Translations - "Un Billet de loterie. Le numéro 9672" / The Lottery Ticket

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pj moe

Mar 3, 2021, 5:06:37 PMMar 3
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For those interested in details regarding translations of Verne's 'Le no.9672', I suggested a new string/discussion here on the Forum.

About the earliest editions in English
The novel was first published in France, in 'Magasin', vol. 43 + 44 from January through to November 1886.

* Apparently, first volume of the US edition (Laura E. Kendall translation) - according to "Jules Verne Encyclopedia" (Taves/Michaluk (1996:p.171) - came out before the last instalments were printed in France: "On July 23, 1886, George Munro copyrighted volume one of Ticket No. 9672, and two deposit copies were received by the Library of Congress on September 1. This book was published by July 28, 1886"

* The first UK edition (Sampson Low), with unnamed/unknown translator, having 37 illustrations, appears to have been published shortly after the last instalment was out in France - the title page reads:
by  Jules Verne [...] London, Sampson Low, Marston, Searle & Rivington [...]
So, the US/Kendall translation was out before the UK edition.
And, as already commented on the Forum, the texts in these editions suggests different translators. 

Still, as previously commented, I keep wondering how can it be, that both these translators, for the UK and the US editions, both ended up with the idea of renaming that central element of the novel, the vessel missing at sea:
Le "Viken", and change it to: "Viking"  [Sampson Low, ch.1p. 11]?
The word 'Viking' probably gave an authentic flavour to the text, with it's Norse connotations for the readers - but Verne selected:  Le “Viken”  
- most likely because it was THE very ship which, in July 1861 too him to Norway. 
[This ship was a paddle steamer carrying mail and passengers between Germany (Kiel), Sweden (Gothenburg), Norway (Christiania) and Denmark (Copenhagen). 

Later the same ship name “Viken” (word meaning ‘bay’ in Norwegian) was selected also for the novel "Mirifiques Aventures de Maître Antifer" (1894) on his journey on the western coast of Norway.]

One explanation could be that Kendall came up with the idea of changing the name - and the second translator (Samson Low edition) - having read the first, chose to go for the exact same renaming.
But, Note: similar, parallell changes were not made by Sampson Low for other names in the novel.
(Munroe/Kendall did smaller modifications for several names, see examples below)

 Studying these translations, an other interesting detail is,  - for me as a Norwegian anyway -  that the word 'TELLEMARKEN' is used on the title page of the Sampson Low edition. This edition's subtitle reads: "A tale from Tellemarken"
The word TELLEMARKEN (which, spelled like this is Norwegian) indicates that the translator may have had a Nordic connection. It suggests that the US translator was familiar with material written i Norwegian. 
[In Norway , around 1880 - the spellings Thelemark and Tellemarken were in frequent use. The latter, in the form Telemark+EN, means, to be gramatically specific:
Le Telemark = The Telemark = Tellemarken
(en = specific form in Norwegian. Equivalent to article: such as 'the', which we don't have)

Verne himself wrote "Telemark" in the novel - and in some places (ch.2): Le Telemark, 
Munro/Kendall translation uses: Telemark and "the Telemark".

In French travel literature in the mid-1800s, one might find spellings: Thelemark or Telemarck (ref. Paul Riant, "Le Tour du Monde" 1858). ]

Therefore it is noteworthy that the Samson Low edition uses the form Tellemarken  throughout the novel.

The translator may have been familiar with Norwegian, illustrated literature, using such spellings, that was available both in UK and France. One example: 

The use of 'ash' - an other interesting Nordic detail
The Sampson Low edition used the letter 'ash' (ae), in the correct places according to Norwegian language, whereas the Hetzel/Verne edition does not:
* One example is the spelling of the word 'sæter'
(Norwegian word for small farm building in the high mountains), 
* or the name 'Mæl', a neighbouring hamlet further down the valley 
(both are correctly spelled in Sampson Low, according to N. language) 
- whereas Hetzel/Verne’s French editions reads Soeter and Moel. 
Munro(Kendall) edition: Souter/Soetur and Moel - which is not so strange, as the words probably were incomprehensible (Verne quotes many Norw. words and expressions in the novel, but spells them wrong).
What is suprising though, is, how come the Samson Low translator knew how to correct the 'errors' in the Hetzel text?

Other examples, modified names:
JV=> Andresen ;   Sampson Low=> Andresen ;  Munro/tr.Kendall=> Andersen
JV=> Boek  ;   Sampson Low=>Bock /later: Boek    ;  G.Munro/tr.Kendall=> Bork  
JV=> Hog   ;    Sampson Low=> Hog  ;    George Munro /tr. Kendall=> Hogg   

(I do not have a complete analysis, but for those interested, I can provide examples
 - also on deviations from Vernes original text)

I would really like to know more about both translators of these interesting versions.

Jan Rychlik

Mar 11, 2021, 5:19:54 AMMar 11
Dear Johan, 
thank you for this preliminary analysis. It is strange that one of the English translations while correcting the Norwegian words yet changes Viken for Viking. I think you are right that both translators (or editors?) considered Viking a word of more Norvegian flavour. 
The only other possibility is that Viking actually was in the test copy (typesetting which JV used to proofread such as on which the first English translation seems to be based since it was published before the last installments of the Magasin. But I do not think so since Viken is in the manuscript and the memory of his Scandinavian travel was obviously so dear to Verne that he would have corrected such a misspelling when proofreading the test copy. 
There is only one Czech translation published in 1908 and reissued ever since 1990s and Viken is given correctly in it. As for the Norvegian words, there is saeter and Mael in the Czech translation (without æ, which probably follows the standards of transcription) and the other thre words are same as in French (Andresen, Boek, Hog). I think that it is OK if the translator corrects such misspellings based on his/her knowledge. For instance, in Voyage au centre de la terre, chapter 18, there is a mistake - Verne refers to a Wuttemberg in Bohemia, i.e. Kuttenberg (Kutna Hora) - which was corrected in German translation as well as in all the 5 Czech translations (in one case the translator even switched it for another Czech mining locality since it matched better the context).
But how about Siegfrid Helmboë? Should not her name be Sigrid? And if so, was it corrected in the Sampson Low edition? It is at least the case of one of the modern editions of the 1908 Czech translation. 

3. 3. 2021 v 23:06, 'pj moe' via Jules Verne Forum <>:

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Mar 11, 2021, 7:38:24 AMMar 11
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Hello Jan,
James posted the link to a scan of the Sampson Low edition in the other thread about The Lottery Ticket:
You can see that Siegfrid is still Siegfrid in that translation.

Sigfrid (without the "e") is a rare name, but it exists:
In Norway, Sigfrid is given as a feminine name.[1]

Best wishes

Jan Rychlik

Mar 12, 2021, 4:37:16 AMMar 12
Dear Matthias,
thank you for pointing me to the link and for the explication of Siegfrid/Sigfrid. 
Meanwhile I have checked the orginal 1908 edition of the Czech translation, finding that "Sigrid" (actually "Sigrida", i.e. with the ending typical of Czech feminine names) instead of Siegfrid is already there. Unlike the French original, "saeter" together with "gaard" are explicated in a footnote to the 1st edition of the Czech translation.
The same explication, albeit in parentheses, was provided and Siegfrid changed to Sigrid in German translation (1888) as well. 
Best regards

11. 3. 2021 v 13:39, '' via Jules Verne Forum <>:

pj moe

Mar 12, 2021, 9:23:47 AMMar 12
to Jules Verne Forum
Vernian friends,
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. 

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. 
[Verne did met a widowed innkeeper by the name Hansen, though ('madam' Inger Kristine Hansen) - and stayed one night at her 'Hansen's private hotel' - but that was in Kongsberg. (

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: + f.note27) 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? 

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

Examples :
des gaards 
le skydskarl
frais tissu d’« akloede »
le « flatbröd »
Saumon cuit, salé ou fumé, « hores » 
le « riper », le « jerper » 
les fields
la « piga »
«la fröken» 
Hulda la Blonde
Tack for mad !
Wed bekomme 
l’époque où les Hansen avaient accaparé le commerce de l’Europe 
le stock-fish
le « proestegjelb »
le « dolknif »
le roi de Suède – alors Oscar XV 
du Storthing
lac Fol
des « forbuds »
un « vandskyde »

Links, LTdM:
Source for name Sandgoist:
Source for names Holmboe and Sylvius Skog:,_1858/01

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