thanks for posting and sharing
The question of renaming - to detect and maybe correct misspellings - is like walking on thin ice :-)
- I have seen several translations that appear misleading to the reader. The project should be to convey Verne's possible double meaning, allusions, symbols and authentic local flavour.
To me, it is the same old question of a translator's agenda:
Is his/her project to bring the story to the reader?
- or is the project (at the same time) to bring the reader to the author.
I think what has been lacking in many earlier translations, is that they fail to convey the author's style as a communicator. The question, whether to correct and rename, 'to help the reader', may in some cases result in taking away the author's intentions.
Well, a possible explanation could of course be if Kendall had access to a proof reading copy with errors, but I do not think so either
- mainly because Munro would probably have access to the periodical/'Magasin' where the ship name read: "Viken".
Plus, as commented, this detail was a memory from his own cruise up the Oslo fjord i -61
- AND, 'fun fact': On a canal boat, the day before arriving in Gothenburg, (according to his diary notes) Verne passed a tiny lake by that very same name, 'Viken', close to Mottala in Sweden. So yes, such an allusion to his own journey - to me, is very Vernian.
SKOG/Stog/Hog - SANDKVIST/Sandgoist/Sandgoïst
Speaking about errors in the proofs, this seems to be the case regarding the name Hog, selected for the professor/MP in the novel.
In letters between Verne and Hetzel, August 6,1885 (Correspondance inédite, tome III (2002, p.311) they discuss the family name of the character Sylvius, which in manuscript at first is something like 'Stog', but in print it ended up as Hog.
[It is my theory, studying the handwritings, that he may have intended to select SKOG, which is Norwegian for forest=Sylvius (latin)
see scan, page 5: Moe (2013): "Intertextuality and Verne’s Norway" - see also link to LTdM, bottom:
Anyway, several articles on the topic (BSJV) have, as we know, pointed to the fact that both names for the main characters (protagonist and antagonist ?) of the novel, Hog and Sandgoïst, probably were found by Verne in to separate issues of the travel magazine Le tour du Monde. (links below) What I would like to add, is that here the spelling is particularly interesting, and renaming could potentially hide Verne's intention. My guess is that in the description of that Swedish farmer/innkeeper up in Lappland, both the location Wuollrim and the name Sandgoist probably are misspellings by author St. Blaize of LtdM ("Voyage dans les États scandinaves", 1856/03). I would presume the correct should be Vuollerim and Sandkvist. Then again, what is important is that Verne does not copy the spelling in LTdM exact [-goist], he adds the particular L'Accent Tréma - ï - that is also used in the french word 'egoïst' -> then: Sandgoïst, by this, adding to the quite negative aura of that character in the novel.
Which leads us to what many of us find is of essence regarding translations of VE (Verne's symbolic naming or allusions: Passepartout/Conseil - Antifer/Hatteras etc.). His double meaning, or partially hidden allusions may be lost or camouflaged, if translators selects to rename elements that at first appear strange.
TURLESON / STURLASON - SAKNUSSEM / MAGNUSSEN
Therefore, in my own country, for our new series of unabridged Verne, names are seldom renamed. F.ex, the name Snorre Turleson in Voyage au centre de la Terre - is not renamed to Sturlason (real world historian, author of Edda and Heimskringla) as it could have been. And Arne Saknussem - is not renamed to Arni Magnusson (a real world expert on ancient, Norse scrolls, 1663-1730), as several previous translations in Norway did. (Magnusson was of course not mineralogist).
Same goes, I would guess, for (same novel) Lidenbrock's friend August Peterman of Leipzig - note changed to Peterman of Gotha (real world cartographer in 1822-78) as was done in the German Bärmeier & Nikel edition 1966.
The reason for not renaming in our series, is that it can be argued that Verne deliberately wanted to point to the difference between fact and fiction. And regarding renaming, this goes both ways. I think that translators should be careful not to blur Verne's intentions for the reader.
I have seen editions where Verne's details, symbolic meaning and allusions, apparently are not fully seen by the translators. The thing is, the reader might see it.
Then again, yes, it is OK if the translator corrects misspellings. My experience is, they can be difficult to isolate.
Looking at the Verne novels where some of the action is set in Scandinavia, several names selected for local geographical details appears to be misspellings by accident. In other cases there is every reason to believe that names selected for characters, that at first glance may appear misspelled, are only meant to hint to certain historic persons. But at the same time he may have intended to keep his characters of fiction, apart from these real world persons.
As for the novel 'Le no. 9672' - in July 1861, when the author stayed three nights at the Dale guesthouse, close to Rjukan in Telemark, there were no such persons as Joël, Hulda or madam Hansen. The actual people Verne met, probably the innkeeper and his daughter, were deliberately anonymized.
SIEGFRID / SIGRID / SIGFRID/SIEGFRID - HELMBOE / HOLMBOE / HELMBOË
One good example on this topic, is, as mentioned, Siegfrid Helmboë.
Should not her name be Sigrid?
- not necessarily. This female name, spelled Sigfrid, is of old, Norse origin: 'Sigfríðr'- and is still in use today. More than 500 women in Norway carry that name in 2021. (In comparison, her boy friend's name, Joel: more than 1000+ in 2021).
And whether Verne's spelling was an unintended error, is hard to say - what he had in mind might just as well have been Siegfrid, also.
In his text "Joyeuses Misères de trois voyageurs en Scandinavie", Verne states that the travel magazine Le tour du Monde and Louis Énault's book La Norvège (1857) was a big inspiration. We have a long list of passages in BL that appears to be 'borrowed' from these sources. Names also. The names selected for the three young characters, Ole, Joël and Siegrid - can all be found in Énault's book. The family name of the latter, Helmboë - and location of their farm, in Bamble close to Hitterdal, can also be found in LTdM. The spelling is slightly changed, though - e for o.
The magazine explains about the ancient, Norwegian wooden churches of the 13th century, like the one in Hitterdal (depicted in the novel) and about a certain "M. Holmboe, qui a fait sur les traces du bouddhisme en Norvége une très savant étude, a établi un rapprochement entre cette vénérable construction de bois et les temples de l'extrême Orient."
Just like the name Sylvius Hog, that seems to be 'borrowed' from an LTdM issue about Norway - and Sandgoïst from an issue about Sweden,
it may just as well be that the name Holmboe, in this LTdM text, connected to descriptions about Hitterdal/Bamble, is a similar source.
A Norwegian scholar fitting this description (presented in 2011, Moe: www.julesverne.no
) is philologist and orientalist Christoffer Andreas Holmboe
(1796-1882). [NB: spelled with oe. - not ø]. Verne gets genuine ideas for authentic location and family name, but writes Bamble and Helmboë
. Creative, deliberate misspelling? - to keep the character separate from the real world orientalist?
BENETT / BENNETT - BOEK /BOECK / BØK
In a similar way, the names of still two more real-world persons are included in the text: The travel organizer Benett (Verne, 'misspell' the name to equal his illustrator's name: Léon Benett) and the physician, who is named twice in the novel: "Un médecin ! Pourquoi pas mon ami le docteur Boek, de Christiania?" According to his diary, apparently Verne met both in person, while in Norway:
Thomas Bennett (1814-1898) and the famous Dr. Carl Wilhelm Boeck (1808-1875). Both names are handwritten, more or less correctly spelled: Boeck and also Boek. These allusions, made to actual persons, regardless of Verne's reason for doing so, is blurred for the reader, when translator selects to rename them, f.ex. 'Bork' (Munro/Kendall) or Bøk (some translators erroneously interpret 'oe' to always equal ø).
In addition, Verne include a large number of Norwegian words/concepts, some of them probably inspired by contemporary, French travel literature (such as L. Énault and P. Riant or St.Blaise of LTdM. For those interested I can provide a translations to the Norw. expressions)
best, Per Johan
frais tissu d’« akloede »
le « flatbröd »
Saumon cuit, salé ou fumé, « hores »
le « riper », le « jerper »
la « piga »
Hulda la Blonde
Tack for mad !
l’époque où les Hansen avaient accaparé le commerce de l’Europe
le « proestegjelb »
le « dolknif »
le roi de Suède – alors Oscar XV
des « forbuds »
un « vandskyde »
Source for name Sandgoist:
Source for names Holmboe and Sylvius Skog: