Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Noted: Marcel Proust

From The Guermantes Way by Marcel Proust (translation by Scott Moncrieff and Terence Kilmartin, revised by D.J. Enright):
. . . I realised the impossibility of obtaining any direct and certain knowledge of whether Fran├žoise loved or hated me. And thus it was she who first gave me the idea that a person does not, as I had imagined, stand motionless and clear before our eyes with his merits, his defects, his plans, his intentions with regard to ourselves (like a garden at which we gaze through a railing with all its borders spread out before us), but is a shadow which we can never penetrate, of which there can be no such thing as direct knowledge, with respect to which we form countless beliefs, based upon words and sometimes actions, neither of which can give us anything but inadequate and as it proves contradictory information--a shadow behind which we can alternately imagine, with equal justification, that there burns the flame of hatred and of love. (pp. 81-82)

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4 Comments:

Anonymous Mark Thwaite said...

Got to say, Richard, much prefer the older M&K translation (that you've quoted here) to what I've read of the new(ish) Mark Treharne version ...

February 13, 2008 3:29 AM  
Blogger Richard said...

Hi Mark - I haven't sampled any of the new translations, though I'm a big admirer of Lydia Davis, so I'd like to read her Swann's Way at some point (it has a different title, doesn't it?). I've also heard good things about James Grieve's translation of volume 2.

I chose the revised earlier translation for two reasons: consistency and so I'd be reading the Proust that earlier English readers would have read, if that makes any sense.

February 13, 2008 9:26 AM  
Anonymous bdr said...

And here I thought you were making a shrewd comment on Phenomenon Obama.

February 13, 2008 4:40 PM  
Blogger Richard said...

ha! no, not yet, not yet.

February 13, 2008 6:41 PM  

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