Friday, January 6, 2017

Challenge Link-Up Post: Classic in Translation


Please link your reviews for your Classic in Translation here.  This is only for the Classic in Translation category.  These should all be classics that were originally written in a language other than your primary language; that is, if you are a native English speaker, it should be a classic written in another language other than English.  If you are not a native English speaker, it could be in English (or any other language, other than your primary language). If you want to read the book in its original language, that's fine too!

If you do not have a blog, or somewhere public on the internet where you post book reviews, please write your mini-review/thoughts in the comments section.  If you like, you can include the name of your blog and/or the title of the book in your link, like this: "Karen K. @ Books and Chocolate (Les Miserables)."


27 comments:

  1. This category was a free choice for me because I've decided against reading any classics in my native language for this challenge, so I picked a classic I wanted to read for ages, Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh. -Anahit

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  2. Somebody I respect told me that a person that really likes to drink doesn't need a reason to drink, but it always bugged me that Waugh never specifies in Brideshead Revisited why Sebastian drinks. Recently it bugged me that in The Steppe Checkhov does not say why the uncle and priest let the kid travel with the rough-neck drovers and shepherds. Details, details.....

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  3. I just finished The Case of Comrade Tulayev by Victor Serge (1947, translated from the French by William Trask). It's a fantastic novel about the Stalinist purges of the '30s. I had to put it down after every few chapters and walk away, because it had so many dark and amazing reflections about what living in a country run by a paranoid man and a bunch of ideologues who put the power of their party over the good of their nation can do to people's bodies, minds, and souls. It was a little * too * resonant with the current times. The translation also should get a lot of credit for perfectly capturing the Soviet "doublespeak" that Orwell parodied in 1984 and Animal Farm.

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  4. I read Verne's The Mysterious Island because my sons have wanted me to read it for ages. It is their favorite Verne. I certainly see why young teens would love it! It was a lot of fun, even if there was a bear which was like a koala but was actually a sloth . . . still fun. :-)

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  5. No accusing me of doing this the easy way. I just posted a link to my review of Les Miserables. It was excellent.

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  6. Just finished all 900+ pages of Herodotus's Histories in the excellent "The Landmark Herodotus" edition. Highly recommended if you're a history geek!

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  7. Sharing my first review for "The Parent Trap", which was a lot of fun after growing up on these movies!

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  8. My Thucydides review is finally up! (I finished the book on Saturday). It's my 3rd book for this challenge (after Hadji Murat for Russian novel and Herodotus's Histories for my pre-1800 classic). Totally worth it. (It would have amused me to put this in the category "Place you'd like to visit" because I would, but, er, not at the time. I have a few possibilities for that category, though, so I'll save it...)

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  9. Just added 'Cancer Ward' by Solzhenitsyn. Love this man's writing!

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  10. Just read The Three Musketeers, my first Dumas, and loved it!

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  11. I read The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain in Norwegian. This was kind of an easy challenge, as most classics are not Norwegian :p

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  12. I found reading Kristin Lavransdatter:The Wreath much more enthralling than I expected. Even though it is set in 14th century Norway the coming of age theme seems very relevant to today. I will definitely read Volumes 2 and 3.

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  13. I just finished The Phantom of the Opera for my classic in translation. Not what I'd expected at all.

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  14. Moliere's The Misanthrope - Moliere was a French actor who became a playwright. His plays were comedies, typically either political or religious farce and/or satire. Richard Wilbur is well known for his translations of Moliere. The original French rhymes and Wilbur made a point of creating a translation which also has rhyming couplets throughout. This is one of Moliere's best known plays and is all about manners or the lack thereof. IS it appropriate to tell people what you really think when they ask? What about all the things people say about others when those individuals are not present? And what about a female who amuses herself with an entourage of men courting her by deluding each one into thinking he is the one she loves?

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  15. I read 'The Adventures of Pinocchio' by Carlo Collodi for this category. I found a wonderful illustrated edition with a great introduction on its history.

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  16. The School for Wives by Moliere (A comedy in five acts) - Arnolphe who now wishes to be known as Monsieur de la Souche has kept in ward Agnes secluded in a convent school and now in a home he owns. He has attempted to keep her uneducated and quite controlled so that he may marry her and be certain she will do as he demands. His maxims for wives include: he has taken her for his bed alone, she needs no fine attire, let not her daub her face, let her be veiled whenever she leaves the house, let her not admit anyone to the house, to refuse all gifts from other men, she needs to do no writing of letters, social gatherings are not allowed, decline to play at gambling, and not to go on gay excursions. Despite his attempts, she falls in love with Horace, the son of Oronte who is Arnolphe's friend. How will it end? Enter Enrique!

    This translation by Richard Wilbur does maintain the rhymed couplets of the original French and that he was able to do so is impressive.

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  17. The Bungler by Moliere - In 17th Century Sicily, Mascarille, a clever valet, attempts to help his employer Lélie win the girl he desires. However, Mascarille discovers that Lélie is a dunce who ruins every one of his intricate schemes. A determined Mascarille invents wilder plots, only to see each of his best-laid plans fouled. Translated by Richard Wilbur. This is playwright Moliere's first full length comedy. It is often overlooked by Americans, but then most of Moliere's plays are overlooked by Americans.

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  18. I just finished Bonjour Tristesse by Francoise Sagan. I was so amazed that this thought-provoking and honest book could have been written by someone so young (Sagan was only 17 years old at the time). From the interview with Sagan included in my edition of the book, it is clear that Sagan shared the same outlook on life as her main character Cecile, which made this book even more interesting.

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  19. The Imaginary Invalid by Moliere - Argan is a hypochondriac who wishes his daughter Angelique to marry Thomas Diaforius. Not only is Thomas a doctor, but his father and uncle, Monsieur Purgon are also doctors. Angelique is in love with Cleante and refuses to marry the doctor. She would prefer to enter a convent rather than marry someone she does not love. Her stepmother would love for her to enter a convent because it means Angelique would not inherit and would have no children to inherit leaving more money for Beline. Argan's brother, Beralde, and Argan's servant Toinette both try to talk some sense into Argan. He can not seem to understand that his cadre of doctors want him to be sick so they can collect more money. They have never named his presumed disease (since he has none) and if he did neither could cure him nor would wish to do so. Wonderful satire of medicine at the time. Toinette is a delightful character.

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  20. The Imaginary Cuckold by Moliere - Gorgibus is trying to force his daughter Célie to marry the wealthy Valère, but she is in love with Lélie and he with her. Célie faints in the street, and Sganarelle, who is passing by, attempts to revive her. In the process she loses her miniature portrait of Lélie which ends up in the hands of Sganarelle and his wife. This results in a series of assumptions: Sganarelle's wife believes that he and Célie are lovers; Sganarelle believes that Lélie and his wife are lovers; Célie believes that Lélie and Sganarelle's wife are lovers; and Lélie believes that Célie has secretly married Sganarelle. Célie's governess helps sort out the confusion and in the final scene Villebrequin arrives with the surprise news that four months ago his son Valère had secretly married someone else. Célie and Lélie are now free to marry. In the final lines of the play Sganarelle addresses the audience: "You have seen how the strongest evidence can still plant a false belief in the mind. Remember well this example, and even when you see everything, never believe anything."

    This is one of Moliere's shorter plays and in his time was one of the most popular.

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  21. I read Lady Chatterley's Lover back in May, just noticed I had forgot to post a link.

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  22. After I realized Kristin Lavransdatter was 1100 pages long, I decided to read the individual books instead. :) The Wreath was good, but I think I need to keep going in the series because I didn't like it as much as I thought I should based on everyone's reviews of the longer tome.

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  23. I finally read something by Colette. I thought La Vagabonde (The Vagabond) was great.

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  24. Journey to the Center of the Earth by Verne. Not a huge fan

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  25. Les Precieuses ridicules or Such Foolish Affected Ladies aka The Pretentious Ladies (A comedy) by Moliere - Gorgibus is attempting to find suitable husbands for his daughter, Magdelon, and his niece, Cathos. Unfortunately, they have read far too many novels and expect men who court them not to mention marriage, but rather to romance them, to read poetry, to sing, to dress as fops. They have turned down two perfectly good suitors. So, the valets of these two gentlemen appear, claiming to be a marquis and a viscomte. The girls are enthralled, until the two gentlemen show up and disclose what their valets have done. An interesting commentary on the values of young women and why it was felt that their fathers should rightly choose their spouses.

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  26. The Doctor in Spite (or Despite) himself by Moliere - Sganarelle is a drunken, lazy, worthless, gambler who beats his wife. She decides to get even with him and tells some men that he is a doctor, BUT that he will deny this unless they beat an admission of this fact from him. He is then taken to treat Lucinde who has stopped speaking because her father wants her to marry a man she does not wish to marry. Apparently, simply stating that he was a doctor was sufficient; no proof needed. Being thought of in such esteem seems to swell Sganarelle's head. A comedy/farce in three Acts.

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  27. I just read Bodas de Sangre (Blood Wedding) by García Lorca in Spanish, and it was a great albeit depressing read.

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