25 abr. 2008


*Rilke. The Duino Elegies. (trans. Snow). 1922. 2000. 65 pp.

Edward Snow is supposed to be the gold standard of contemporary Rilke translators, but somehow I can't accept lines like

"the kindled complement of your own ardent feeling"

[deinem erkühnten Gefühl die erglühte Gefühlin]

as contemporary American poetry. Maybe Rilke has to sound clotted and wooden in English.

One thing I noticed right away is that he erases rhetorical figures:

Werbung nicht mehr, nicht Werbung, entwachsene Stimme

No longer, voice. No longer let wooing send for your cry:

What happend to the chiasmus here? (Werbung nicht / nicht Werbung)

What happened to the repetition of "Gefühl / Gefühlin" in the first line I quoted? Feelings are pretty important for Rilke.

It would probably help if I knew German! But translations are not done for those who don't need them.

It's probably a good translation; it definitely has its eloquent moments, but it's unevenly successful. Rhythm is a big problem in Rilke translations.

The star is for Rilke, not Snow in this case.

1 comentario:

Vance Maverick dijo...

What happened to the repetition of "Gefühl / Gefühlin"...?

Probably a rhetorical question, but: the repetition became the word "complement". One could render the original word by word as "[to/of] your emboldened feeling the incandesced she-feeling". Snow could at the very least have picked something sexually charged like "mate" instead of "complement". But it's hard to do such straightfaced Schwärmerei in English.