Who haven't you read?

Corpsey

call me big papa
It is frustrating, not being able to read these great authors in their native tongue. Particularly someone like Flaubert, where the style is supposedly so much the point.

Not that I think this should stop anyone reading them in translation. So much of style IS "content", after all.
 

version

Who loves ya, baby?
I've heard that Borges reads similarly in the original Spanish but I've only read him in translation and there are apparently issues with pretty much every translation of him.
 

version

Who loves ya, baby?
It is frustrating, not being able to read these great authors in their native tongue. Particularly someone like Flaubert, where the style is supposedly so much the point.

Not that I think this should stop anyone reading them in translation. So much of style IS "content", after all.
Was there any particular reason for Beckett writing a bunch of his novels in French?
 

version

Who loves ya, baby?
I've been wanting to read William Gaddis for ages but his books are always either out of stock or stupidly expensive.
 

IdleRich

IdleRich
It's just serviceable, imo. It reads like an instruction manual which is fine for the stuff he writes.
I thought that at first but now I take more pleasure in that kind of simple precision than I used to... I went the same route with others, can't think of many off the top of my head bu Graham Greene is one.
Fair point re the original Spanish... but books in translation is a whole kettle of worms in itself. But I think it's fair to say that you can see a difference between the styles of, say, Marquez and Borges, and that surely represents a difference that was there in the original even if it's not exactly transposed.
 

Corpsey

call me big papa
Was there any particular reason for Beckett writing a bunch of his novels in French?
Why did Beckett, an Irishman, choose to write in French and why, after achieving considerable success in that language, did he insist time and again on returning his work to the language of his homeland? Beckett himself provided a string of reflections on the issue. In a 1937 letter to his friend Axel Kaun, he explained,

It is becoming more and more difficult, even senseless, for me to write an official English. And more and more my own language appears to me like a veil that must be torn apart in order to get at the things (or the Nothing-ness) behind it. Grammar and Style. To me they seem to have become as irrelevant as a Victorian bathing suit or the imperturbability of a true gentleman. A mask…Is there any reason why that terrible materiality of the word surface should not be capable of being dissolved?

Here Beckett expresses a desire to rid himself of the baggage of traditional English. Only by divesting himself of the “irrelevancies” of grammar and style, he thought, could he approach something like the truth beneath the “mask.” Since Beckett held such excessiveness and irrelevance of language to be endemic to English, he began experimenting with French, a language in which he claimed, “It is easier to write without style…[French] had the right weakening effect.”
https://themillions.com/2014/08/bec...and-the-psychology-of-literary-influence.html
 

Corpsey

call me big papa
I actually experience something of this "purification" when reading writers in translation. Because so much of style is removed from the equation, you're left with what the writer "sees" and "hears", their observations, their insights, their ideas.

It's a fascinating area, actually - for example, the French poets e.g. Baudelaire idolising Edgar Allan Poe as a poet, whereas many native English speakers see Poe as having a hideous style. (And doesn't Michel Houellebecq praise Lovecraft as a stylist?) Something is both lost and GAINED in translation.

Sidebar:

"[Tolstoy] was bedridden due to illness," Chekhov told Gnedich, . "Among other things, he spoke about me and my works. Finally, when I was about to say goodbye he took my hand and said, 'Kiss me goodbye.' While I bent over him and he was kissing me, he whispered in my ear in a still energetic, old man's voice, 'You know, I hate your plays. Shakespeare was a bad writer, and I consider your plays even worse than his.'"
 

version

Who loves ya, baby?
re: Conrad - "English wasn’t even his second language – his French was better – but he claimed to enjoy the “plastic” freedoms of his adopted tongue."
 

IdleRich

IdleRich
re: Conrad - "English wasn’t even his second language – his French was better – but he claimed to enjoy the “plastic” freedoms of his adopted tongue."
Surly analogous to John Lennon (I think it was) saying that when he got too comfortable on an instrument he would move on to a different one and thus, I guess, avoid clichés in his playing.
 

yyaldrin

in je ogen waait de wind
i have never read any burroughs, what should i start with? i think i read kerouacs "on the road" in high school and hated it at the time, maybe that's why i never tried burroughs.
 

luka

Moderator
Then read Naked Lunch, Soft Machine, The Ticket That Exploded. In any order. That's the essential stuff. The book of Collected Interviews is great supplementary reading and will elucidate the novels. Ignore any contrary advice.
 

IdleRich

IdleRich
merci! have noted it down.
Girlfriend read Junky recently which reminded me how good that is, though very different from Naked Lunch etc it's like a anthropological report into heroin scene. I've read that before but my gf said that herself too.
Also I like City of Red Night a lot.
 

version

Who loves ya, baby?
i have never read any burroughs, what should i start with? i think i read kerouacs "on the road" in high school and hated it at the time, maybe that's why i never tried burroughs.
I like Burroughs and hated On the Road too. You don't need to be into Kerouac to enjoy him.
 

IdleRich

IdleRich
Oh yeah, i meant to say that too, they may have had lives that overlapped at times but their writing is not at all similar.
 

version

Who loves ya, baby?
I still need to read The Ticket that Exploded and Nova Express. I've only read Junky, Queer, Naked Lunch and The Soft Machine.
 

luka

Moderator
I didn't hate Kerouac but I didn't think it was very good either. Yyyaldrin what do you make of Nova Express so far?
 
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