Skip to first unread message

Arthur Neuendorffer

Jul 15, 2021, 1:02:12 PMJul 15

<<A real problem for translators occurs. When, in the original text, the author sets out a list of nouns or adjectives in alphabetical order. What is to be done when there is no literal translation or synonym, which has the required first letter? In the tale of the Curious Impertinent in Don Quixote ;(Pt.1, ch.34) Camila’s maid, Leonela, tells her not to worry about her affair with Lothario, saying that he has many good qualities, “the whole A.B.C.” He is, she tells her, “amiable, bountifull, courteous, dutifull, enamoured, firme, gallant, honorable, illustrious, loyal, milde, noble, honest, prudent, quiet, rich, true, valorous, young and zealous of thine honour.” “The four S.S. which they say every good Lover ought to have” had already been mentioned. This could refer to a Spanish proverb which said that he should be *SAGE*, *SINGLE*, *SOLICITOUS* and *SECRETIVE*. And X has been omitted from the list, as, in Leonela ‘s opinion,-it “does not quader well with him, because itsounds harshly.” Cuadrar is the Spanish word for “square”, so it must be admitted that, if there was no doubt about Cervantes’s authorship of Don Quixote, this would indicate that the English translator had simply not taken the trouble to find a suitable English word at this point. But this is the only time when a Spanish word has been used in the English text. All Shelton’s adjectives in this long list of desirable qualities are well chosen.

The Spanish text of Cervantes shows clear signs of an imperfect translation. Most of the adjectives chosen are suitable -Agradecido, Bueno, Dadivoso (grateful, good, generous) and so on. But some of the words in this list are out of line. The third quality required is Caballero, a gentleman, a noun, not an adjective. Cohen, in his modern translation, unhappy about this break in the sequence of adjectives, substitutes Shelton’s ‘Courteous’. Where Cervantes had to choose a word beginning with a P, he has written Principal,meaning principal, or main. Where Shelton has written ‘true’, ‘Cervantes has chosen Tacito, tacit,or implied. The Spanish word for ‘taciturn’ is taciturno, hardly a quality desirable in a lover. There are very few words beginning with Y in Spanish; where Shelton wrote ‘young’, Cervantes failed the jump altogether, writing ya esta dicha, ‘it is already said’. Finally, where in the English text we read ‘zealous’, Cervantes has come up with zelador, a watchman, or attendant, a word which is usually spelt with a ‘c’, not a ‘z’. As in the words whichstart with ‘y’, there are not many words in Spanish which begin with ‘z’.

In fact there are no adjectives in this category which Cervantes could have chosen.The whole story of the Curious Impertinent stretches over fifty-two pages. It is set in Italy,not Spain, and it strains the reader’s concentration. It is a detailed philosophical analysis of a suspicious husband, a cautious lover and a beloved wife who finally weakens. Whoever wrote Don Quixote was a philosopher, fascinated by the minutiae of mental indecision and by the component elements of friendship and love.

DON-QVIXOTE Of the Mancha.

LONDON Printed by William Stansby, for Ed. Blount and W. Barret. 1612.
Book 4: CHAP. VII. Wherein is prosecuted the history of the curious impertinent.

And seeing this is so, let not these scruples & nice thoughts assault or further disturbe your mind, but perswade your selfe that Lothario esteemes you as much as you doe him, and liues with content & satisfaction, seeing that it was your fortune to fal into the amorous snare, that it was his good lucke to catch you with his valour and deserts: who not only hath the foure. S S. which they say euery good louer oughtto haue, but also the whole A. B. C. which if you will not credite, doe but listen to me a while, and I will repeate it to you by roate. He is as it seemes, and as farre as can iudge amiable, bountifull, courteous, dutifull, enamored, firme, gallant, honourable, illustrious, loyall, milde, noble, honest, prudent, quiet, rich, and the S. S. which they say, and besides true, valorous. The X. doth not quader well with him, because it sounds harshly: Y. he is young. And the Z. he is zealous of thine honour. Camila laughed at her maydens A. B. C. and accounted her to bee more practicke in loue matters then she her selfe had confessed, as indeed she was, for then she reuealed to her Mistresse, how she and a certaine young man well borne of the Citie did treate of loue one with another: Hereat her Mistresse was not a little troubled in minde, fearing that her honour might be greatly indangered by that meanes; she demaunded whether her affections had passed farther then words, and the maid answered very shamelesly and freely that they did: for it is most certaine that this kinde of wretchlesse Mistresses doe also make their maydens carelesse and impudent: who when they perceiue their Ladies to faulter, are commonly wont to hault likewise themselues, and care not that the world doe know it. Camila seeing this errour past remedie, could do no more but intreate Leonela not to reueale any thing of her affaires, to him she said was her sweet heart; & that she should handle her matters discreetly & secretly, lest they might come to Anselmo or Lotharios notice. Leonela promised to performe her wil, but did accōplish her promise in such sort, as she did confirme Camilas feares, that she should lose her credit by her means. For the dishonest & bold Gyrle after that she had perceiued that her Mistres, her proceedings were not such as they were wont, grew so hardy as she gaue entrance, and brought her louer into her Maisters house, presuming that although her Ladie kne{W} it, yet would she not da{R}e to discouer it. For th{I}s among other harmes f{O}llow the sinnes of Mis{T}resses, that it makes t{H}em slaues to their own{E} seruants, and doth oblige them to conceale their dishonest and base proceedings as it fell out in Camila, who although she espied Leonela not once onely, but sundry times together with her louer in a certaine chamber of the house, she not onely dared not to rebuke her for it, but rather gaue her oportunity to hide him, and would remoue all occasions out of her husbands way, whereby he might suspect any such thing.
But all could not hinder Lothario from espying him once, as he departed out of the house at the breake of the day: who not knowing him, thought at the first that it was a spirit, but when he saw him post away, and cast his cloake ouer his race, least he should be known, he abandoning his simple surmise, fell into a new suspiciō which had ouerthrown them all, were it not that Camila did remedie it. For Lothario thought that he whom he had seene issue out of Anselmos house at so vnreasonable an hower, had not entred into it for Leonelas sake, nor did he remember then that there was such a one as Leonela in the world, but onely thought that as Camila was lightly gotten by him, so belike she was won by some other. For the wickednesse of a bad woman bringeth vsually all these additions, that she looseth her reputatiō euen with him to whom prayed and perswaded she yeeldeth her selfe: and he beleeueth that she will as easily, or with more facility consent to others, and doth infallibly credit the least suspicion which thereof may be offered.

And it seemes that Lothario in this instant was wholy depriued of all reasonable discourse, and quite dispoyled of his vnderstanding, for without pondering of the matter, impatient & kindled by the iealouse rage that inwardly gnawed his bowels, fretting with desire to be reuenged on Camila, who had neuer offended him, he came to Anselmo before he was vp, & said to him: know Anselmo that I haue had these many daies a ciuill conflict within my selfe whether I should speake or no, and I haue vsed as much violence as I might, to my selfe, not to discouer a thing vnto you, which now it is neither iust nor reasonable I should conceale. Know that Camilas fortresse is rendred and subiect to all that I please to commaund, and if I haue beene somewhat slow to informe thee this of truth, it was because I would first see, whether it proceeded of some light appetite in her: or whether shee did it to trie me, and see whether that loue was still constantly continued, which I first began to make vnto her by thy order and licence. I did also beleeue, that if shee had beene such as she ought to bee, and her that we both esteemed her, she would haue by this time acquainted you with my importunacy: but seeing that she lingers therein, I presume that her promises made vnto mee are true, that when you did againe absent your selfe out of the towne, she would speake with mee in the wardrobe (and it was true, for there Camila was accustomed to talke with him) yet would not I haue thee runne rashly to take reuenge, seeing the sinne is not yet otherwise committed th{E}n in thought, & perhaps betweene this and the oportunity she might {H}ope to put it in execution, her mind would be changed, and she repen{T} her selfe of her folly. And therefore seeing that thou hast euer f{O}llowed mine aduises partly or wholy, follow and keepe one counsa{I}le that I will giue vnto thee now, to the ende that thou mayest afte{R} with carefull assurance, and without fraud satisfie thine owne {W}ill as thou likest best, faine thy selfe to be absent two or three daies as thou art wont, and then conuey thy self cunningly into the wardrobe, where thou maist very well hide thy selfe behind the tapestry, and then thou shalt see with thine owne eyes, and I with mine what Camila will doe; and if it be that wickednesse which rather ought to be feared then hoped for, thou maiest with wisedome, silence, and discretion bee the proper executioner of so iniurious a wrong.
{WRIOTHE} -54 : Prob. of both {WRIOTHE}s in Part 1 ~ 1 in 600
{SLEY} : (weaving) The number of ends per inch in the cloth.
. . . . (weaving) To separate the threads and arrange them.

. The Hengwrt ms of Chaucer's Canterbury tales

Here bigynneth the Nonnes preestes tale of
. the Cok and Hen / Chauntecler & Pertelote
. This storie / is also trewe I vndertake
. As is the book/ of Launcelot de Lake
. That wommen holde / in ful gret reuerence
. Now wol I / torne agayn to my sentence
. A Colfox / ful of {SLEY} Iniquitee
. That in the groue / hadde woned yeres thre
. My story is as true, I undertake,
. As that of good Sir Lancelot du Lake
. Who held all women in such high esteem.
. Let me return full circle to my theme.
. A coal-tipped fox of {SLY} iniquity
. That had been lurking round the grove for three

<<Reynard the Fox is a literary cycle of medieval allegorical Dutch, English, French and German fables. The first extant versions of the cycle date from the second half of the 12th century. The genre is very popular throughout the Late Middle Ages, and in chapbook form throughout the Early Modern period. The figure of Reynard is thought to have originated in Lorraine folklore from where it spread to France, Germany, and the Low Countries. An extensive treatment of the character is the Old French Le Roman de Renart written by Pierre de Saint-Cloud around 1170, which sets the typical setting. Reynard has been summoned to the court of king Noble, or Leo, the lion, to answer charges brought against him by Isengrim the wolf. Other anthropomorphic animals, including Bruin the bear, Baldwin the ass, and Tibert (Tybalt) the cat, all attempt one stratagem or another. The stories typically involve satire whose usual butts are the aristocracy and the clergy, making Reynard a peasant-hero character. The story of the preaching fox found in the Reynard literature was used in church art by the Catholic Church as propaganda against the Lollards. Reynard's principal castle, Maupertuis, is available to him whenever he needs to hide away from his enemies.

Geoffrey Chaucer used Reynard material in the Canterbury Tales; in "The Nun's Priest's Tale", Reynard appears as "Rossel" and an ass as "Brunel". The basic situation concerns the cock Chanticleer, who lives with his three wives in an enclosure on a rich man's farm. He is forewarned in a dream of his capture by a predator but is inclined to disregard it, against the persuasion of his favourite, Pinte, who has already caught sight of Renart lurking in the cabbage patch. Eventually the two creatures meet and Renart overcomes the cock's initial fear by describing the great admiration he had for the singing of Chanticleer's father. If the son is to equal his father, he explains, he must shut his eyes as he stretches his neck to crow. But when Chanticleer obliges, the fox seizes him and makes a run for the woods with the farm workers and a mastiff in pursuit. Chanticleer now advises the fox to turn round and defy them, but when he opens his mouth to do so Chanticleer flies up to safety in a tree. Both then blame themselves for the gullibility their pride has led them into.

In 1481, the English William Caxton printed The Historie of Reynart the Foxe. Reynard is also referenced in the Middle English poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight during the third hunt. Tybalt in Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet is named after the cat in Reynard the Fox (and is called 'Prince of Cats' by Mercutio in reference to this). Jonson's play Volpone is heavily indebted to Reynard.>>
Art Neuendorffer
Reply all
Reply to author
0 new messages