"He was quite helpful, but then I trusted him too much."
September 15, 2014 5:41 AM   Subscribe

Lydia Davis on Madame Bovary, Nabokov's Marginalia, and Translation: [YouTube] In this video from the Center for the Art of Translation, author and translator Lydia Davis discusses how she used Nabokov's margin notes from his edition of Madame Bovary to aid her own translation. She also discusses in-depth translation choices that she made. A full audio recording of this event can be hard on the Center's website.
posted by Fizz (9 comments total) 30 users marked this as a favorite
 
> Lydia Davis discusses how she used Nabokov's margin notes from his edition of Madame Bovary to aid her own translation

But I like that she adds "But then I trusted him too much, and found that he wasn't always right, so I had to back off a little bit." Take that, VV! You'd think she'd know how to say Na-BOKE-ov, though.
posted by languagehat at 7:20 AM on September 15, 2014


Lydia Davis is one of my favourite living writers. Thank you very much for posting this - can't wait to watch/listen.
posted by erlking at 7:42 AM on September 15, 2014 [1 favorite]


You'd think she'd know how to say Na-BOKE-ov, though.

Rhymes with "redeemer to talk of", according to one unreliable witness.

speak, memory
posted by Wolof at 7:46 AM on September 15, 2014 [1 favorite]


Rhymes with "redeemer to talk of", according to one unreliable witness.

Is there Conclusive Evidence of this?
posted by Celsius1414 at 8:38 AM on September 15, 2014


Fabulous. Thanks!
posted by OmieWise at 10:03 AM on September 15, 2014


“It is indeed a tricky name. It is often misspelt, because the eye tends to regard the "a" of the first syllable as a misprint and then tries to restore the symmetrical sequence by triplicating the "o"- filling up the row of circles, so to speak, as in a game of crosses and naughts. No-bow-cough. How ugly, how wrong. Every author whose name is fairly often mentioned in periodicals develops a bird-watcher's or caterpillar-picker's knack when scanning an article. But in my case I always get caught by the word "nobody" when capitalized at the beginning of a sentence. As to pronunciation, Frenchmen of course say Nabokoff, with the accent on the last syllable. Englishmen say Nabokov, accent on the first, and Italians say Nabokov, accent in the middle, as Russians also do. Na-bo-kov. A heavy open "o" as in "Knickerbocker". My New England ear is not offended by the long elegant middle "o" of Nabokov as delivered in American academies. The awful "Na-bah-kov" is a despicable gutterism. Well, you can make your choice now. Incidentallv, the first name is pronounced Vladeemer- rhyming with "redeemer"- not Vladimir rhyming with Faddimere (a place in England, I think).”
― Vladimir Nabokov, Strong Opinions
posted by Lorin at 10:09 AM on September 15, 2014 [2 favorites]


> Na-bo-kov. A heavy open "o" as in "Knickerbocker".

I was confused by that for years. It may have approximated to Petersburg use when he was growing up, but currently spoken Russian definitely does not have an open o (i.e., in the vicinity of "aw")—it is a pure closed o, like my "boke" but without the u-glide that terminates the English vowel (because, impure creatures that we are, we have no pure vowels).
posted by languagehat at 11:22 AM on September 15, 2014


Translating Madame Bovary well would be quite a feat. Flaubert labored over every word in the original, and you can tell -- the prose is crisp, clear, and singing.
posted by spacewaitress at 11:45 AM on September 15, 2014 [3 favorites]


I was confused by that for years. It may have approximated to Petersburg use when he was growing up, but currently spoken Russian definitely does not have an open o

Yeah, I always figured that was an artifact of the upper-class Petersburg accent of the time. I've heard some intelligentsia-Russians use that open o in places where most Russians use a closed o.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 12:46 PM on September 15, 2014 [1 favorite]


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