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  #11  
Old 05-26-2018, 09:39 AM
Julie Steiner's Avatar
Julie Steiner Julie Steiner is offline
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Okay, comma-ectomy now performed. Thanks, Martin and Edward.
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  #12  
Old 05-26-2018, 12:01 PM
Susan McLean Susan McLean is offline
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I hate to make a comment that would spoil a set of four rhymes, but for me "barbarian" strikes the wrong tone, and I think tone is very important in a translation. I know that "barbarian" to the Greeks just meant "foreigner," but that is not what it means today, and the poem itself is addressed to the "barbarian" who is reading it. That is rather off-putting.

Susan
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  #13  
Old 05-26-2018, 01:41 PM
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Julie Steiner Julie Steiner is offline
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Susan, I think that's a fair criticism. "Barbarian" does have more pejorative connotations in English than "peregrino" does, even in contexts when "peregrino" means "strange, outlandish, exotic" instead of the religiously-charged "pilgrim" or the more neutral "traveler, wanderer."

(On the other hand, the whole basis of the Renaissance was a massive inferiority complex toward Ancient Greece and Rome, wasn't it? So I don't know if someone addressed as "barbarian" in context of that Renaissance-flavored humility would find the term as demeaning as a self-respecting modern would. Then again, the audience of my translation is precisely that self-respecting modern, so...muttermuttermutter....)

I'm trying to have it both ways, and probably can't. But maybe changing "O pilgrim, O barbarian" to a somewhat hyphenated or slashed combo would make "barbarian" seem less insulting to a modern reader:

You’re seeking Rome in Rome, but have not found
.....Rome in Rome itself, pilgrim-barbarian:


~ ~ ~ ~ ~

In other news, I'm thinking that I should probably look at non-sonnet precedents on this theme--especially the neo-Latin epigram by the Sicilian priest Janus Vitalis, which was first published in 1552 or 1553. Du Bellay almost certainly wrote his sonnet with the Vitalis poem close at hand, and Quevedo's use of cadáver is so similar to Vitalis's cadaverae that I can't help but think that Quevedo was probably directly influenced by both the Vitalis and the Du Bellay.

In JSTOR, I found a 1982 article by Raymond Skyrme titled "Quevedo, Du Bellay, and Vitalis," published in Comparative Literature Studies, which mentioned several other poems on the "seeking Rome in Rome" theme. The article didn't mention the other Spanish sonnet that I'm interested in translating, though.

Last edited by Julie Steiner; 05-26-2018 at 02:12 PM.
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  #14  
Old 05-27-2018, 06:22 AM
Andrew Frisardi Andrew Frisardi is offline
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I hate to add to the disappointment, but I think Susan's point is very strong. In my excitement about the sounds in your translation, I was not paying enough attention to the sense.

"Barbarian" really does feel off-key there semantically, and for that matter, "carrion" is very different from "cadaver," especially when it's pretty hard to imagine carrion lying in state. Carrion is what vultures eat, cadavers on the other hand can just lie there on view.

"peregrino" does carry more meaning than "pilgrim" in our sense, but "barbarian" is very different.

I tried looking at other rhyme words--sectarian, unitarian, etc., but nothing seems to fit. Damn.
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  #15  
Old 05-27-2018, 08:42 AM
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Julie Steiner Julie Steiner is offline
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Yeah, I'm just going to have to accept that it's back to the drawing board on this one.

It's not just "barbarian." LL6-7 is pretty circumlocution-rich, too, for the sake of rhyme. And if I'm going to present the Vitalis with this bunch, "cadaver" really needs to stay.

Grrrr. It's so inconvenient when everybody's criticisms are right!

Thanks for your honesty in the face of my resistance, folks.
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  #16  
Old 06-02-2018, 04:33 PM
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This is a good, enjoyable English poem. In particular the final three lines really capture the mood of the Spanish. But some other parts of it, though they still work as English poetry, sound nothing at all like Quevedo, nothing at all like the sonnet aesthetic of the Siglo de Oro. The enjambed trisyllabic phrasal rhymes "cautionary in" and "honorary in" sound wry and borderline comical in a way that — though again the poem can carry it as an English text — I doubt you're going for. It gives a very different tonal feel than the Spanish, which remains stately and contemplative throughout. I see what you're going for with "barbarian" but it doesn't fit at all with Quevedo's mental universe as I understand it. Referring to the European addressee as "barbarian" is comically inapposite for a Renaissance text, and it seems like a bit of a reach to justify it through the other sense of peregrino as "raro." It feels like reaching for rhyme without the payoff to justify it.

Quevedo had a great sense of humor, but this poem in particular doesn't really express it. Your English version on the other hand feels like it's got a crooked smile half the time.
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  #17  
Old 06-03-2018, 02:38 AM
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Julie Steiner Julie Steiner is offline
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Thanks for your comments, Alex. I agree with all of them.

I've been delaying posting my second draft with a different set of "b" rhymes (i.e., jettisoning the problematic barbarian, carrion, cautionary in, honorary in), because I'm worried that my new second quatrain might introduce new problems.

But I'll take the plunge now anyway. Second draft posted above!
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  #18  
Old 06-03-2018, 05:56 AM
Stephen Hampton Stephen Hampton is offline
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Default Oh Pilgrims We

Hello Julie,
I am not qualified to critique translations, being limited in my linguistic learning. However, I find your interpretations of original to be interesting and mostly well written.
Not all pilgrims are travelers geographically, there are those whose pilgrimages are more of the heart, soul, and mind.... many of which we "modern day" daily travelers (commuters) do find strangely archaic.... some among us would even call that kind-- religiously nutty.
But Not I.
You are a much braver, better, poet than I. I would find it difficult, nearly impossible to properly, accurately, anglicize any latino verses.
That is not a jibe. I am glad there are those like you who do such work, as it opens new poetic windows for others like myself to look into.
Sincerely,
Stephen

Last edited by Stephen Hampton; 06-03-2018 at 06:03 AM. Reason: grammer
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  #19  
Old 06-03-2018, 07:18 AM
Mary McLean Mary McLean is offline
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I prefer the new version, with less attention-grabbing rhymes. I think the second quatrain is clearer.
If you wanted to eliminate the anapests in L5 I think you could use palace for Palatine. I presume the words are related, though I understand if you don't want to lose the Rome-specific reference.
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