Comments: 29
My German is rusty and terrible, but I like the way that passage flows! Even better, I was immediately able to identify its counterpart in Spanish, because I'd also found it striking. :D
"unos quince años antes el profesor Ulises Adsuara había llegado a Circea, pequeña ciudad de la costa, donde aprendió a saborear unos erizos cuyo perfume sustituyó a toda la sabiduría de los clásicos"
BrokenTune 2 years ago
Ok, I have a question: The German text has "ueberfluessig machen", which translated to English would mean "made his knowledge of the classics redundant" or "made his knowledge of the classics surplus to requirements". Does "sustituyó" express the same sentiment or or does it refer to a more straight -forward "replacement"?
The translation would be "whose scent substituted all the wisdom of the classics." So it does have the sense of replacement/displacement.
BrokenTune 2 years ago
Oh, wisdom of the classics? Not his knowledge of the classics?
BrokenTune 2 years ago
Not that it really matters as the passage seems to be striking in either language. But it seems there are differences.
LA: "Sabiduria" really is more "wisdom" than "knowledge", isn't it? "Knowledge" would more likely be "conocimiento" ...
BrokenTune 2 years ago
Is it "his" wisdom, tho, or is it the wisdom of the classic's? The German text has it as "sein ganzes Wissen".
LA? I'm reading it more as the wisdom of the classics ("LA sabiduria de los clásicos" -- not "SU sabiduria de los clásicos", which at least grammatically would make it clear that it's *his* wisdom ... and in that event, again, the noun used might be different, too ("comprensión", "entendimiento", "conocimiento" -- all of which translate as "understanding").
Yes, it's the wisdom of the classics, not his own.
BrokenTune 2 years ago
That all makes sense. But now I'm wondering why the translator made that change.
It's not the only instance where his translation is less than precise. Which is funny, because in other instances he is literal to the point of it interfering with the flow of the German sentences.
BrokenTune 2 years ago
Sometimes I think the German text is best appreciated if you don't know anything about the original text at all ...
BrokenTune 2 years ago
Well, that worked rather well for the first 32 pages. Tho, there have been phrases, or word choices, that have cracked me up. I'll refrain from asking whether this was intended by author or whether this was the translator 's "handiwork" . ;)
Perhaps better not to even wonder? :)
I'm finding this really interesting! Please keep posting these passages so we can compare!
Also, the choice of name is interesting! The Spanish version uses Ulises instead of Odiseo; while it's certainly not a common name in Spain, it's not unheard of, and it blends in better than Odiseo (probably since it's the Latin version of the name).
BrokenTune 2 years ago
LoL. I only just finished Helen MacInnes' Home is the Hunter, which is also a kind re-telling of the story, and in this she included the following conversation between Clia (a servant) and Homer (the writer):

Penelope always calls him Ulysses.
She says Odysseus is too big a mouthful.
For instance,

(She points to ULYSSES’ chair.)

you can say “Ulysses’ chair” without too much of a splutter. But who’s going to take a deep-enough breath to say “Odysseus’s chair”?

I still say Odysseus.

MacInnes, Helen. Home is the Hunter: A Comedy in Two Acts . Titan Books. Kindle Edition.
That's so funny! And it does roll off the tongue more easily.
I found it interesting that the German translator actually does use "Odysseus" instead of "Ulises". It's one of many instances where he subtly interprets -- as if he didn't trust German readers to clue in to the allusion (they would of course know "Odysseus", as that's the only form of the Greek gentleman's name used in German ... but they might or might not make the connection with "Ulises").
In Spanish, both names are common for the hero of Homer's poem. Is the Ulises version not as common in German?
BrokenTune 2 years ago
No, it really isn't.
BrokenTune 2 years ago
I only found out that he is also referred to as Ulysses when I read Joyce. And that was after spending a lot of time being interested in Greek myths as a child.
Nope, not at all. I grew up with Greek mythology from early childhood on (I had that kind of parents), and yet, the first time I heard "Ulysses" used at all was some years after I had started to learn English -- and then it was in connection with Joyce's novel, NOT with the Odyssey, so I even only learned by a circuitous route that Ulysses and Odysseus are synonymous.
Hah -- I see we cross-posted the same experience! :D
BrokenTune 2 years ago
To be fair, learning about Odysseus' alternative name was the only thing I got from Joyce's book. It was one I would have loved to have dnf'd , if only I had known how in those days.
I DNF'd it on my first attempt (as a teenager, still in high school) -- and as a result didn't go near it again literally for decades, even after having read other things by Joyce. It more or less simultaneously took two things that made me approach it again: (1) an abbreviated NAXOS audio version narrated by Jim Norton and Marcella Riordan that really does a phantastic job condensing it down to its essentials and yet conveying a sense of the work as a whole, and (2) my "Hamlet" website, where one section consisted in tracing the impact of the play on literary history, as well as the history of the interpretation of the play itself -- and I couldn't possibly ignore the "Hamlet" references in "Ulysses" in that context.
Ulises is the more common variant in Spanish, probably because it's the Latin version.