Concerning Translation of Schulz Titles

From a correspondent from Prague:

"Schulz's second collection of novels was translated into English as Sanatorium Under the Sign of the Hourglass. This is wrong translation and, whats worse, it completely misses the essence of the book.

"Originally, in Polish, the book is named Sanatorium pod Klepsydra, which literally means 'Sanitory [i.e., Sanitorium] under the Obituary Notice' ("Klepsydra" in Polish does NOT mean "Clepsydra" in English!). This oxymoronic name - 'Sanitory under the Obituary Notice' - expresses exactly the atmosphere and style of Schulz's work. His novels always take place between real time and mythical time: 'on the edge of eternity...'

"When I see how the translator translated the title of the book, I am little bit afraid if the book ITSELF was translated well ...

"In an equally interesting way, Schulz named the collection of his graphic work Xiega Balwochwalcza (The Pagan Book). The point is that there is a misspelling in it: 'Book' in Polish should be spelled Ksiega, not Xiega. Schulz wanted, most probably, to put paganism and heresy not only in the content of the book (drawings depicting sexual fetish as religion) but also into form -- the name of the book. Misspelling is, after all, a 'heresy' against laws of language. Pretty 'postmodern' idea, isnt it? So the English translation should respect this misspelling and sound like "The Paghn Book" (Or something much better, I am not a translator...). [Perhaps 'Pagon' or 'Pagen' -- A.G.]

"Best wishes, Krystof Roedling" (email address withheld)


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