Bless thee Bottom, thou art translated

The Italian translation of the North book turned up on Friday, a satisfying box of copies, shrink-wrapped like supermarket vegetables. So I find myself suddenly to be the author of L’Idea di Nord published in the “comma” series (that’s what it says — “virgola”) by Donzelli of Rome. They have done a very decent job even if they have substituted Friedrich’s predictable Arctic Shipwreck for Reinhard’s beautifully melancholy cover drawing of a broken toy boat and the snowy and deserted Lothian coast.
The translation seems pretty good on the whole (and of course reading it gives one a completely false sense of having –utinam– perfect Italian) but there are one or two slightly special moments. Chalk figures, like the Uffington horse, are transformed into “models made of stucco” and, more alarmingly (although I believe that in the Alpiniste community, many things are possible) in a quotation from Andrew Greig (poet, Scottish hero, mountaineer) the line “hung from a hand-jam” comes out as Sostenuti da una marmellata fatta in casawhich is to say “hanging on a home-made jam”.
But such slips are easily forgiven for a peroration of a grandiloquence which calls for an emphatic bel-canto setting:
Cade il silenzio intorno al fuoco. I campi gelati si allungano su ogni lato, il giardino e rabbuiato e imputridisce dentro i suoi muri e ancora gli stormi migratori frusciano e strepitano sulle colline dietro la casa. Quasi tutto cio che e in grado di consolarci e falso.
Now if onlyI’d written that.

2 Responses to “Bless thee Bottom, thou art translated”

  1. The Canadian Professor Says:

    But you did.

  2. the tropical godpapa Says:

    Congratulations! And by the way, O Best Beloved Godson, THE BOOK, at any rate in English, is not only a joy to read, but on second readings its loveliness increases.

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