3.27.2010

Translators, Biographers, Scholars


Scottish translator, born in Stirlingshire, educated at the University of Edinburgh. Best known for his inspired translations from the French, beginning with The Song of Roland (1919, Chanson de Roland), his letters, collected in C. K. Scott-Moncrieff: Memories and Letters (1931, edited by J. M. Scott-Moncrieff and L. W. Lunn), reveal his own accomplishment as a writer.

After working as a private secretary to Lord Northcliffe, and writing for The Times, he began his famous translations of Proust's Remembrance of Things Past (A la recherche du temps perdu): Swann's Way (1922), Within a Budding Grove (1924), The Guermantes Way (1925), Cities of the Plain (1927), The Captive (1929), and The Sweet Cheat Gone (1930). He died before completing the work (later revised by Terence Kilmartin), but Scott-Moncrieff's great translation is generally recognized as itself a masterpiece of the art, some reviewers declaring it even superior to the original. He also translated Stendhal, including The Red and the Black (Le rouge et le noir, 1926), Pirandello, and Beowulf, and edited Marcel Proust: An English Tribute (1923).  Portrait by Edward Stanley Mercer in the National Galleries of Scotland.    More at Wikipedia.
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Stephen Hudson was a pseudonym of the British novelist Sydney Schiff (1868–1944). He was the host at a party in Paris on May 18, 1922, when Marcel Proust met James Joyce. He and his wife Violet were friends of Proust, and donated their letters from him to the British Museum 
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Frederick BlossomHudson's version [of The Past Recaptured / Time Regained] did not satisfy U. S. publishers A. & C. Boni, who chose Frederick A. Blossom, Ph. D., ex-professor at Johns Hopkins, to make the U. S. translation — careful, sober, with occasional Ph. D. irruptions into footnotes. (Time magazine, 8/29/32)
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Terence Kilmartin was the literary editor of The Observer from 1951-1985.
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Interview with Lydia DavisAt Venus Zine
Lydia Davis cooks a duck








3.24.2010

Notes from week 25: Pining & Whining & Dining


Bal des Incohérents ::  definition  and Wikification


Ludwig II, King of Bavaria :: The Incoherents and Ludwig's death in 1886 gives us more clues to the time frame of Swann & Odette.  

Bayreuth, the city (Wiki)
Bayreuth in the News:  Wolfgang Wagner, longtime Bayreuth director, dies (3/22/10)
Book about the history of the festival

Louis A. Clapisson, violinist turned comic-opera composer. Popular, but Berlioz, Bizet, and Debussy were not impressed. By comparing him to Bach, art-snob Swann was again trashing Odette's taste.

3.19.2010

Pages for March

 Week 22:  March 4
The little phrase (374). Swann’s jealousy: one night, dis­missed by Odette at midnight, he returns to her house and knocks at the wrong window (387).

 Week 23:  March 11
 Forcheville’s cowardly attack on Saniette, and Odette’s smile of complicity (393). Odette’s door remains closed to Swann one afternoon; her lying explana­tion (394). Signs of distress that accompany Odette’s lying (398).

 Week 24:  March 18
The Verdurins organize an excursion to Chatou without Swann (403/L294). His indignation with them (406/L296). Swann’s exclusion (410/L300). 

 Week 25:  March 25
 Should he go to Dreux or Pierrefonds to find Odette? (415/L303). Waiting through the night (419/L306). Peaceful evenings at Odette’s with Forcheville (424/L309). 

Week 26:  April 1   (1/2 year!)
Return of anguish--pain returns (426/311). The Bayreuth project (427/312). Love and death and the mystery of personality (438/320). 

3.16.2010

Notes on Week 24: Social Changes

The French, as soon as they invented photography and hot-air balloons, went up in the balloons and took pictures of Paris. Scroll down to #10 to see the lakes of the bois de Boulogne.

Genius photographer Jacques-Henri Lartigue took this famous photo of a fashionable woman walking her dogs.

"End of century" woman by fashion illustrator Félix Fournery ==>>
From Paris from the Earliest 
Period to the Present Day; Volume 1,
by William Walton, courtesy of Gutenberg.org.
A description of Chatou 
Renoir's 1881  painting
Vlaminck's Chatou bridge.
 
Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata: 
  


A moment later she added, inarticulate with rage: "No, but, really, you see, the filthy creature..." using unconsciously, and perhaps responding to the same obscure need to justify herself -- like Françoise at Combray when the chicken refused to die -- the very words which the last twitches of an inoffensive animal in its death throes wring from the peasant who is taking its life.    ... Madame Verdurin revealed (p. 405).
Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet (September 27, 1627 – April 12, 1704) was a French  bishop  and theologian, renowned for his sermons and other addresses. He has been considered by many to be one of the most brilliant orators of all time and a masterly French stylist. Court preacher to Louis XIV of France, Bossuet was a strong advocate of political absolutism  and the divine right of kings. He argued that government was divine and that kings received their power from God. He was also an important courtier and politician. (Wiki)

Dante's Nine Circles of Hell ::  And who's in the last circle, where Swann puts the Verdurins? (p. 408) (Remember their name is a homophone of "ver du rein" or "kidney worm".  He says: "What a name! ... they are perfect specimens of their disgusting kind!")

Victor Massé, French composer, 1822-84.  NYTimes review. The Opéra-Comique de Paris. 
Odette figures: Although the meaning of his tirade was beyond her, she grasped that it was to be included among the scenes of reproach or supplication, scenes which her familiarity with the ways of men enabled her, without paying any heed to the words that were uttered, to conclude that men would not make unless they were in love; that, from the moment when they were in love, it was superfluous to obey them, since they would only be more in love later on.
Tombs at Dreux

<<==  Chateau at Pierrefonds

"... take them to Beauvais or Saint-Loup-de-Naud.." 

Eugène Viollett-le-Duc (1814-79), French architect.  

Another group's thoughts on Swann.

3.10.2010

Notes from week 23: Botticelli

 She reminded him, even more than was usual, of the faces of some of the women created by the painter of  the Primavera. She had, at that moment, their downcast, heartbroken expression, which seems ready to succumb beneath the burden of a grief too heavy to be borne, when they are merely allowing the Infant Jesus to play with a pomegranate, or watching Moses pour water into a trough. He had seen the same sorrow once before on her face, but when, he could no longer say.

La Primavera (Botticelli)





Madonna della Melagrana (Botticelli)



Trials of Moses (Botticelli)

3.03.2010

Notes from week 22: What Not to Say at Dinner


"It looks as though it were done with nothing at all," resumed the painter. "No more chance of discovering the trick than there is in the 'Night Watch,' or the 'Regents,' and it's even bigger work than either Rembrandt or Hals ever did."

REMBRANDT (Dutch painter, 1606–69). Essay and larger image are at this Rembrandt site.   Real title is Company of Captain Frans Banning Cocq and Lieutenant Willem van Ruytenhurch; in French, "La Ronde."




HALS, Frans (Dutch painter, c. 1580–1666).  There are several Hals paintings in the Louvre, but not the Regents.  Franz Hals' Women Regents of the Haarlem Almshouse (1664)
Franz Hals (Wiki)
"Except at the moment when he had called it "bigger than the 'Night Watch,'" a blasphemy which had called forth an instant protest from Mme.Verdurin, who regarded the 'Night Watch' as the supreme masterpiece of the universe (conjointly with the 'Ninth' and the 'Samothrace')..."
That would be Ludwig van Beethoven's Ninth Symphony (listen to the midi here, no downloading required) ; here's the Wiki write-up.  It certainly was no stretch for Mme. Verdurin to regard this as a masterpiece -- so did everyone else!

<== Nike of Samothrace in the Louvre:  different photos, Wiki write-up of Winged Victory, a fantastic audio/video exploration of the statue in detail, long view of the Daru staircase in the Louvre.
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    "It's not a Japanese salad, is it?" she whispered, turning towards Odette.
    And then, in her joy and confusion at the combination of neatness and daring which there had been in making so discreet and yet so unmistakable an allusion to the new and brilliantly successful play by Dumas, she broke down in a charming, girlish laugh, not very loud, but so irresistible that it was some time before she could control it.
The salad is described in the Dumas fils play Francillon.  Here's the NY Times review (1887) and an academic essay (page 1 only) on Proust & Dumas fils.  An etching of a scene from the play is for sale. 

Here is a recipe (and photos) of the dish, made by Shari at her food blog, Whisk (she calls it "Salade Francillon"), with directions taken from the text of the play.  Mme. Cottard's witty salad retort seems to be made of potato salad with mussels and truffles.  Oh, here is a second write-up; apparently this dish became quite a Parisian fad!
"Now, Serge Panine--! But then, it's like everything that comes from the pen of M. Georges Ohnet, it's so well written. I wonder if you know the Maître des Forges, which I like even better than Serge Panine."                                                                                                                            Pardon me," said Swann with polite irony, "but I can assure you that my want of admiration is almost equally divided between those masterpieces."
Swann's word "masterpieces" echoes Mme. Verdurin's, a few paragraphs earlier.  Forchville says:
What with him and M. Bréchot, you've drawn two lucky numbers to-night...
mis-pronouncing Brichot's name for the second time. He's the hit of the party, but can't call the faithful by their correct names. Is he just careless? Brichot himself will later mispronounce de La Trémouailles Then he destroys Swann's carefully-maintained persona, by aligning him with "bores":
The creature spends all his time shut up with the La Trémoïlles, with the Laumes and all that lot!" 
Now then. The La Trémoïlles  were a real French family line. The Laumes are created characters; however, we have already met them (in the future) in Combray and will be with them for the whole novel.  The Princesse des Laumes will become Oriane, Duchesse de Guermantes (who looked at the Narrator in "her" church); the Prince des Laumes will become Basin, Duc de Guermantes when he accedes to the title. (He is also the brother of Charlus [in the garden with Gilberte & Odette in Combray, wearing white linen slacks] and Mme de Saint-Loup).
When Mme Verdurin hears this, she goes all catatonic:
"He saw then that in her fixed resolution to take no notice, to have escaped contact, altogether, with the news which had just been addressed to her, not merely to remain dumb but to have been deaf as well, as we pretend to be when a friend who has been in the wrong attempts to slip into his conversation some excuse which we should appear to be accepting, should we appear to have heard it without protesting, or when some one utters the name of an enemy, the very mention of whom in our presence is forbidden; Mme. Verdurin, so that her silence should have the appearance, not of consent but of the unconscious silence which inanimate objects preserve, had suddenly emptied her face of all life, of all mobility;...  "
actually echoing the white stillness of the Winged Victory statue a few paragraphs before. Then, to preserve the unanimity of the group, they attack Swann, insult his friends, Odette gets into the act, Forcheville and Brichot want to discuss Fenelon's concepts of intelligence, Saniette is berated for no good reason, but feels compelled to make up a nasty story that the Duc didn't know George Sand was a woman. 
 She had remarked, more than once, how Swann and Forcheville suppressed the particle 'de' before that lady's name. Never doubting that it was done on purpose, to show that they were not afraid of a title, she had made up her mind to imitate their arrogance, but had not quite grasped what grammatical form it ought to take. 
There is a trick to it. And it's on this page... the Particule. Another reason she rejected their society?

Gustave Moreau paintings. Proust wrote an essay on him in 1898: Notes on the Mysterious World of Gustave Moreau.

Links :
 George Sand   
{"And, in the first episode of the "Overture" to Swann's Way - the first novel in Marcel Proust's In Search of Lost Time sequence - a young, distraught Marcel is calmed by his mother as she reads from François le Champi, a novel which it is explained was part of a birthday package from his grandmother which also included La Mare au Diable, La Petite Fadette, and Les Maîtres Sonneurs. As with many episodes involving art in À la recherche du temps perdu, this reminiscence includes commentary on the work."}
Palais de l'Industrie 
Mme de Sevigné and Wiki (she reappears frequently)
 "Se non è vero, è ben trovato."  Translation: "If it's not true, it's a good story."
Henri d’ORLÉANS, duc d’ AUMALE  (1822-1897)  Académy;   Wiki
Kept woman vs. courtesan 
Sonate de Vinteuil (Fr.)
Saint-Cloud
l’île des Cygnes ; great 360-view from the island