Orwell vs. Huxley

•October 26, 2011 • Leave a Comment


William Arrowsmith on Parroting and the Art of Translation

•December 28, 2009 • Leave a Comment

The Craft and Context of Translation, edited by William Arrowsmith and Roger Shattuck (1964)

Traditionally the training of the mind in Europe has rested on the study of mathematics, history, and languages. Languages were learned together, not in isolation, and the basic exercises of translation kept eyes and ears attuned to subtleties in both the native and the foreign idiom. Probably the most systematic practice arose in France with the version latine; this translation from Latin into French was read just as much for the elegance of the French as for the accuracy of the transposition of thought. In other words the study of Latin was a means of learning both Latin and French. The “old-fashioned” methods of teaching French and German in English-speaking countries often served the same purposes, even though the student was supposed to know his own language already.

Psychology and structural linguistics, as applied to language programs for missionaries and military personnel, have undermined that tradition, with the result that the study of modern languages today, in Europe as well as the United States, has begun to change its emphasis radically. Two things have happened. First, one learns a new language insofar as possible by itself, without relying on one’s native tongue, in a process of accumulating repeated speech patterns as a child does. And second, in order to facilitate this very basic and elemental process of learning, the samples of language learned are kept as simple as possible—usually patterns having to do with everyday events like eating, meeting and greeting, buying and traveling, and the classroom. Texts are written specially to conform to these two conditions; literature comes later—so much that many students never encounter it. And, obviously, translation is either totally excluded as a dangerous heresy or kept to a strict minimum as a device to verify at intervals that a student understands the noises he is parroting.

The Two Faces of A.E. Housman

•November 14, 2009 • Leave a Comment

“A.E. Housman”

by W.H. Auden

No one, not even Cambridge, was to blame
(Blame if you like the human situation):
Heart-injured in North London, he became
The Latin Scholar of his generation.

Deliberately he chose the dry-as-dust,
Kept tears like dirty postcards in a drawer;
Food was his public love, his private lust
Something to do with violence and the poor.

In savage foot-notes on unjust editions
He timidly attacked the life he led,
And put the money of his feelings on

The uncritical relations of the dead,
Where only geographical divisions
Parted the coarse hanged soldier from the don.

“Mr. Housman’s Message”

by Ezra Pound

O woe, woe,
People are born and die,
We also shall be dead pretty soon
Therefore let us live as if we were
     dead already.

The bird sits on the hawthorn tree
But he dies also, presently.
Some lads get hung, and some get shot.
Woeful is the human lot.
     Woe! woe, etcetera….

London is a woeful place,
Shropshire is much pleasanter.
Then let us smile a little space
Upon fond nature’s morbid grace.
     Oh, Woe, woe, woe, etcetera….

Big Kitteh

•June 8, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Como Fingir Ser Inteligente

•January 29, 2009 • Leave a Comment

I have a series of photos on Flickr that people often use in their blogs (attributed, most of the time) to supplement or illustrate a particular entry. The pictures are of a book, a notebook, and writing. The book is Fernando Pessoa’s The Book of Disquiet.

Pessoa is pretty much the national author of Portugal, as I have learned, so many of these blogs are written in Portuguese. I do not know Portuguese, but my knowledge of Latin and French with a smattering of Spanish (and a husband who speaks it) often enables me to at least get the gist of what’s being said. I enjoy this so much that I sometimes actually try to read/translate some of it.

Well, last knight, I came upon another of these Portuguese blogs, and my husband and I proceeded to puzzle out what exactly my picture was being used to illustrate. OK, “inteligente,” that’s obvious, and “como,” well, we know what that means, “ser” is some form of to be, ok. But “fingir,” what does that mean? Let’s look it up. Oh. Ok.

Como Fingir Ser Inteligente
How to Pretend to be Intelligent

I’m not sure how I feel about that. The author obviously liked my photo, but the implication is not exactly flattering.

My picture was used specifically for the section on using quotes, which is what is written in the notebook.

The FIne Art of Procrastination

•January 28, 2009 • Leave a Comment

So, today I’m supposed to be packing, right? Because we’re moving on Saturday. (Or at least shoving all of our stuff into a storage unit and becoming nomads once more.) I started the day off right, cleaning and packing, bright and early. The early, however, was mostly because I couldn’t sleep.

Noon comes and goes, and suddenly I find myself hunched over the tiny screen of my tiny laptop, filling out a civil service application and trying to pull my job history spreadsheet (yes, it’s that complicated) off of my screenless iMac. Then I’m searching like crazy for my transcripts because I have to provide the minutiae of my academic career, even though I’m pretty sure my Latin degree doesn’t exactly work in my favor.

Before I realize it, it’s 5 in the evening and I’m still hunched over the tiny keyboard. And I still haven’t made any progress in packing. Did I mention that we’re moving on Saturday?

Just for Fun

•January 19, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Links to pages on which my photos are used. All titles sic. Mostly it’s the same ones used in different places. Some of them understand Creative Commons and attribution, some do not.

So far, this is my favorite:
Tourism Strategy: Promote your tourism business on TripAdvisor
It’s of the abandoned Nakatosh Hotel in Natchitoches.

Tra il dire e il fare

Beautiful and inspiring Designers Quotes

moleskinerie: The death of handwriting

Fire Under Your Butt–Inspiration for Writers

Philosophy of Life

Pencil Revolution: Pencil and ink, side by side

Youth Canada: How to Write a University Application Essay

Writing: How to Be Interesting

And so on and so forth. Just about anything to do with writing or books, mostly. I have mostly pulled the links from the stats page on Flickr.