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A Comparative Study of Two English Translations of L'Ecume des Jours by Sophie de Nodrest
In this dissertation, we will thus consider the two existing translations of L'Ecume des Jours in English, both in relation to each other and to the French original, trying to underline the strokes of genius as well as the drawbacks of each of them. This will enable us to decide, hopefully, what criteria are to be heeded to assess or translate successfully such a kind of work- i.e. a literary work in which language plays a prominent role, not as a mere tool for story-telling, but as the most striking feature and the very essence of the book.
The first translation, Froth on the Daydream, has been written by Stanley Chapman and was first published in 1967. As a matter of fact, there exist two versions of that translation, published only a few months apart. When we met him, Mr Chapman stressed the fact that the first one was only a draft and that only the second version should be considered as a 'finished good'. Strangely enough, though, the most recent edition is based on that first 'draft', hence its importance in our comparison. Besides, since it is the version that today's readers can have access to , we will refer mainly to this latest edition, pointing at the divergences when necessary. The second translation, Mood Indigo, has been written by John Sturrock and was published in 1968. However, Mr Sturrock insisted that the translation dated back to two or three years prior to its publication and had only lacked a publisher. He had translated it out of fondness for the novel, but it was not before S. Chapman's was published in England that he was contacted by Grove Press for the American market. Both were thus published at a time when L'Ecume des Jours enjoyed a tremendous success in France, selling thousands of copies and thereby compensating for its poor beginning twenty years earlier. Nevertheless, neither translation sold very well : in 1975, only 60 00 copies of Mood Indigo had been sold in the USA, a derisory number compared to the million sold in that much smaller country that France is; besides, it has never been reprinted. Froth on the Daydream was slightly better received and has been regularly reprinted ever since. This may lead us to wonder whether this had to do with the translations per se or with their public.
Consequently, we will devote the first part of our study to the impact of those translations, that is to say to the way in which an English speaking reader must have perceived them. We will first consider their readability, then the image each of them gives of the original work, and lastly their aesthetics. We will then move on to a linguistic approach to support our comparison. To begin with, we will examine some basic processes of translation - i.e. transposition, or conversion, and modulation. Then, we will scrutinise the grammatical field, that is to say noun and verb determination and syntax. Next, we will concentrate on the lexical field, both in its syntactic and semantic aspects. Last but not least, we will decide which translation best fits Vian's 'langage -univers' i , and explore the motives of this better adequacy.
A Sensualist Approach to the Translations
To begin with, we will study Froth on the Daydream and Mood Indigo from an impressionist point of view, that is to say, we will try to evoke the different reactions triggered by each of these translations and to stress what elements might be responsible for these reactions. (The pages referred to in this dissertation will be given between brackets, with the abbreviations EJ for L'Ecume des Jours, when necessary, FD for Froth on the Daydream, FD' for the second version and MI for Mood Indigo.)
Obviously, a translation is intended to be read. Consequently, the readership is a very important parameter in the assessment of a translation. However, before the public- in this case the English speaking public- can have access to the translated novel, another reader intervenes: the translator. Indeed, the translator is the first reader of the book he is going to present to the public. It is not a coincidence that John Sturrock, the translator of Mood Indigo, should have translated L'Ecume des Jours because he had read and liked the book ; he was a reader first, then a translator. Accordingly, anybody reading a translation is in fact reading the translator's reading of the original work; in a way, it is a removed reading. Indeed, before the 'innocent' reader, the translator has deciphered- or tried to do so- the original, and produced what he deems to be a faithful equivalent in the target language, so that the innocent reader discovers the text through the eyes of the translator.
As a consequence, the first task- and duty- of the translator is to understand the text fully. As I. Finlay puts it, this 'involves understanding it to the same extent as would a native-speaker of that source language', and we may even add better than him, since a native speaker may be permitted not to elucidate an ambiguity in the text, whereas the translator has to shed light on it in order to translate the passage adequately. Translation is a reading in detail.
Jouve states that 'reading (...) is a work of deciphering', and he adds that 'the novelistic reading abides by the principle of pertinence: the need to understand, the interpretative instinct are present in every reader' iv , but it is even truer for translation and translators. Indeed, it is an activity that involves a close study of the text so that one may be able to identify those different kinds of meaning, and then to transfer them all - or at least as many as possible- in the target language. But here appears one of the many pitfalls of translation: it has to be as accurate as possible and to render every nuance that is in the original text, and yet, the resources of the target language seldom allow the translator to reproduce the effects of ambiguity, multiple meaning or intertextuality, for instance. Therefore, the translator has to 'plump one out of several connotations and thus his rendering becomes an interpretation , whether he likes or not'. And this interpretation may at times be questioned; the frontier between unavoidable and abusive interpretation is hard to define.
Besides, the search for the thought behind the words is often illusory owing to its being very arbitrary: how can one decide what the author- especially when the latter is dead- meant when he wrote such expression as he chose, apart from the most obvious, the most basic signification of that expression? In the case of Boris Vian in general, and of L'Ecume des Jours in particular, the problem is outstandingly difficult, since some of his plays on words are rather obscure; in some cases, one cannot be sure whether he is confronted with a mere demonstration of fantasy or with an elaborate play on words- for instance on page 40, when Colin hesitates before his rendez-vous as to where he
-L. Necessarily. Chapman's version(s) may be of an easier access since he tends to transform French cultural elements into specifically British ones. the reader impresses on them the rhythm of his daydreaming and can turn them over at his leisure. the translator orients the innocent reader's reading. here. Rey writes that 'the illusion [of the world created in a novel] implies the reader's complicity. whereas 'Mood Indigo' could not be immediately linked to 'L'Ecume des Jours. we may compare the translator to the director: in a lesser way. . However. and 'golden' in Mood Indigo (7). who. whereas Mood Indigo only suited his translator's inclination. but becomes 'radiant' in Froth on the Daydream (9). he is not alone with the same text as the translator was.) Battling alone with the text of the stories. The Title The first feature that drew our attention at the beginning of our study was the difference in the translation of the titles. can go on reading. the translator also influences the reader's mental representation. were intended to make the book attractive to a larger public. which is the perfect illustration of the influence of the translator's own reading and subsequent choices. Chapman and by J. the English speaking reader discovers the text through the crib of the translator's eyes. he is confronted with a text that already bears a reader's imprint.a game of 'marelle' (29) has been turned into a game of 'cricket' (FD 37). In a word. or again. The translator in those cases cannot do as the French speaking reader does. The 'innocent' reader As we have seen. and thus serve its mercantile purpose.] Can the differences found between our two translations be accounted for by a difference in the targeted readership? The fact that John Sturrock translated L'Ecume des Jours for his pleasure whereas Stanley Chapman translated it at the request of a publisher cannot but be influential on the result.. as well as the overall lightness of tone. 'Froth on the Daydream' was echoing the French title. Sturrock respectively had nothing in common. all the more so when he is aware that he is reading a translation. the reader does not have the same images according to the translation he happens to be reading. Rey then goes on to oppose the reader to the cinema-goer.. just like a French reader for the original work. his reading is conditioned from the start. although puzzled by what he reads. (. the reader is not alone.will take Chloé. and evokes the 'courses de veaux' or when he rejects the idea of Saint-Lazare station because 'il n'y a plus que des brouettes et pas un seul train'. his 'complet beige' (26) becomes either a 'camel suit' (FD 34) or a 'beige suit' (MI 28). P. Similarly. As a matter of fact. We may think that the numerous puns to be found in Froth on the Daydream. for instance. P. or at least. who is dictated his mental images by the director's choice. Indeed. For instance... in both cases. the intended reader is eventually less influential on the translation than the translator himself. The translator has to make a choice and decide what the English speaking reader will be allowed to discover and/or understand.. th e more cultivated the reader is. we can already not e that S. Still. the more fully he appreciates this novel. those chosen by S. Well.-L.. although this will be studied later in this dissertation. Colin's complexion is said to be 'doré[e]' (EJ 7). [.
something that remains at the surface. the notion of surface manifestation remains. As for 'daydreams'. this includes the interplay between the whiteness of the page and the blackness of the letters. for whom the word 'écume' designs 'the fragility of human life and the impossibility to fathom its meaning'. but there is a page break between each chapter. it has been one of the biggest barrier to the success of the book. In L'Ecume des Jours. it deviates to some extent from 'jours'. 'froth' evokes the beginning of a poem by Adam Lindsay Gordon: Life is mostly froth and bubble Two things stand like stone Kindness in another's trouble Courage in your own. one of the meanings of 'froth' is 'a mass of bubbles of air or gas in a liquid'. just like 'l'écume'.. on the same page. they analyse it as a way of 'staging' the text. And yet. 'Mood Indigo' has nothing to do with the original words. and they are positioned one after the other. in reference to a song by Duke Ellington. We must notice. without page breaks. Consequently. The characters' happiness is only an appearance. the name of which occurs several times in the novel. As for him. 'Mood Indigo' is also the title of a melancholy song by Duke Ellington. for instance. Once the reader has been attracted to the book because of its title and/or cover. For J. The disposition of the different chapters. as an evocation of the sadness and loss of the book. and which echoes the jazzy rhythm of the original work and the world in which Boris Vian moved (See I. yet includes the latter in its morphology (days). to see whether it was more in agreement with his general strategy. they are announced with Roman numerals. the Roman numerals have reappeared. Besides. Consequently. and we encountered G. Whyte.. which rather tends to be literal.We looked for an explanation of the French title. they do occur one after the other. for an English speaking reader.) are often difficu lt or impossible to translate literally'. It could be back translated as something like 'L'Ecume de la Rêverie'. Additionally. the English title does not have the 'sad heroic nuance of the book and French phrase'. the novel only captures 'l'écume du malheur'. he suggested the title 'Chloe'. that is to say its surface manifestation and the interpretation of this 'parable' remains open to the reader's mind. he will flick through it and here appears another component of its appeal: the 'visual apprehension' of the text. His publishers were the ones who decided of the title. 'Froth on the Daydream' is very close to the original's words. no translation presents them in such a way: in the Penguin Books Froth on the Daydream and in Mood Indigo. the other title of which is 'Song of the Swamp'. and yet. according to R. i). although with a slight shift of emphasis. Both Arabic . that this is not the title chosen by Mr Sturrock. must be respected. in order to assess the different rendering in English. Indeed. 3. and C. This contrasts with the general trend of the novel. maybe in an attempt to integrate the book in the American culture. On the contrary. Bridet's. however. Demanuelli. but they are headed with Arabic numerals. I. Finlay states that 'titles (. Nevertheless. as for the Quarter Book edition of Froth on the Daydream. and it is a pity that Mr Sturrock was not able to remember his original title . it has to be taken into account and the original choices must be observed. and for him. and 'froth' is given as the second possible translation for 'écume' in the bilingual Robert and Collins Dictionary.
numerals and page breaks facilitate the reading. although reminiscent of the title of a song. how they have interpretated any controversial key-terms. before buying or borrowing a book. where and why their translation differs from previous ones. explaining how they have treated the work. he deliberately chose to use learned terms instead of their everyday counterpart. its cover very neuter. Whyte] 'books on Vian [and by Vian] for English readers are so rare that their authors seem always obliged to 'start agai n' introducing Vian to a readership where he is virtually unknown'. This is quite surprising since [accortding to R.. by underlining the litigious points.as enigmatic as the French original.a translated novel without a translator's preface ought to be a thing of the past. the reader will have a look at the peritext . The translator can choose to give a change of scenery to the potential reader . which is a recognised source of pleasure. by J. yet it would be interesting to know what Vian's original choices were. Once again. and/or an introduction by the novelist himself.i. whereas in the second case.oriented. The latter depends first on the number of elements typical to the source language present in the original. Strangeness of the Translations Yet another parameter in the study of a translation is its potential strangeness. and more significantly. We may conclude that both translations are put at a disadvantage by all those elements. its title is also somewhat puzzling. he would be less dependent on the translator's interpretation. a possible introduction by the translator. a layout facilitating the reader's approach. for different reasons: in the first case. Lastly. except for the contextualisation of the novel. he finds familiar features. on the orientation of the translation.a choice of alienation. The perfect example of a good introduction of that kind is the one to be found in Le Nouveau Testament. it is a problem for the translator to decide the degree to which the cultural expression is to be explained (.source. we may already note that neither translator wrote a foreword st ating his position as regards translation and justifying the choices he had to make. a presentation of the author or of the novel. P.. And yet. which may range from not at all (leaving the readers to calculate the meaning from a combination of the linguistic context and from their own reading in the [source language] culture) through a few hints to a full explanation in terms of functional (neutral) or even [target language] cultural equivalent. . when appropriate. we must add that the French 10/18 edition was not shown to advantage either. and this would give him an idea of the complexity of the original work. Both solutions may appeal to the readers. the blurb. the clearest way of comparing the different editions is to use a tabular form.a choice of naturalisation. However. yet not at a disadvantage either. Grosjean. and therefore the preface as well as the work should draw the reviewer's attentio n. its layout easy and its peritext absent.. neither translation heeded that feature of the original.).versus target. In a word. since in many instances. Anyway.e.if we consider only the latest edition. a moderately attractive cover. Not withstanding. and a mediocre peritext. the reader discovers the charms of another culture. As for the other. one translation has a rather enigmatic title . Newmark is right in saying that translators should write a preface. Still. and. or to bring the text into the latter's culture . As we have seen. then on the number of foreign elements also originally present. This would occasionally enable the innocent reader to get another light on a particular point.
. let us examine the names to be found in L'Ecume des Jours and their translations. This importance is made obvious by the occupation of Nicolas. or family. Another bone of contention is to decide whether changing the names of the protagonists should be considered as a justified case of adaptation or as a betrayal of the novel. Forster thinks that '[a] name is a linguistic element like any other. However. Cultural Motifs: 'Is strange what the speaker considers not to have any direct link with him (what is not from his country.. the recipes that he reads to Colin. but also of the relations they bear with one another in a novel. the latter explains a symbolical phrase in Russian that is meaningless in English. or that to A la Salade may disorientate a reader unused to the French culture. Ergo. The second is doubly unfamiliar for the English speaking reader. there cannot be any thematic variations. L.) can be the concern of a relation with the novelist himself.)'. and because the original situations were already 'strange': two 'terrassiers' are playing hopscotch. or to convey the author's image by using a parallel one within the conventions familiar to his target culture. But names resist translation. and 'A la Salade' applies to a coffin. the reference to the 'marelle' (29) mentioned supra. Magarshack. and the many meals that we are shown. '[t]he names of the characters of a novel (. What is interesting is that we have been confronted with two radically different strategies.. as regards names: S. or with reality. what he has no notion of. and thereby their evocative value is lost. which cannot be obliterated. we cannot but notice that many puns are lost in Mood Indigo. but which nevertheless creates an unfamiliar atmosphere. we can list the importance of food. especially in the first case. Sturrock kept the original ones.. Chapman translated or adapted most of them.. and the author is entitled to use it for its associative value (. our two translators have . Therefore.Another solution is the footnote. Chapman transformed them into a reference to 'cricket' (FD 37) and Roll Me Over (217). Likewise. to the question whether the translator is to bring out the strangeness of the original. and it seems to us that this impoverishment is more detrimental than S. Similarly. Thus. for instance. French Cultural Elements Names: To begin with. which are compensated for in Froth on the Daydream. when Mr Chapman introduces the anagram of the word 'asylum' as the name of one of the main characters. we may wonder what becomes of their 'evocative value'.). S. whereas J. if not from a novel to another'. since in a translation. but frequently used in reliable translations such as that of The Three Sisters by D.. we may fear that he is disturbing a fragile relationship unnecessarily. but here. considered by some as 'the translator's shame'. Sturrock kept 'hopscotch' (MI 32) and A la Salade (188). 'Pomiane' appears in another of Vian's work. etc. for a start. whereas J. As P.-L.on page 123. in the elements that render the translation strange to the eyes of the English speaking reader. Consequently. Chapman's modifications and/or additions. so its disappearance in Froth on the Daydream entails the disappearance of a possibly meaningful intertextuality. since he does not necessarily understand those references.. Rey puts it.
it will be interesting to have a look at its renderings. from Chapter XXIII onward. as in page 13 with 'vingt centilitres ' or in page 62 with 'une baie de cinquante centimètres de haut qui courait sur toute la longueur du mur à un mètre vingt du sol environ'. which is the agreed equivalence. who necessarily reproduce that strange reasoning. that is to say after their wedding. In both translations. more coherently. the only difference made is between the third person and 'you'. an important nuance of the original work has been lost. given by any dictionary.the formal one. Once again. for the only time of the book. according to J. At the frontier between untranslatable cultural motif and translatable feature. four feet ten from the floor' (80). Colin then becomes annoyed with that form of address. when Nicolas suggests 'si on se tutoyait?' (47). W. and uses 'tu'.. from page 47. French is more abstract than English. start with 'vous' but go on with 'tu'. in which case he uses the third person. In Mood Indigo. which is not very coherent. Language usage: By the same token. because formalities have become obsolete since everything goes wrong in Colin's life.. Nicolas uses 'vous' to answer to Colin's reproach. and only Froth on the Daydream' somewhat tries to compensate for that loss by introducing a playful suggestion in Nicolas' mouth. Tancock. about four foot ten from the floor' (sic) (67).. we may add another disturbing element for a British/American reader. all the more so since Vian plays with that tendency and mocks scientific/rhetoric discourses by keeping the traditional structure but . The former uses 'vous'. while Froth on the Daydream' offers 'Shall we kick all the other formalities down the fi re escape too?' (52). Mood Indigo and Froth on the Daydream read 'Shall we call each other by our first names?' (50). the most meaningful instance of that opposition can be found in the dialogues between Colin and Nicolas.the colloquial form of address. Chapman makes it much less so.. Next. no difference at all is made between those two stages of their relationship. 'the French are selfconsciously intellectuals in their regard for the niceties of construction and grammatical logic and purity'. Sturrock makes the translation marginally stranger than the original. According to L. it reads respectively 'seventy-five milligallons ' (15) and 'a window two feet high. the original work has been impoverished since the contrasts have disappeared. Yet. from Chapter XLI. Darbelnet. the English-speaking reader cannot but be a little troubled by those translations. for instance.and 'vous'. unsurprisingly. while Colin always uses 'tu'. Colin and Chloe. and to assess their degree of integration in the target culture. whereas the latter uses the third person of the singular to address his employer. In the translations.different answers: J. which arises from the difference between the two languages and turns of mind. and on page 23. and once again seeking a better integration into the British culture of the time. Mentality: Last but not least. whereas S. we find the references to the metric system. Therefore. we can evoke the French distinction between 'tu'. and when he is not. Lastly. Nicolas uses nothing but 'tu'. besides. Since the British/Americans do not have the same distinction. As for the other translation. but 'a bay window two feet high. this defuses the strangeness of both translations for a reader with an English culture. we read 'twenty centiliters ' (14). Subsequently. there is an alternation between the moments when Nicolas considers he is working. Notwithstanding.
hot (13) ' Id. according to their translation their could help render the translation more familiar to the reader. which the translator must try to transmit'.Le cri du Patron (75) ' His Martyred Void (FD 96) (equivalent pun) / ' His Master's Voice (MI 82) (total disappearance of the pun) As we can see. Froth on the Daydream managed to keep some of the original puns.). the reader must not be allowed to forget that what he is reading is foreign in origin and that it is one of its essential qualities. all those anglicisms have been integrated into the target -culture.. as we have seen above. Foreign Elements in the Original Work Let us now consider the many anglicisms to be found in L'Ecume des Jours. The 'clear glass translation' ought to convey the impression that the text we are reading was thought and expressed directly in our own contemporary language and uses the normal resources of that language (.filling it with farcical elements (we only have to refer to the foreword!). the question arises whether the reader should be aware that he is reading a translation. indeed. However. thus neutralising this aspect of L'Ecume des Jours. the frenchifying of pronunciation/orthography: . without being replaced by anything. two persons. what picture is more faithful to the original one. echoes . when we can find deliberate allusions to other works. i.e.the two translators. for instance all anglicisms have disappeared. but a translation necessarily distorts this aroma.Douglas (152) ' Id. The Translations As Distorting Mirrors This leads us to concentrate on the image of the original work reflected by each translation and on the feelings they trigger in the reader. We come back to the ancestral opposition between clear-glass and coloured-glass translations.plexiglas (11) ' perspex (FD 13) / ' plexiglas (MI 11) . or consistency. In fact. (FD & MI) sweat shirt (18) ' tee-shirt (FD 22) / ' sweat shirt (MI 19) . (FD & MI) .les tards-venus (74) ' the late-comers (FD 94) / ' the latecomers (MI 80) lexical transfer from English: . The 'coloured glass' version is intended to read like a translation.grapefruit (24) ' Id.have construed a same text and a same world differently. which alienated to some degree the French reader. and we must wonder which one is closer to Boris Vian's universe.' This particularly raises the problem of intertextuality. (FD & MI) semantic transfer from English: .les au-courants (73) ' the really turned-on group (FD 93) / ' the ones in the know (MI 79) . yet lexical jugglery and sexual overtones remain) / ' base ball (MI 169) (disappearance of the whole pun) morphological transfer from English: . Furthermore. or whether he should have the illusion that he is reading a work directly thought and written in English. or texture.. A literary work 'has its peculiar aroma.baise bol (154) ' screwball (FD 194) (disappearance of the justification of the pun.
When reading L'Ecume des Jours for the first time. as we can see.'Suppôt de Satin'/Soulier de Satin (123) in particular-. The mood of the book goes from joy to pain. Only the exultation resulting from playing with things matters. we are first overcome by a feeling of joyfulness and lightness. but also the rhythm of the text itself is reminiscent of jazz music. The satirical references to Claudel. heptasyllables and pentasyllables. Nonetheless. Vian belonged to the Collège of 'Pataphysics. In the second. and for whom the authenticity of words was unimportant. Besides. the wonder of ideas and imagination and the delight in language are present to the end. truth is sacrificed. while preserving and presenting the truth in a note. like the stress on colours: yellow and green at the beginning. This is made obvious by thematic motifs.. with Colin's 'phynances'. Significantly. but then the atmosphere is perverted and everything turns to despair. whereas the British one both conveys approximately the same symbolical meaning and will be more easily recognised. Thus. for instance. becoming a mere insult in both translations. The Original Perception of L'Ecume des Jours Before examining more closely the 'mirror' image rendered by the two translations. in the aforementioned translation of Chekhov's The Three Sisters. Indeed. from light to darkness. explaining that the Russian reference would be meaningless to an English audience. and justifies his choice in a note. in this matter. Boris Vian was a keen musician and he loved jazz music. and totally so in Mood Indigo. but he will possibly have kept the illusion. grey and blue in the end. at the beginning they underline the absence of gravity. Hence. on page 121. Moreover. and [the translator] has put in some invention of his own and deceived the reader. The language thus reflects this evolution towards tragedy. an organisation that was interested in imaginary creations.. but also by the tone of the novel. The translator can make it clear that here we have a quotation. the aroma of the original novel has not been respected at all in Mood Indigo and only partially in Froth on the Daydream. which shows in the fact that everything in the novel is turned into playthings. Actually. from comedy to tragedy.. This feature of his character can be found in his novels: not only do streets in the novel we are studying bear the names of famous jazzmen. rhythm is a prime mover of this book.. nor to keep the original echoes. the footnote permits not to break the illusion.. but in Froth on the Daydream the allusion is merely moved to page 102 of the translation.or even parodies in the original novel or story. Puns are much more abundant in the first half of the book than in the second one. and their gradual disappearance goes together with the darkening of the atmosphere. However. we find a very clear . by allowing any equivalence in the body of the text. Such notes are rather frequent in that book. (. (.. neither translator chose to put a footnote when necessary. as regards the translation of L'Ecume des Jours.. Those have mostly disappeared in Froth on the Daydream.) In the first case he destroys the illusion (.) but in so doing he will shatter the illusion of the reader (..) but truth is intact.) or he can manipulate his French literar y echo or quotation so as to make it sound like something from Shakespeare. two chapters are written with a very precise meter: Chapter XVI is mostly built on heptasyllables (EJ 47/48) and Chapter XXXII is made up of paragraphs of octosyllables. The hint to Alfred Jarry's work thanks to 'bouffre' (23 & 33) or 'merdre' has disappeared in both as well. the translator has replaced two lines from Pushkin's epilogue to Ruslan and Lyudmila with two lines from 'Kubla Khan'. let us start with the original perception of what Raymond Queneau baptised 'the most heartbreakingly poignant modern love story ever written'. have been erased.
). where possible. in which buildings atrophy. this different atmosphere would result from his reading of the book: the only emotion here recalled is the sadness of the end. the translator was not an innocent reader any more: he knew the end. to this end. out of compassion for Colin. in the image of the last scene of the book. for example. Hence. in which the little mouse commits suicide by asking a cat to eat her. that is to say. but also to the tragic one in the end since the rapid course of events thus appears to be ineluctable. far from creating the same impression as the original. One of the most famous features of the Rabelaisian burlesque is preciseness in the fantastic . most puns have disappeared. on page 33.decrescendo when talking about happiness and insouciance. there is 'require' in Mood Indigo. which helps create a universe unique to itself in a very convincing way. This poor reader curiously finds himself right away in as gloomy an atmosphere as in a novel by Thomas Hardy! Lastly. we can already say that John Sturrock's translation seems to adopt a sourcerer approach. III and IV. his translation sounds rather scholarly. capable of creating images which linger in the memory long after the book is finished'. we must be careful to decide whether their strangeness must be ascribed to Boris Vian's imagination or to their translation per se. The Image of L'Ecume des Jours as Reflected in Mood Indigo To begin with. when encountering strange elements in one of the translations. Mr Sturrock has normalised the text. And yet. this picture comprises many surprising elements. crescendo when talking about downheartedness. This is also why Vian is 'a superbly imaginative writer. also increases this smoothness: those creations are replaced with existing more or less generic terms. this translation is very smooth. This may come from the fact that when translating the book. it will be most interesting to study the rendering of this brisk and minute style in English. the English reader cannot observe the decrescendo present in the French version.. But further than this. the English reader encounters fewer word creations than the French reader and fewer oddities. Therefore. Accordingly. Indeed.. so typical of Boris Vian's prose. The only instances . on page 28. Nevertheless. so full of ambiguities. with more logical links and connectors. Indeed.he frequently resorts to words of Latin origin. The disappearance of most word creations. this rendering exudes melancholy and misery almost from the start. This adds to the jocose tone of the beginning. with an acknowledged meaning. leaving it to the reader to 'do the necessary homework' to decipher them.alternation of long and short sentences in many places. Mr Sturrock chose to keep the French cultural elements in his translation. Indeed.see IV. he also tends to keep the same sentence constructions or word roots. which creates a dynamic rhythm. 2. unlike the original work. and. and thus addresses a more exclusively learned readership. As a consequence. all those minute details give a realistic touch to our mental picture of this novel. for instance ( Where we find 'need' in Froth on the Daydream. of moving whimsicality. and not the jocundity of the beginning. thereby robbing the imagination of its role in the reading of this work. there is not much room for interpretation. The reader is overwhelmed by a gloomy atmosphere as if the desolation of the end had perverted the whole book. the sentences tends to be slightly shorter. that is to say. for example. to see if the impact is also one of amusing horror. and this is also a characteristic feature of L'Ecume des Jours. ergo. as we will see more in detail in Parts II. and the transitions clearer.
Moreover. 3. indeed. their mechanisms can be exposed. added to the abundance of words of Latin origin. maybe. this version seems easier to read. The translation thus probably seems weird to an English speaking reader. in the broad as well as in the narrow sense. so that some of these comical developments have no reason for being any more. which could make them aware of the prophetic dimension of Vian's work'. Indeed. we may be induced to think it an easy reading. Whyte maintains that 'exaggerated sympathy for the content makes up for the . Froth on the Daydream favours non Latin terms. they proceed from the literal translation of an ingenuous device that does not work in English. 2. several French critics thought that 'Vian [was] the author of the liberation par excellence.have been replaced with everyday words. whereas here. with a twenty-year gap. as if intended for a less cultivated readership than Mood Indigo's and L'Ecume des Jours's. that is to say one in which the reader is aware-or made aware. The same problem occurs with the literal taking of French stock expressions. Besides. and. At the outset. the sentences are much shorter.see I. the connectors more numerous. that is right. However.that the text under his eyes was not written directly in his language. R. & IV. Therefore. 2. but not weird in the sense that French readers must have perceived L'Ecume des Jours. The libertarian emergence of the 60s constituted. Likewise. iii. 1. to explain the failure of the book in the USA. The Image of L'Ecume des Jours as Reflected in Froth on the Daydream The first thing that must be noted is that Froth on the Daydream is a very fluid translation. in the French original.sometimes so learned that one wonders whether they are Vian's creations or real terms belonging to a specific field . For instance. and that this translation was too depressing to attract the favours of the public. when talking about a geological feature. as we noted when evoking Mood Indigo. Chapman had chosen to turn many specifically French references into British ones. and the 'servofrein' (73) a 'Turkish Delight' and a 'Mud Guard' (FD 94). and which have thus lost all meaning and justification. since stock expressions differ between the two languages. 'l'hyposulfite de soude' (64) has become 'bicarbonate of soda' (FD 82). seems to draw this translation toward a coloured -glass translation.aspect of Boris Vian's work has mostly disappeared in Mood Indigo.see for instance the 'petits fours' on the 'Hercynian tray' (37) as the counterpart of those presented on a 'plateau hercynien' (34). a cultural environment to his liking'. but also a 'plateau'. which makes the text sound more 'English'. most of the very numerous technical terms present in the French novel. For a start. we may more simply judge that this prophetic and libertarian. we may conclude that the gloomy image of L'Ecume des Jours in Mood Indigo's distorting mirror strongly contrasts with the original picture. with a flowing style. even more than in Mood Indigo.prophetic and libertarian because innovatory. subsequently rendering the book more easy to assimilate for an English speaking reader. most oddities can be accounted for in one way or another.see I. This phenomenon. Consequently.see for instance the development on 'exécuter une ordonnance'. ii. thereby presenting the original work as an easier book than it is. but we can already say that this does not function as it should. We will come back to this in Part IV. iii. Fauré suggests that '[m]aybe the young Americans simply lack[ed] the experience of May 1968. we have already seen that S.both a 'tray'.open to interpretation from the part of the reader are maybe the puzzling puns translated literally. which is a diaphora based on the double meaning of the word 'plateau'.see III.
In fact. without comparing it with L'Ecume des Jours-.L.) in Vian's 'espace littéraire''. applied to language and literature . we may wonder whether the simplification of the lexicon and syntax results from a choice or not.K. we discover many subtleties that might escape the inattentive reader. As a consequence. he retained a taste for scientific experiments. we have tried not to be partial and to underline the qualities and flaws of both translations alike.deficiencies in technical knowledge'. In Robert Whyte's words.on page 158. legchairs. This is particularly true for him since he had been awarded his diploma at the 'Ecole Centrale des Arts et Manufacture'. we find a new zeugma. con soles and heels and other pieces of furniture'. Multiple readings of this translation make it possible to discover additional puns or witticisms every time. while the Irish Times deems it to be 'charming. Subsequently. What is more. the Literary Review calls it 'a comic nightmare of good intentions gone from bad to worse'. Although he did not like working as an engineer. J. Mr Chapman keeps the original puns. and was thus an engineer. proving that S. a scientist. for instance. In addition. to . The Collège of 'Pataphysics In the case of Boris Vian. and a book that does not read like a translation. playful and tragic'. the translator has a responsibility both toward the author and the work he is planning to translate and toward the readers whose native tongue is the target language. For instance. when possible. This Collège was established in memory of Jarry. we must admit that Mr Chapman gives us a delightful book to read. Nevertheless. in this study. as well as from the point of view of an informed reader.. Chapman's translation as being 'too jocular'.which also triggers an anacoluthon.this sheds light on the importance of the 'mathematical treatment of language (.as innocent as we could be. the duty of the translator is to understand the book and its author. hence the necessity for him to have some knowledge of the context of the writing of that work. A further proof of his interest in language experiments is his involvement in the Collège of 'Pataphysics. from the point of view of an 'innocent' reader. and in this case.. such as the 'mudguard' transformed into a 'Mud Guard' (FD 94). Context and Fidelity As we have already noted. Scott derides S. in this translation as in L'Ecume des Jours. but he does not hesitate to erase or transform one if it does not mean anything any more in English. Indeed. he introduces new puns where there was none in French. in agreement with Oscar Wilde's ideal.e. and it is all the greater when no other translation is available. which perfectly applies to the original French novel as well. Still. Chapman respects the original design of the work. the first element that must be taken into account is his interest in language. unlike Mr Sturrock. i. with 'armchairs. there can be observed a decrescendo of word plays and of fantasy. Indeed. that is to say when trying to read it for pleasure.. to compensate for the ones he could not translate in situ. this translation is very innovating and matches Boris Vian's word creations and word plays. It will be obvious from this subpart that we have more enjoyed our reading of Froth on the Daydream than that of Mood Indigo. Even so.. when reading the book more closely. This responsibility arises from the fact that the translator acts as an intermediary in the usually privileged relationship author -reader. Vian belonged 'to a tradition of eccentric imagination often involving quasi-scientific ruminations'.
'Old Witch'. not only does Mr Chapman introduces new puns where there was none. Maybe J. to further the study of exceptions to the rule and to develop original thought having no practical application. 'Cobblered Vic'. A good part of Vian's researches at the Collège was directed to the semantic analysis and remotivation of idioms.. because of the context. C'est pitoyable la peur que les gens ont des mots: ils se laissent dominer par eux'. Accordingly.Old and New Vic. Sturrock has kept the original names. We may wonder whether notes or equivalent allusions would not have better preserved the flavour of the original work. Similarly. Faithful to its sourcerer orientation. As regards the slight increase of verbal fantasy in Froth on the Daydream. instead of having a city half imaginary half real.Paris. Necessarily. but he also shifts the setting from one capital to another. we cannot but assimilate this to a betrayal o f the original work. Here. on the contrary. All this gives us a clue of the importance of words in L'Ecume des Jours. whereas 'avenue Louis-Armstrong' (10) or 'rue Jimmy-Noone' (113) cannot. 'hôpital St louis' (sic)..in fact. This is coherent with his targeteer choice yet we may question the suitability of this modification. clichés and proverbs. J. the global disappearance of the verbal fantasy in Mood Indigo means the disappearance of one of the main features of the book and of the author.advance the 'Science of Imaginary Solutions'. Sturrock has not been brave enough. We have seen above that this aspect has been completely deleted in both translations. although these allusions are deliberate from the author's part and although they are part of the charm of the book for a French reader. we may just mention another intellectual 'trick' at work in L'Ecume des Jours: intertextuality. Geography Being aware of the context of the writing of the book is also essential in order to decipher the importance of th e setting of the novel. we must note that Paris (44) has remained Paris(55). we must remember that the peritext of Froth on the Daydream presents Vian as a surrealist writer. has changed most of the real ones: the 'Rinkspot Skating Club' (20). and of that of creation and imagination . both the real and the fictional ones. and 'gare St Lazare' (40) can be found on a map of Paris. Chapman. Indeed. Besides. we have one that is half imaginary half deformed and bears the name of another!! [Trnslation strategies] . 'Mittish Bruiseum' and 'Whiskeyloo' (50) have replaced them. 'musée du Louvre'. and also one of its prime movers. we can probably account for it as the will to compensate for the fantasy lost in the silence interpolated between the languages. as a journalist-publicist-writer-jazz musician! And in L'Ecume des Jours. thus creating an incoherence. we can observe that the setting is a blend of real life Paris and of a fictional Jazztown: the 'patinoire Molitor' (16). Boris Vian himself noted 'il n'y a pas de mystère dans les mots. British Museum and Waterloo. made it lose its relief.the centre of leftbank Paris in the immediate after-war-. Sturrock has impoverished the text. J. at the time Boris Vian was the darling of St Germain -des-Prés. S. of the importance of the materiality of the text.. J'aime bien jouer avec. All those names are in fact puns made up from famous places in London . What is more. first..
who states that 'it is essential that every el ement in the original text be represented in translation'. for instance. he wants the English speaking reader to enjoy himself and to feel at ease when reading his book. Tancock. unlike for Mr Chapman. among many others. for examples) . Means: . by creating a light atmosphere in the beginning.deletion of elements: the last paragraph in chapter LX (EJ 163) has been totally removed. Means: . let us thus just recall those strategies more clearly. W. for instance (FD 205). Most prominent side: 'artistic' side of translation Mood Indigo : Choice: Mr Sturrock respects every word of the original work. the atmosphere is perverted by that of the end. hectic yet coherent ..preservation of the puns that survive the language gap . you begin on atmosphere. since he brings about the suspense. Froth on the Daydream : Choice: for Mr Chapman.Latin words + syntactic calques Result: .i. and thus foreshadows it even for an innocent reader. construction and general suitability (.sadder and more sober than L'Ecume des Jours .a counterpart for every element of the original text.. FD 78).no addition nor deletion of elements . which was self sufficient in L'Ecume des Jours (65). or 'se ruèrent sur lui' (75) 'rushed to his aid ' (96). Most prominent side: 'scientific' side of translation. which does not unveil what follows. for him. felicity is more imp ortant than fidelity . but the latter was not chosen by the translator. except for the title. . .addition of elements: new puns compensating for the lost ones + gratuitous details (the precision 'parched dry' when evoking Partre (FD 98) or 'unusual' to qualify 'this light' (83).). in agreement with L.very coherent in its choices. And this at once becomes a personal . . Kind of reading: 'informed' reading. fidelity is more important than felicity. ' sur le perron' (58) ' halfway up the stairs' (75).unfaithful in many places Kind of reading: Mr Chapman enables the reader to have a 'naive' reading .highly enjoyable to read and study.We have already caught a brief glimpse of each approach supra : sourcerer for Mood Indigo and targeteer for Froth on the Daydream.idiolectal English Result: .distortion of thematic pattern: ' honteux d'être si riche' (46) becomes ' happy that he was so rich' (56).e. as well as the 'injures' received by Colin and Chloé in L'Ecume des Jours (EJ 61. 'When you have your equivalent from the point of view of meaning.
. for instance. of which he had not find the true signification. insolence and ' ludisme ' that makes it a delight to read. This is why J. and in every field of our study. »'.. that is to say what are the basic principles behind the two sets of diverse facts we have noted. intuitively as well as concretely. we have seen that the two translators had radically different strategies to render Boris Vian's masterpiece in English. and not only because of those of his works that adopt the canonical form of poems. he 'shows us the 'frozen words' 'thawing out''.. Thus the Verb reigns over Boris Vian's world. As for him. where we find a concentrat ion of fricatives. rhythm and sound patterns are also primordial in a poem. dit le Religieux fièrement.affair. and they too have a particular significance in the book. Re Creation of a 'Langage Univers' In our previous parts. Indeed.'is entirely based on language. perhaps even of art'.. In this last part... J.). The 'loufoques ' live in a special world where the word is king (.. we will consider how L'Ecume des Jours can be assimilated both to a poem and a recreation . heterogeneity. Thus the Verb has really become God'. To begin with. while others are built with a particular meter. as on page 50. we will inquire into the possibility that those different principles might ensue from the adoption of two opposite kinds of reading. then L'Ecume des Jours is undoubtedly one. tactile and visual) and emotions. enhanced or rather created by Vian's particular use of language. this is one of the most prominent features of the book. Barthes in Le Plaisir du Texte. Clouzet notes that Vian 'never threw a word on paper which he had not previously mastered. Le Chuich e fit un long siff lement: «Fuuiiouou..the abundance of sensual images (auditory. olfactory. before stressing how and why one translation can be similarly considered and the other not at all. without having to conform to a reality independent from it.sounds. was creating its own universe (. Additionally. According to J. the style of L'Ecume des Jours displays inventiveness.) is the succession of experiences. Bens. Besides. we will thus examine why exactly one of the two translations appeals so much more to us than the other one.this recreation so entrancing.through which we pass when reading or listening impressionably and exerting our imagination in the act of re-creation. images. following a distinction established by R. like Rabelais. a loufoquerie that might be defined as follow: 'Loufoquerie ' consists in a way of telling everything as if the language. this universe is that of ' loufoquerie '.. the one that our ' laisser -écrire ' conceals all too often'. A poem (.. Mainly verbal at the origin. thoughts. this humo ur ends up becoming almost a philosophy and a way of living. . a matter of intuition. it is not a surprise that we should find a critical book on Vian in the 'Poètes d'Aujourd'hui' collection of the Pierre Segher editions. and Vian over the Verb. that is to say is born from it and finds every one of its justifications in it. gustative. Last but not least..). Therefore. Many passages are alliterative. This can be observed at every level. as we have seen above.a true recreation.. emotions. 'Boris Vian's world'.'Et quator z e Enfants de Foi. Maybe Mr Sturrock stopped too early to render L'Ecume des Jours satisfactorily.' If we follow this definition of a poem. Bens can talk about a ' langage univers' (my italics). In particular.
And talking about Heartsnatcher. but in his own language. Mounin writes that 'the total meaning is the decisive element of the music of a text (. that is to say that he pays great attention to the original lexicon . A compliment which we would extend to Froth on the Daydream. that his translation of L'Ecume des Jours was inferior in quality to Mr Chapman's. but for a challenging text. L.. It is the last resource. when translation is 'impossible'. This seems to apply perfectly to Mr Chapman's version.. G. once again.. Thus we can see that the poetical aspect of the work deriving from its musicality is preserved anyway.e.). it is not infrequently called on'.that creativity comes into play.and its spirit. in accordance with the expression we are looking for in the reading of a text (. from the strict point of view of accuracy..As we can see. he almost makes.inaccuracies present in the latter is that the details contributing to what Barthes calls 'l'effet de réel' are n ot . One of the consequences of the numerous . where words represent images and connotations rather than facts. hence in L'Ecume des Jours. He then adds that 'it is in expressive texts. there is no literal translation possible. to make words up. and makes what used to be called a literal translation. stories (. or is he a mere 'technician'? And if we recognise him as an artist. and very rightly so (. he uses Vian's techniques. Moreover.or creates. It hovers when the standard translation procedure fails. much more faithful to the original text. However. Phonetics is a servant'. i. Even Mr Sturrock admits. they simply do not tackle the issue in the same way. that is why we may talk in his case of a re -creation . It is much more a matter of identity springing from otherness'. he wrote: Its translator. with its processes . hence a universe.... Mr Sturrock seems to have attached himself to the original words . Re Creation of that Recreational 'Langage Univers' We cannot say that either translator neglects words as such in their respective translations.). in his preface to Mr Chapman's translation of L'Arrache-Coeur..as we have seen. every critics agrees about the role of cornerstone of the word in Boris Vian's work. Where Mr Sturrock has translated isolated or individual words..an English L'Ecume des Jours. hence its importance in its translations. that is to say that he lays the emphasis on the final result. Maurice Blanchot maintains that 'if we want the translated work to resemble the work to be translated. what freedom does he have? P. Newmark states that 'the creative element in translation is circumscribed. to invent. And it cannot be denied that L'Ecume des Jours is a 'challenging' and 'expressive' text. which explains our preference for Froth on the Daydream.although minute..).) because it is no good merely reproducing French like Vian's as best as you can. he does not draw a mere shadow of L'Ecume des Jours in English. so that creativity is totally justified in this case. and we tend to agree with him.. This leads us to ponder upon the status of the translator: do we have to consider him as an artist in his own right. and the play of words becomes creative' l. Indeed. Forster maintains that 'only a translation that is a re-creation can do justice to a work of art'. Mr Chapman. Mood Indigo is indisputably mor e reliable than Froth on the Daydream.. we use or dismiss the incidental resources of phonetics. Mr Chapman has translated a system . you have to try and do a Vian in English . Mr Chapman seems to have preferred to concentrate his skill on the translated words . Mr Chapman has done a supremely good Vian here.poetry. has made what is called a free translation .
That pleasure originally arises from novelty .. we think that Vian's 'réel' is so strange that it does not suffer from slight distortions here and there as long as the reader is immersed in a coherent universe abiding by the same rules as the original one does. nothing is more easy than to immerse oneself into such novelty. so it belongs to the translator to preserve that quality of novelty for the English reader. i.. Newmark writes that the skill of translating most texts lies in the alternation on the one hand of literal or rule governed and on the other hand of 'ludic' creative translation.I. with its own atmosphere. the latter must convey that pleasure above all. The origin of the discrepancy that can be observed between the two translations thus probably lies in their translators' original reading of L'Ecume des Jours as well as in their conception of translation in general. In our case. according to him. the latter trend is better adapted.. since the future readers of a translation will discover the text through the crib of the translator's own reading. yet it is a necessary one. we read to enter a new world.the same in the French novel and its creative translation. Yet it seems to us that one of the two tendencies is always heavier than the other for each tra nslator.. We would add that it is also important that it .. Another condition of that pleasure. and that his first task was to understand it. When applied to a novel by Boris Vian. Besides.rule-governed is used in the sense of conformity to the grammatical shifts. Barthes then evokes Freud to stress again that 'for the adult. to become someone else. to forget our own conscience. in our point of view. Reading as a Quest for Pleasure Reading is a recreational activity that requires time.) is opening an horizon'.. is that the book should have been written 'dans le plaisir'. novelty always constitutes the condit ion of pleasure'. despite. We have already mentioned that notion of pleasure in our first part: Mr Sturrock had translated the book because he had liked it as a reader . For our part.. hence the better result we observe in Froth on the Daydream. still according to Barthes. Mr Sturrock resorts more easily to rule-governed translation whereas Mr Chapman rather resorts to creative translation. so that we may wonder whether we are confronted with the same 'réel'. 1.or because of the rigour of Mr Sturrock's version. And the final aim of that experience is pleasure.the novelty of the universe we thus discover and/or build when 'entering' a book. which goes as far as to question the language itself. 'Entering a work [of literature] (. lexical equivalences and retention of emphasis (.). This is not a sufficient condition. Different readings of L'Ecume des Jours We have already underlined that each translator was first a reader of the book he was going to translate. R. In the case of L'Ecume des Jours. a different un iverse.
the translator's reading of the novel explains his choices. Stanley Chapman seems to consider L'Ecume des Jours as a text of 'jouissance'. Chapman's than to J. L'Ecume des Jours is a text of 'plaisir'. without heeding their texture. of reaching Barthes' 'satisfaction romanesque'. although this is not the cause of the divergence between Mood Indigo and Froth on the Daydream. On the contrary. He considers the plot as the most important element in the book. Mr Sturrock's translation would be a good translation had not the text belonged to the texts of 'jouissance'. A Text of 'Plaisir' Versus a Text of 'Jouissance' In his Plaisir du texte. For him. The sensations of freedom and creativity evoked earlier on are the ones that enable translators to consider translating 'dans le plaisir'. a reading closer to S. He lays the emphasis on the tragic love story between Colin and Chloe. which includes Colin and Chloe's love story but cannot be reduced to it. or some dialogues there. Roland Barthes makes a difference between what he calls texts of 'plaisir' and texts of 'jouissance'. As it is. he missed the essence of the book he was going to translate. Sturrock's. the same recreational moment and the same poignant emotion.] Here again.. The first kind of reading applies to books in which our pleasure is born from the narrative suspense. He thus applies himself to rendering Vian's manipulation of language and in so doing he re-creates Vian's universe. Indeed. Conclusion .but also translating at all. since both translators had enjoyed translating L'Ecume des Jours. This is this curiosity about the end of the story that leads us to skip a few descriptions here. fantasy reigns and enables the same criticism of society as the original. a difference particularly obvious in the way we read each kind of text. and thus favours accuracy about the facts rather than about the technique of writing. He thus concentrates on language and atmosphere rather than on facts. and especially why factual accuracy does not really matter for him. obviously. Ba rthes' terms. Our appreciation of the two translations has probably been influenced by the kind of reading we had made of L'Ecume des Jours. still in R. In his translation.that is to say to reach a status comparable to that of an author in his own right and not to resemble a performing computer. In our point of view. and his translation bears the marks of that reading of the book.. this seems to be the kind of reading adopted by John Sturrock. not on their strange verbal universe. what interests the reader in those books is the gradual unveiling of the plot. and his excitation arises from the hope of learning the end of the story. What occurs on a narrative and linguistic level is more important in his eyes than the plot in itself. In our point of view. [.should have been translated 'dans le plaisir'. This is why indeed we can skip a few passages. the concrete aspect of the text.
the verbal facet-. on the one hand. that is to say the aspect most precisely rendered in Froth on the Daydream. because of Mr Chapman's wish to give an English flavour to Boris Vian's work. inaccuracy and factual distortions in Froth on the Daydream. and concluded that although they logically appear in both translations. we first evoked the two basic processes of translation transposition and modulation.Mr Sturrock visibly attached himself to the original words and plot. the lexical aspect of the work. and then of rendering. Accordingly. we pondered upon the probable cause of such a wide divergence between the two translations and we concluded that it could be ascribed to the way in which the two translators had read and perceived the book. we must decide to which category of texts it belongs. Next. before moving on to syntax.To begin with. still confirmed the general aim and strategy of each translator. This entails for the translator a responsibility of understanding. Indeed. We then adopted linguistic tools to examine the texture of each translation and see whether our intuition about their respective orientation was borne out. we may enjoy Froth on the Daydream as the better of the two translations. the latter aiming at an English L'Ecume des Jours. Last but not least. requires a creative translator. the main asset of a text of 'jouissance' is its verbal texture. in fact. We thus considered several important aspects of the book and their translations to determine whether the two translators have been equal to the task they had been entrusted with. that its universe was based on language manipulation. despite its faults. thus alienating the potential English speaking reader. entertaining. those processes are more prominent in Froth on the Daydream. we investigated the fields of noun and verb determination. which would explain Mr Sturrock's concern with factual accuracy.a 'langage-univers'. we underlined that a translator is first and foremost a reader of the book he is going to translate. and Mr Chapman's reading and Barthes' texts of 'jouissance' on the other hand. they display radically different strategies: Stanley Chapman's Froth on the Daydream obviously seeks to be integrated into the target culture whereas John Sturrock's Mood Indigo remains closer to the source culture. the other at a French L'Ecume des Jours accessible to the English speaking readership. divergences abound for verbal determination and syntactical structures but are much less numerous for noun determination. whereas Mr Chapman concentrated on the 'resulting' words and on the mechanisms ruling Vian's universe in L'Ecume des Jours. but also emotional and satirical. Hence. like Raymond Queneau or Alfred Jarry in French or Lewis Carroll in English. Those general trends entail many drawbacks on both sides: austerity and disappearance of a whole facet of the original work in Mood Indigo. We agreed that this was a poetical work. in our point of view. it is obvious that L'Ecume des Jours should be classified as a text of 'jouissance'. so that the translated text subsequently bears the marks of that first reading. its essence being verbal. Indeed. as regards the strangeness of each translation. as a consequence. to decide which translation best suits L'Ecume des Jours. Consequently. We thus established a correspondence between Mr Sturrock's reading of the book and what Roland Barthes calls texts of 'plaisir'. intuitively as well as analytically. first.rather the contrary. but not really worse than the original one. which we found mediocre in both cases. the most attractive feature of a text of 'plaisir' is its plot and the narrative suspense that goes with it. The differences between the two translations began to appeared from the next point of our study onward. and we observed that the two translations only agreed when confronted with a constraining feature. The last domain which we scrutinised. Similarly. Boris Vian. Therefore. All those divergences reinforce the discrepancy between Mood Indigo and Froth on the Daydream. but more important still. We started with the appeal of the text. .
who does not hesitate to dent his target language. be it a Looking-glass House or a Never-Never Land..so as to re create a parallel universe.. .usually his mother tongue.
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