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From: Pedro Jorge Romero <bempjr@redkbs.com>
Subject: Re: (urth) BookImaginaryBeings
Date: Fri, 17 Apr 1998 07:24:04 +0100

[Posted from URTH, a mailing list about Gene Wolfe's New Sun and other works]

> I have never read TBOIB in Spanish (that is to say, ELDLSI, "El libro
> de los seres imaginarios"), but I have seen incredible differences in
> a few English language editions.  I don't know which English language
> edition would be considered the best--I only know first hand how much
> some of them differ.  (Borges was fluent in English, at least
> conversationally, if I remember correctly?  Wolfe wrote a poem and an
> essay talking about how frustrated he felt for Borges who was visiting
> the US and had to deal with Americans practicing their high school
> Spanish upon him when he [Borges] was speaking to them in English.)

There should be an edition co-translated by Borges and Norman Thomas
Di'Giovanni (I am not sure of this name). That was considered the
canonical English language edition.

> For example, my 1987 edition (Penguin paperback "Revised, enlarged and
> translated by Norman Thomas di Giovanni in collaboration with the
> author (1969)"; reprinted with revisions 1974; reprinted 1980, 1984,
> 1987) has some charm, it also has some hideous typos that seem to have
> come from primitive optical scanning output which was never proof read
> by human eyes.

That one. The Spanish original is full of tipos too.

> Like this case, from the entry under "The Monster Acheron":
> "!n [sic] the tenth book of the _Odyssey_ . . . "
> It is difficult for me to imagine a copy editor who would mistake "!"
> for "I" . . .
> Some editions gloss the ancient authors in modern English; others
> maintain (or fabricate?) an ancient patina, like this gem regarding
> the Crocotta:
> "Pliny writes (VIII, 21) that the Crocotta is an animal `ingendred
> betwixt a dog and a Wolfe [sic]'"
> Well, no--Pliny was writing in Latin, wasn't he?  So this citation,
> this gem, would seem to be from a medieval English translation.
> >From Latin to medieval English to modern Spanish, then back to
> medieval English again?!
> Then again, all this textual variation seems so very "Borgesian" in
> itself!

Most of those things with translations are supposed to be done on
purpose. And I know that in the translation they went back to the
sources it that was in English.


Pedro Jorge

*More Wolfe info & archive of this list at http://www.urth.net/urth/

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