM
Adam Elgar Adam Elgar is offline
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I echo Seree's question, Allen - and her suggested revision. And make the same point I made re. Ilya's Dutch poet. My German (first time I ever heard Austrian called a different language) is good enough to know what's going on here, but readers with no German won't be able to comment on what you're doing.

One tiny point: at the end it's actually the desk that is safe, rather than von Korf. Makes a small but subtle difference, I think....
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Old 03-20-2017, 11:33 AM
Adam Elgar Adam Elgar is offline
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By the way, Allen, here's an afterthought. I'd be v interested to know how you arrived at "hot cha-cha". It's a nice evocation, but how did you get there from the German?.
"Ha" is the letter H, which is B natural in German musical notation. "Cis" is C sharp. I presume Morgenstern means something by this, and I've no idea what.
This is the kind of thing that makes cribs so useful, along with the kind of background notes that Seree advocates.
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Old 03-20-2017, 12:42 PM
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Adam, you are correct about the desk being "safe" rather than Korf. An oversight. Subtle, but maybe important change.
I have made a tentative change ("private") that reflects Saree's input on Korf's invisibility. I might prefect "secure," "sheltered," or even "secret" (which also permits the invisibility of Korf, and also reminds one of the distant echoes for this gifted man of the English word "secret"-- and also of the idea of secrecy embodied in the German word for a secret: Geheimnis (cf. daheim).

I haven't yet located a crib in my books or on-line. I found the poem in the original on a now lost mimeographed sheet. I apologize, but that's how it is. The closest link I've found so far is given below in quotes, but there is actually no translation, not does the page contain the words "English," "guests," or 'translation":
Quote:
Die Geruchs-Orgel - GartenLiteratur
http://www.garten-literatur.de/Lesel...gel.htm‎
Christian Morgenstern Gedicht Geruchs-Orgel. ... To our English guests: You can have a translation into English when you click here · Pour ... Die Geruchs-Orgel...
I could re-write the present translation I suppose, but it's pretty close, and I'm unsure how much good that would do. On the "Ha-Cis" phrase, here's a BACH motif link to German language musical note names. "Hot-cha-cha" just seemed right. An extended sneeze.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Adam Elgar View Post
I incline very much to the view that being "close to the original" means finding some equivalent in the target language to the formal characteristics of the original poem. Its form is not separate from its content, and a literal translation is "close" only in semantic, not poetic, terms.

In any case, without the original text, we aren't in a position to offer comments on the merits of the translation.
Ilja did provide an original in the link at the bottom of the first post. Not standard procedure, but it is a long poem and the link is there. Beyond that, I think my version is pretty close to the original with the exception you noted above.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Seree Zohar View Post
https://books.google.co.il/books?id=...sonata&f=false [+scroll up a little on the page] to give quick positioning.

Additonally: https://www.quora.com/How-different-...German-variant - so now I have a better idea of how Austrian German differs from Germany's German, at least in current times.

And that links to the info in link#1: I have no clue how an Austrian schoolmaster speaks. But based on link #2, sounds like plenty of flarf. Which would imply that should perhaps be brought into play.

Per se the translation seems spot on. But I wonder about the mimicking of the schoolmaster: for example, should -

Palmström builds himself an olfactory organ
and plays von Korf's Sneezewort Sonata on it.

perhaps be:
Palmström builds himself an olfactory organ
on which he plays von Korf's Sneezewort Sonata.
...
Ouch, so ignorant am I !
Wikipedia tells me that Morgenstern was born in Munich, though he traveled widely and was a member of the Swiss-based Anthroposophical society. Wishful thinking on my part. Blame Rilke. I have removed the word "Austrian" in the first post. I am studying in the mirror how to look best ashamed. Arrgh. (Parenthetically, I still do feel there are important differences in emotional tone between [and within] the languages spoken in Germany, Switzerland, and Austria. If anyone gets their gym shorts in a twist about this, I can from time to time relent. Not for too long, though.)

Saree, thank you for the links. Both will help outsiders. As regards appreciating the poem, I don't think it's essential for an audience to know about the poetic "social position" or even "social existence" of Palmstrom or von Korf. I first encountered this in the original language entirely without context and before I knew anything about Morgenstern. I liked it very much because of the whimsy and content, which is why I made the effort to put it into English.

Schoolmaster "flarf".... Wikipedia on Flarf poetry
doesn't enlighten me much about what you mean. I do think that your suggestion is more stilted ("on which he plays...") than mine ( "and plays … on it").

Now the cosmic Q: is this version for the public or a version for the academic? I aim for the public, and I hope that academics will like it enough to use it too. As to the "spirit of the times" -- always problematic because our ancestors were only partly "right" -- as we are also -- I think we can look at the gems from the past without automatically bringing in the grimy social context (always imperfect, even now) and saying, for example, "But-but-but, so-and-so was rigid Victorian mathematical non-obscenity, and so was the little dog too."
Morgenstern's personae transcend his world.

Last edited by Allen Tice; 03-22-2017 at 12:10 PM.
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Old 03-20-2017, 12:46 PM
Adam Elgar Adam Elgar is offline
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Nice point about heim/geheimnis. I like the change to "private".
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Old 03-20-2017, 01:15 PM
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Allen Tice Allen Tice is offline
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Well, Adam, I have to say that for me "private" is only a temporary solution. I want something that puts von Korf exactly where he isn't.

Last edited by Allen Tice; 03-20-2017 at 01:48 PM. Reason: /s
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Old 03-21-2017, 12:29 PM
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In the interim, I hope I have improved the translation with a new Line 9 that more closely reproduces the actual sound of "Ha-Cis" (which approximates "Ha-Tsis)."

Single 'C' - In German you'll rarely run into a 'c' that isn't followed by an 'h' except in foreign words. If that 'c' is followed by an 'ä', 'e', 'i', or 'ö', it's pronounced as a 'ts' sound (for example: circa - approximate), that is, "tsirka", or in this case "tsis".
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