G C Lichtenberg: “It is as if our languages were confounded: when we want a thought, they bring us a word; when we ask for a word, they give us a dash; and when we expect a dash, there comes a piece of bawdy.”

Shel Silverstein : “Talked my head off Worked my tail off Cried my eyes out Walked my feet off Sang my heart out So you see, There’s really not much left of me.” ~

Martin Amis: “Gogol is funny, Tolstoy in his merciless clarity is funny, and Dostoyevsky, funnily enough, is very funny indeed; moreover, the final generation of Russian literature, before it was destroyed by Lenin and Stalin, remained emphatically comic — Bunin, Bely, Bulgakov, Zamyatin. The novel is comic because life is comic (until the inevitable tragedy of the fifth act);...”

Werner Herzog: “We are surrounded by worn-out, banal, useless and exhausted images, limping and dragging themselves behind the rest of our cultural evolution.”

John Gray: "Unlike Schopenhauer, who lamented the human lot, Leopardi believed that the best response to life is laughter. What fascinated Schopenhauer, along with many later writers, was Leopardi’s insistence that illusion is necessary to human happiness."

Justin E.H. Smith: “One should of course take seriously serious efforts to improve society. But when these efforts fail, in whole or in part, it is only humor that offers redemption. So far, human expectations have always been strained, and have always come, give or take a bit, to nothing. In this respect reality itself has the form of a joke, and humor the force of truth.”

विलास सारंग: "… . . 1000 नंतर ज्या प्रकारची संस्कृती रुढ झाली , त्यामध्ये साधारणत्व विश्वात्मकता हे गुण प्राय: लुप्त झाले...आपली संस्कृती अकाली विश्वात्मक साधारणतेला मुकली आहे."

Saturday, October 19, 2013

त्यानंतर शंभर वर्षांनी !...'Pride and Prejudice' in Marathi

Year 2013 is 200th Anniversary of Publication of 'Pride and Prejudice'

दिलीप पुरुषोत्तम चित्रे:

"...मराठ्यांचा पाडाव होऊन ईस्ट इंडिया कंपनीचा प्रभाव भारतभर पसरण्यापूर्वीच जेन ऑस्टेनसारखी महान स्त्री कादंबरीकार इंग्लंडमध्ये होऊन गेली होती..."


('पुन्हा  तुकाराम ', पॉप्युलर प्रकाशन, 1990/1995)

[Dilip Purushottam Chitre:

"...Even before the defeat of Maratha's and the spread of influence of The East India Company across India a great female novelist like Jane Austen had already lived in England..."

('Punha Tukaram', Popular Prakashan)]


The Hindu, 'Not for arranged marriage', October 6 2013:

"...We blamed the khap panchayat for its constant diktats against same-gotra love, same-village love; we rightly blamed the parents and they were arrested for this never-in-a-million-years-will-we-forget lesson against love; we blamed the politicians who silently encourage these khaps; but I think, that much of the blame lies with us, for still treating love marriage as abnormal and arranged as the norm. And every time one of us, educated, supposedly independent, individuals agrees to marry someone not of our own choosing, someone we don't love, we are silently condoning those who kill to oppose the concept of love marriage...."


The Times of India, October 14 2013, a headline on page 2 of Pune edition:

"Marathi translations of English titles gain readers..."

'Pride and Prejudice' has more than 2,50,000 'likes' on Facebook and, as per Wikipedia, to date has sold some 20 million copies worldwide.  Jane Austen is not just a very popular writer today, she remains highly relevant.

The latest Helen Fielding's book in the series of Bridget Jones- 'Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy', 2013- is, like the previous two books, is also loosely based on Austen's work.


Reneé Zellweger as Bridget Jones

Photo courtesy: Allstar


'Pride and Prejudice' starts with these opening lines:

"It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.

However little known the feelings or views of such a man may be on his first entering a neighbourhood, this truth is so well fixed in the minds of the surrounding families, that he is considered as the rightful property of some one or other of their daughters..."

David M. Shapard says about them:
  
"The famous opening line, with wonderful economy, accomplishes two main purposes. It indicates the novel's central subject of marriage, along with the financial considerations usually involved in it. It also sets the tone of irony that will pervade the book, for in fact, as we immediately see, it is the single women in this society who are truly in want, or need, of a man of large fortune. The term “acknowledged” adds to this effect, for it suggests the possibility that this supposed truth about single men may be more valid in people's beliefs than in reality. "

Now, I discovered only recently to my delight that Ms. Austen's book has been translated into Marathi.

It is titled  'Aajpasoon Pannas Varshannee !' ("आजपासून पन्नास वर्षांनी !") by Krushnaji Keshav Gokhale (कृष्णाजी केशव गोखले). It was first published, a hundred years ago,  in 1913. It has 61 chapters, the same as the original.

Just for the record, the book was earlier translated as a play 'Vicharvilsit' (विचारविलसित) by Gopal Chimnaji Bhate (गोपाळ चिमणाजी भाटे). [ Had this title to do anything with G G Agarkar's (गो ग आगरकर) translation of Hamlet into Marathi called 'Wikar Wilasita' (विकारविलसित)?]

The publisher admits that Gokhale has added to the original at some places.

But I was confused with the Marathi title itself- "Fifty years from now !". How does "Pride and Prejudice" translate into that? And why exclamation mark in the title?

Author explains it thus:



Did that day arrive in India by 1963? I don't know.

In 2013? I still don't know.

How does the translation begin? How does it handle the famous opening lines quoted and commented upon above?



 Marathi translation starts with:

 "The concept that gets created in mind by the word marriage is so enchanting that it's very dear from the heart to everyone from the children to the adults..."  

It's a disaster!

Ms. Austen says nothing like this- enchanting, dear, heart- in her opening para. How can she praise the institution of marriage so unabashedly at the start? How can she be so opinionated in the beginning?

Marathi translation, in the process, also loses the 'economy' that Mr. Shapard talks about: 120+ Marathi words for about 70+ words of English.

Vilas Sarang (विलास सारंग) in his essay- 'Mhatara ani samudra - ani barke barke shark' ('म्हातारा आणि समुद्र- आणि बारके बारके शार्क')- has dismantled the late P L Deshpande's (पु ल देशपांडे) translation- 'Eka Koliyane', 1965 (एका कोळियाने) -of Ernest Hemingway's "The Old Man and the Sea". [The essay is part of Sarang's book 'Akshrancha Shram Kela' ('अक्षरांचा श्रम केला'), 2000]

English may have been our closest foreign language for a while but looks like its translation has always remained a challenge.