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  #11  
Old 10-23-2018, 12:06 AM
Susan McLean Susan McLean is offline
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Julie, I do not object to people showing me the reading they think would be better. I puzzled out what I thought you were referring to and have tried out that version for the last stanza. The syntax of it still feels a bit awkward to me, though I see that the rhymes do stand out more that way. I will wait to hear what others think of that version.

I don't know what usage of "abendmahl" Rilke would have familiar with. He was from Prague, and I don't know what was common among the speakers there. My dictionary emphasized the religious meanings of the term, and I still feel that that is the starting point that Rilke wants us to hear in his title, though I can see that one could progress from one meaning to the other in either direction.

"Thirsts for us" doesn't work metrically for me in the first line if I keep "Who allots" right after it.

Susan
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  #12  
Old 10-23-2018, 07:50 AM
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Michael F Michael F is offline
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Susan and Julie,

Re: "Abendmahl", I gotta think that Rilke heard all meanings of the word. To my ear, the various meanings work their way through the whole poem, and I have to believe he meant that. So "Last Supper" works for me as a title.

On the first line: how about "The eternal hungers for us." Certainly the pun plays into the poem. Eliding the first two words won't scuttle the meter. Just a suggestion -- I'm happy with any number of your options at this point, as I think they all convey a good deal of the sense. "Will zu" is large, it contains multitudes...

Fun tangent: I discovered the other day that Wittgenstein admired R (particularly early R) and was for a short time his patron; the two corresponded, but I don't think they met. It blows my mind that Nietzsche, Rilke and Wittgenstein were so closely connected. Unreal.

Back to our regularly scheduled programming...

M
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Old 10-24-2018, 11:45 AM
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Julie Steiner Julie Steiner is offline
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Quote:
The German title “Abendmahl” may be translated both as “evening meal” and “last supper,” and the translator of this version, Edward Snow, employs both meanings in his translation. As Snow notes, in a letter Rainer Maria Rilke wrote to his wife in 1907, he described walking in Paris in the evening and seeing families seated at dinner in the back rooms of their shops. The families seated in the evening light behind the glass window reminded him, Rilke explained, of depictions of the biblical Last Supper.

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Aw, dang it. .........
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Old 10-24-2018, 01:23 PM
Susan McLean Susan McLean is offline
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Hi, Julie,
I know that Snow used "Evening Meal" as his title, and I know that for German speakers "evening meal" is one way to read the word, even if they primarily think of it as the Last Supper or communion. One of the reasons I chose "Last Supper" as my title is that that title is ambiguous. One tends to capitalize titles, so mine could mean either "the Last Supper" as L4 suggests or the last supper that the family may be together, as the poem's ending suggests. "Evening Meal" doesn't have that ambiguity, and I love ambiguities in titles, if both meanings are relevant.

Susan
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Old 10-24-2018, 03:00 PM
Philip Sass Philip Sass is offline
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Hi Susan (I'm from Germany and as you may know from translating german poems, we have a bit of a problem with Duzen and Siezen and since this is my first post here I'm not sure if "Hi Susan" is the appropriate thing to say for me and if it's not, I'm sorry),

I thought I'd share a few thoughts on your translation. First off, I think you did a very good job catching the original's spirit and I like that you've stayed close to Rilke without using too outrageous rhymes. Now to a few minor things:

There has been plenty of discussion about the title and I understand why you chose "Last Supper". In northern parts of Germany where I grew up the word "Abendmahl" was exclusively associated with the "Letzte Abendmahl" and regular supper for mere mortals is called "Abendbrot". However, the more south you go "Abendmahl" is still a word people regularly use for supper. Again, I see your troubles and I don't mind "Last Supper" as the title as it fits the overall theme of the poem, but I wouldn't use "Last Supper" at the end of L4, I'd just call it "supper" and leave the rest to your readers.

As much as I like the revision in L1 because "hungers" corresponds nicely with supper, I'm afraid "Eternal things desire us." is much closer to Rilke.

Something that I'm not sure about is your translation of "shops" for "Geschäfte". Sure, "Geschäft" normally means "shop", but it can also mean something like "task" or "activity", so "Dämmern der Geschäfte" could also be about evening silence while everyone enjoys their (last) supper at home.

Finally, I don't think "serving him with care" is an adequate translation of "die ihm ängstlich dienen". You're right that "ängstlich" (despite its most used meaning: "afraid") probably means something like "careful" in this context, but I'd up the intensity, Rilke doesn't make it sound like regular care, more like scrupulous care, if that's a thing.

Philip
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Old 10-24-2018, 06:25 PM
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Michael F Michael F is offline
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Philip, welcome to the Sphere! How cool that a native German speaker found us and Susan's wonderful work on Rilke ... way cool.
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Old 10-25-2018, 10:01 PM
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Julie Steiner Julie Steiner is offline
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Susan, my point wasn't to emphasize what Snow did in his translation, which is irrelevant to what you choose to do in yours. It was to emphasize what Rilke said about the poem in his letter, which torpedoes my earlier arguments into sad little smithereens. Hence my "Aw, dang it."

Welcome, Philip!
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  #18  
Old 10-27-2018, 10:54 AM
Susan McLean Susan McLean is offline
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Sorry to have been slow to respond. I have been traveling and have not had any time to write responses, though I have been thinking about the issues you raised.

Julie, I did misinterpret your post at first and only realized what you actually meant after I posted my reply. But I did want to clarify my choice of title.

Peter, it is good to hear your perspective on the issues that we, as English speakers, have theories about, but can't decide. We are quite informal here at Eratosphere, as many of us have interacted with one another for years, and some of us have met outside the Sphere, too. In L4 I used "Last Supper" because of the things that are mentioned in Rilke's letter, in Julie's post right above yours. Rilke was actually walking past shops, seeing the lit-up room in the back where people were eating supper, and being reminded of portrayals of the Last Supper. I think readers need to have that train of thought made clear early, so that they will understand the doubleness of the description of the meal, which is just an ordinary supper, but which conveys timeless symbolism of sharing, feeding, and betraying to the onlooker. I did take your advice and change the first sentence back to the original one, since you said that it better conveys the meaning in German, and I also tried to convey "ängstlich" more thoroughly, at your suggestion. Welcome to the Sphere, and I hope you will return.

Susan
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  #19  
Old 10-28-2018, 04:47 PM
Philip Sass Philip Sass is offline
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Hi Michael and Julie, thank you for your nice words!
Hi Susan, you're right – I should have read all of the posts in this thread before suggesting stupid stuff. Sorry! Anyway, I like "anxious care". It seems to be as close as possible to "ängstlich dienen".

Philip
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  #20  
Old 10-28-2018, 05:49 PM
Susan McLean Susan McLean is offline
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Philip, I am sorry to have misremembered your name as I was typing my reply. I too need to read more carefully.

Susan
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