Saturday, 22 October 2005

Problems With Faulkner? I'll Show You Problems With Faulkner The following questions (presented without comment) were addressed to the Faulkner listserv by the brave soul in the process of translating Faulkner's Wild Palms into Chinese. If someone could translate a generous "Your guess is as good as mine!" into Chinese I might could even respond: P.21. L5-7: How to understand the sentence: "I'll plead my ass like they used to plead their bellies and nobody ever knows just where the truth is about a whore to convict any body." Please explain it. P.39. L7: What is the meaning of "marshmallows with horseradish"? P.55. L9: "…thinking how it is not the heart at all…but our capacity…" What is the grammatical structure? What does "it" stand for? What is the subject and predicate verb of "our capacity"? P.97. L5-7: "…Even the Armours haven’t got forty-eight dollars to much….ye armourous sons. Keep up with the dog." Q: What are "the Armours" and "armourous sons"? P.100. Last Three Lines: "For sweet Jesus Schopenhauer,"…"What the bloody hell kind of ninth-rate Teasdale is this?..." Q: Why say "Jesus Schopenhauer" (referring to the German philosopher)? What is meant by "ninth-rate Teasdale"? P.102. L2-3: "'To remind us of our lost civilization when our hair begins to spread,' she said." Q: Is this a kind of prayer before meal? What has "our lost civilization" to do with "our hair begins to spread"? What style is it like to have one’s hair spread? P.122. L6-8: "…waiting for the smell and echo of his last batch of moron’s pap to breathe out of him." This baffles me a lot. Please explain it. P.123. L3-4: "…his latest primerbald moronic fable, his sexual gumdrop". Q: What is the meaning of "primerbald moronic fable" and "his sexual gumdrop"? P.158. L14: "...with which their eunuch race was cursed." Q: What is "their eunuch race" meant? Why? P.179. L9: "It's a perfect whore's name, isn't it?" Q: It seems the word "whore" is used in an unusual way, it is used by Wilbourne, and by Sharlotte, even refering to herself, willingly. Why? P.182. L16-17: "...or the experience of taking human life." Q: What is the implication of "taking human life"? P.255. L1-2: "...from the same dim hill-bred Abraham." Q: Who is the "Abraham" here? Why was he "hill-bred"? P.260. L7: " has but one language." Q: What does this short sentence mean? P.324. Last Four Lines: "...when she became not then half of memory became not and if I..." Q: What does "became not" mean? ("cease to be"?)
Spending Saturday Afternoon Being Stoned By Adam Roberts Went to the library today to pay off fines and pick up interlibrary loans. While waiting for the former to process so that the lady at the latter's desk could perform her assigned task without frowning and huffing and asking whether it would be too much trouble to fill out this seventy-four page affidavit proving that I had already deposited all arms and legs owed the University of California Regents—while avoiding that, I wandered the third floor in search of a rare (during midterm week) empty cubicle. Finally I found one inhabited by a stack of books but sans any other scholarly elluvia, so I sat down to read some George Eliot. Two minutes passed before the shame of having possibly stolen some bathroom-bound undergraduate's cubicle drove me to look at the stack of books before me. A couple of Twayne's Guides to Sounding Like You've Actually the Read the Book and Mastered the Criticism, a copy of China Mieville's Looking for Jake and a copy of Adam Robert's Stone. I looked at that one suspiciously. "Wait a minute," I thought to myself, "I know an Adam Roberts who writes science fiction novels." So I started reading it. Then I stopped... ...after an abosrbing hour. I put the book down, rescued my hostages from the untroubled inter-library loan lady and walked home. Then I ordered Stone. (Yes, I know, dissertation. And I'm on it. But Stone has passages in desperate need of underlining and, good egg that I am, I can't deface library property.) Plus, his new novel is a tribute to Y.T. called Land of the Headless. I expect those royalty checks to start streaming in any month now.

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