On starting the new translation of Proust's 'Temps Perdu'.
Yesterday, Saturday, I got the first book of Proust. Hardly able to contain my excitement, I read the editorial introduction which was mainly translator gossip, forcing myself to delay the inevitable pleasure of reading about Marcel going to sleep for thirty pages.
I have noticed when dedicated professional translator write off their own bat they write the most profoundly untranslatable English - full of idiom and allusion, wiry, multidirectional English. Perhaps it is revenge on our foreign readers. When I mentally translated it into plain English and found it to be a melange of pleasant gossip and pompous fluff, I discarded the translation of the translator's English and stuck with the pleasures of obfuscation.
Then into the legendary opening! Oh what a lucid translation of the first par!
I read it at the train station as I was getting home, standing in the light of the flourescent bulb, hearing the wind and drops of rain and train horn go off in the distance. If you read this first par for yourself, you will instantly see how uncanny the parallel is to A la Rechere's first paragraph.
I wanted to quote the par entire on here, but I have selfish second thoughts about sharing it. Get your own bloody copy! If I am quiet over the next few days, you can blame Monsieur Proust.