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Saturday, 12 January 2008
German Jabberwocky

From this site:

Es brillig war. Die schlichten Toven
Wirrten und wimmelten in Waben;
Und aller-mümsige Burggoven
Die mohmen Räth' ausgraben

»Bewahre doch vor Jammerwoch!
Die Zähne knirschen, Krallen kratzen!
Bewahr' vor Jubjub-Vogel, vor
Frumiösen Banderschnätzchen!«

Er griff sein vorpals Schwertchen zu,
Er suchte lang das manchsam' Ding;
Dann, stehend unterm Tumtum Baum,
Er an-zu-denken-fing.

Als stand er tief in Andacht auf,
Des Jammerwochen's Augen-feuer
Durch turgen Wald mit Wiffek kam
Ein burbelnd Ungeheuer!

Eins, Zwei! Eins, Zwei! Und durch und durch
Sein vorpals Schwert zerschnifer-schnück,
Da blieb es todt! Er, Kopf in Hand,
Geläumfig zog zurück.

»Und schlugst Du ja den Jammerwoch?
Umarme mich, mein Böhm'sches Kind!
O Freuden-Tag! O Halloo-Schlag!«
Er schortelt froh-gesinnt.

Es brillig war. Die schlichten Toven
Wirrten und wimmelten in Waben;
Und aller-mümsige Burggoven
Die mohmen Räth' ausgraben.

It suits German very well. There's a French version too, but it's utterly merde:

Il brilgue: les tôves lubricilleux
Se gyrent en vrillant dans le guave.
Enmîmés sont les gougebosqueux
Et le mômerade horsgrave.

«Garde-toi du Jaseroque, mon fils!
La gueule qui mord; la griffe qui prend!
Garde-toi de l'oiseau Jube, évite
Le frumieux Band-à-prend!»

Crap or what? "Jaseroque" mon cul.

Posted on 01/12/2008 6:01 PM by Mary Jackson
12 Jan 2008
Hugh Fitzgerald
The translation into French of "Jabberwocky" by Henri Bué – said to have been supervised by Dodgson himself – is better than the later version you chose to put up.
One example: the word “wabe” in “did gyre and gimble in the wabe” is, the original tells us, the area around a sun-dial, and it is further glossed in the original (prefiguring a later celebrated  annotation version by Martin Gardner) thus:
It's called "wabe,' you know because it goes a long way before it, and a long way behind it --". "And a long way beyond it on each side," Alice added. ...”
Bué translated the word "wabe" with a French word of his own invention: “alloinde.” Why “alloinde”? Well, as he explains ventriloquently (un vrai Vattemare) in the text, he packed the  portmanteau word  “alloinde” thus because  “c’est loin devant, et  loin derrière, et loin de chaque coté.”
That may be the most memorable, but is not the only example of Bué’’s mastery, in his French translaton that surpassesl later ones,, just as one particular Russian translation of “Alice” (renamed “Anya”),. done for five dollars in Weimar Germany by a young Russian émigré in Berlin, de cuyo nombre non quiero acordarme ( lest the wrong conclusions be drawn) surpasses all of its later rivals in Russian.. Both that French and that Russian translation are available from Dover Books, that has editors with such good taste, and marketers who set such modest prices.
Among English versions, of course, Carroll’s remains the best.

12 Jan 2008
Send an emailMary Jackson

done for five dollars in Weimar Germany by a young Russian émigré in Berlin, de cuyo nombre non quiero acordarme

He gets everywhere doesn't he?

I didn't know about the earlier, better translation into French, but, however clever it is, Jabberwocky fits more naturally into German.

Five dollars? Crikey.

19 Apr 2015
Bruce Johnson
In fact, the reason THIS German version works so well is that its translator, Robert Scott (quite a language scholar himself) wrote it as he did in FUN, with the CLAIM (included in a deliberately pseudo-scholarly article arguing that it was ORIGINALLY a German poem). A brilliant piece of work -- and folks who know NO German seem to enjoy it thoroughly (and understand it quite well)if you read it aloud with gusto.

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