Archive for the ‘Baudelaire, Charles’ Category

On Translating Baudelaire’s Les Fleurs du Mal into English – by R J Dent

January 10, 2015

flowers of evil - r j dent - baudelaire

One of the frustrations, the challenges, the problems – and probably the joys – of translating Baudelaire’s poetry is choosing the correct idiom to translate into.

Taking the words, sentences, phrases, lines, from the language of one country and translating them into the corresponding or equivalent language of another country is the type of work that can be done by almost anyone.

However, choosing the absolutely perfect cultural, social, geographical, spatial, historical, temporal and linguistic framework to put the translated words onto is another matter entirely, and will very much depend on the translator’s intentions and the receptive vocabulary of the proposed readership.

And when it’s poetry that is being translated, the task becomes even more complicated; the problems suddenly multiply. Read more…

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R J Dent says: ‘I found translating Charles Baudelaire’s influential poetry collection Les Fleurs du Mal from French into modern English to be a rewarding, but challenging experience. This essay outlines some of the challenges and joys of the translation process.’

 R J Dent’s English translation of The Flowers of Evil is available at:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Flowers-Evil-Artificial-Paradise-Nocturnal/dp/0979984777/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

flowers of evil - r j dent - baudelaire

 

On Translating Baudelaire

Copyright © R J Dent (2007 & 2016)

 

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The Blood Delirium: The Vampire in 19th Century European Literature

November 29, 2014

 

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‘R J Dent’s translations are fresh with an exciting raw sexual edge…’ (Candice Black)

 

The Blood Delirium is a definitive collection of 19th century European literature in which the vampire or vampirism – both embodied and atmospheric – is featured or evoked. Twenty-three seminal works by classic European authors, covering the whole of that delirious period from Gothic and Romantic, through Symbolism and Decadence to proto-Surrealism and beyond, in a single volume charged with sex, blood and horror.

 

The Blood Delirium contains a detailed introduction (by editor Candice Black) which not only examines these texts and their meaning, but which also charts the literary and cultural climate in which the new cult of the vampire was allowed to flourish.

 

The Blood Delirium includes texts by Bram Stoker, J. Sheridan Le Fanu, Oscar Wilde, J.M. Rymer, Charles Baudelaire, Le Comte de Lautréamont, Paul Féval, Maurice Rollinat, Guy de Maupassant, Count Stenbock, Jean Lorrain, Théophile Gautier, Charles Nodier, John Polidori, J.K. Huysmans, Charlotte Brontë, Ivan Turgenev, Jan Neruda, Augustus Hare, Cyprien Berard and Léon Bloy.

 

Several of the texts in The Blood Delirium are translated by R J Dent into English for the very first time, including those by Cyprien Bérard, Paul Féval, and Maurice Rollinat.

 

 

The Blood Delirium is the definitive collection for literate vampire-lovers.

 

The Blood Delirium is available from:

 

http://www.amazon.com/The-Blood-Delirium-European-Literature/dp/0983884285

 

or from:

 

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Blood-Delirium-The-Candice-Black/dp/0983884285

 

 

www.rjdent.com

 

Charles Baudelaire’s The Flowers of Evil translated by R J Dent

October 7, 2013

 

Charles Baudelaire

Charles Baudelaire

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Charles Baudelaire’s seminal classic, The Flowers of Evil (Les Fleurs du Mal) is now available in R J Dent’s modern English translation:

 

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R J Dent discusses his translation of Charles Baudelaire’s The Flowers of Evil:

 

 

R J Dent reads ‘I give you these verses…’ from his translation of Baudelaire’s The Flowers of Evil:

 

 

A promotional book trailer for R J Dent’s modern English translation of Charles Baudelaire’s The Flowers of Evil:

 

 

 

R J Dent’s translation of The Flowers of Evil is available from the University of Chicago Press:

http://press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/distributed/F/bo10734555.html

and from Amazon:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Flowers-Evil-Artificial-Paradise-Nocturnal/dp/0979984777/ref=la_B0034Q3RD4_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1381152776&sr=1-2

 

 

http://www.rjdent.com

 

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Charles Baudelaire’s The Flowers of Evil

November 7, 2010


The Flowers of Evil & Artificial Paradise

by Charles Baudelaire

Translated by R J Dent


Here’s R J Dent’s translation of Charles Baudelaire’s The Flowers of Evil. It was published by Solar Books on January 9th 2009. According to the blurb it’s ‘a brand new translation that vividly brings Baudelaire’s masterpiece to life for the new millennium’.

R J Dent says: ‘This particular translation was a labour of love; it started years ago, when I studied Baudelaire’s Les Fleurs du Mal as an undergraduate and realised how inaccurate the available translations were. I promptly set about translating twenty or so of the best poems, particularly the banned ones. In the process, I very quickly came to admire Charles Baudelaire’s poetic voice. It was refined and dignified, and yet very daring. I now understand these contradictions, if that’s what they are.’

‘I found the translation process itself very interesting. Because Baudelaire’s writing is very visual, it was almost like time-travel; I wandered around 19th century Paris, absorbing the sights, sounds, scents; was taken into the bedrooms of many dusky women, all of them sprawled across their beds, dressed only in jewels and perfume.’

‘When I had finished the translation, I was back in the 21st century. I couldn’t wait to get back to Baudelaire’s Paris. The translation process itself was very much like archaeology. I had the French text and I would work at it steadily, uncovering its buried English meaning, word by word, line by line, until finally, the whole poem would stand naked before me in all its pristine glory. That’s Baudelaire’s poetry for you. If only all translation work was like that.’

‘Incidentally, I very much enjoyed translating the introductory essay by Guillaume Apollinaire, which is now available in English for the first time.’

‘Solar Books has done a great job with The Flowers of Evil. With it they’ve included a new version of Artificial Paradise, which is a series of Baudelaire’s reflections on wine, hashish and opium.’

Odilon Redon’s cover picture, which he painted specifically for The Flowers of Evil, perfectly captures the zeitgeist of Baudelaire’s 19th century Paris.


The Flowers of Evil & Artificial Paradise

Charles Baudelaire

Translated by R J Dent

SOLAR BOOKS

ISBN-10: 0-9799847-7-7

ISBN-13: 978-0-9799847-7-8

Publication date: January 2009


The Flowers of Evil can be ordered from Solar Books at:

http://www.solarbooks.org/solar-titles/flowersofevil.html

or from The University of Chicago Press at:

http://www.press.uchicago.edu/presssite/metadata.epl?mode=synopsis&bookkey=10734555


or from Amazon.com at:

http://www.amazon.com/Flowers-Artificial-Paradise-Solar-Nocturnal/dp/0979984777/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1236890663&sr=8-1


or from Amazon.co.uk at:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Flowers-Artificial-Paradise-Solar-Nocturnal/dp/0979984777/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1217774414&sr=1-1


Details of this book and R J Dent’s other works can be found at:

www.rjdent.com



Charles Baudelaire’s The Abyss

July 10, 2010

Here’s Charles Baudelaire’s The Abyss.


Charles Baudelaire's The Abyss translated by R J Dent

The poem is from R J Dent’s translation of The Flowers of Evil, published by Solar Books.


Charles Baudelaire's The Flowers of Evil translated by R J Dent


Details can be found here: http://www.solarbooks.org/solar-titles/flowersofevil.html


The Abyss has been set to music by the Finnish composer/musician Outi Tarkiainen.


The first performance of The Abyss was in Helsinki in September 2009.


Here’s the video clip:


Translation © R J Dent 2009/Music © Outi Tarkiainen 2009

And here are the lyrics:


Charles Baudelaire’s The Abyss


Pascal had his abyss that followed him.

Everything is abyss: action, desire, dream – word.

I feel the wind of fear pass frequently

through my thick hair, which often stands on end,

up and down, everywhere, into the depths,

through silence, space, captivating, ugly…

During my nights, a god with clever hands

draws never-ending multi-shaped nightmares

and I’m afraid of sleep – it’s a big hole

full of horrors that lead to the unknown.

Windows show me infinity. Seeing

it, my hurt mind suffers from vertigo.

How I envy the sense of nothingness;

I’m never free of numbers or of beings.

Translation © R J Dent (2009)


www.rjdent.com



Charles Baudelaire’s The Albatross

July 10, 2010

Charles Baudelaire's The Albatross translated by R J Dent

Here’s Charles Baudelaire’s The Albatross.


The poem is from R J Dent’s translation of The Flowers of Evil, published by Solar Books.


The Flowers of Evil & Artificial Paradise by Charles Baudelaire translated by R J Dent

More details can be found here: http://www.solarbooks.org/solar-titles/flowersofevil.html


The Albatross has been set to music by the Finnish composer/musician Outi Tarkiainen.


The first performance was in Helsinki in September 2009.


Here’s the video clip:



Translation © R J Dent 2009/Music © Outi Tarkiainen 2009


And here are the lyrics:


The Albatross


Often, for amusement, the sailing crew

catch that bird of the seas – the albatross;

companion on our voyage, it follows

the ship as it slides through the sea’s abyss.


When this once-great sky king has been dumped,

awkward and ashamed, onto the ship’s boards,

it pitifully drags its great white wings

along its feathered sides like useless oars.


This graceful voyager through shades of blue,

once beautiful, is now clumsy and weak;

one sailor mocks the cripple who once flew,

another stubs a pipe out on its beak.


The poet is just like this prince of clouds;

beyond range, above storms – these are his haunts;

exiled on Earth amidst a jeering crowd,

his giant wings won’t permit him to walk.


Translation © R J Dent (2009)


www.rjdent.com



Charles Baudelaire’s The Flowers of Evil & Artificial Paradise

January 14, 2009

The Flowers of Evil & Artificial Paradise

by Charles Baudelaire

Translated by R J Dent

 

baudelaire flowers of evil

‘A brand new translation that vividly brings Baudelaire’s masterpiece to life for the new millennium’

 

Here’s my new book. It’s a translation of Charles Baudelaire’s The Flowers of Evil, published by Solar Books on November 9th 2008. According to the blurb it’s ‘a brand new translation that vividly brings Baudelaire’s masterpiece to life for the new millennium’.


 

 

The translation was a labour of love; it started years ago, when I studied Baudelaire’s Les Fleurs du Mal as an undergraduate. I realised how inaccurate the available translations were, and promptly set about translating twenty or so of the best poems, particularly the banned ones. In the process, I very quickly came to admire Charles Baudelaire’s poetic voice. It was refined and dignified, and yet very daring. I now understand these contradictions, if that’s what they are.


 

Charles Baudelaire

Charles Baudelaire

 

 

I found the translation process itself very interesting. Because Baudelaire’s writing is very visual, it was almost like time-travel; I wandered around 19th century Paris, absorbing the sights, sounds, scents; was taken into the bedrooms of many dusky women, all of them sprawled across their beds, dressed only in jewels and perfume.


 

When I had finished the translation, I was back in the 21st century. I couldn’t wait to get back to Baudelaire’s Paris. The translation process itself was very much like archaeology. I had the French text and I would work at it steadily, uncovering its buried English meaning, word by word, line by line, until finally, the whole poem would stand naked before me in all its pristine glory. That’s Baudelaire’s poetry for you. If only all translation work was like that.


 

Incidentally, I very much enjoyed translating the introductory essay by Guillaume Apollinaire, which is now published for the first time in English.


 

Solar Books has done a great job with The Flowers of Evil. With it they’ve included a new version of Artificial Paradise, which is a series of Baudelaire’s reflections on wine, hashish and opium.


 

Odilon Redon’s cover picture, which he painted specifically for The Flowers of Evil, perfectly captures the zeitgeist of Baudelaire’s 19th century Paris.

 


 

 

The Flowers of Evil & Artificial Paradise

Charles Baudelaire

Translated by R J Dent


 

 

SOLAR BOOKS

ISBN-10: 0-9799847-7-7

ISBN-13: 978-0-9799847-7-8

Publication date: November 2008

 


 

 

It can be ordered from Solar Books at:

http://www.solarbooks.org/solar-titles/flowersofevil.html

 

 

 

or from Amazon.com at:

 

http://www.amazon.com/Flowers-Artificial-Paradise-Solar-Nocturnal/dp/0979984777/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1236890663&sr=8-1


 

 

 

or from Amazon.co.uk at:

 

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Flowers-Artificial-Paradise-Solar-Nocturnal/dp/0979984777/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1217774414&sr=1-1

 

 

 

 

 

Details of this book and my other works can be found at:

www.rjdent.com

 


 

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Paris, Baudelaire, Beckett, Moonstone Silhouettes, the Seine and the Three Graces

January 11, 2009


Paris in December, 2008. Visiting Charles Baudelaire’s grave was paramount. I put my translation of Baudelaire’s poem Landscape on his grave. I covered it with a copy of the cover of my recently-published translation of Baudelaire’s The Flowers of Evil & Artificial Paradise.

The Flowers of Evil (Translated by R J Dent)


It was a very moving moment, made all the more poignant by the fact that a steady stream of people visited his grave. People came in ones and twos to pay their respects and/or leave offerings. I knew Baudelaire was considered an important literary figure in France, one who is still ignored and derided in England, but I had no idea that he was so revered by the French.

Charles Baudelaire


There are three names on the gravestone, there being just the one stone for the family plot. The name at the top is Jacques Aupick, Baudelaire’s stepfather, a man that Baudelaire hated. Next is Charles Baudelaire’s name. Beneath his name is Caroline Archenbaut Defayes, Baudelaire’s mother, a woman he loved dearly.

Baudelaire should really be in his own grave and have his own gravestone. Either that or a new stone should be cut that puts Charles Baudelaire’s name at the top – after all, he’s the reason that people go to that particular grave.

Charles Baudelaire's grave © 2009 R J Dent archive

In the same cemetery, I found Samuel Beckett’s grave.

Samuel Beckett's grave © 2009 R J Dent Archive


It was simple and unadorned. And no one visited it. It was all very Beckett-ian.

Samuel Beckett


Later that day I walked along the left bank of the Seine, then had coffee and croissants in a riverside café.

Seine (left bank) ©  2009 R J Dent archive


Continuing my theme of pretention, I spent a part of that day proof-reading and editing my latest poetry collection, Moonstone Silhouettes. The collection needed proofing and editing so I took it with me to France, simply so that I would always know that it had been edited in Paris. Now Moonstone Silhouettes will always be tinged with memories of Paris, December 2008.

moonstone silhouettes - r j dent


On another day I went into the Louvre and stood in front of the Three Graces. It’s my favourite sculpture. I found it by accident – having forgotten it was in the Louvre. I was wandering through the less-crowded rooms, trying to avoid the Mona Lisa/Venus de Milo/Da Vinci Code mob – and doing a very good job of it – when I went into a cool, spacious room and almost fell over the Three Graces. There they were – right in front of me – and all three looking quite lovely too. Obviously I wanted to touch them and I did reach out a hand – but at the last minute, sense, or lack of nerve, prevailed and I stood there simply staring in awe at those beautiful stone nymphs.

The Three Graces - Louvre


Obviously there’s a lot more, but that’s all I’m sharing at present. Paris was wonderful, a delightful experience, full of wonders, marvels and deep emotions. Every time I stepped outside in Paris, I could feel the air crackle with the electricity of life.

Paris at night ©  2009 R J Dent archive


Paris is a city for the eternally young. I will go back – and I’ll probably edit and proof-read another book of mine while I’m there. I might even touch the Three Graces. They won’t mind.

Au revoir.


rjdent-logo

© R J Dent (2009)

www.rjdent.com


Charles Baudelaire’s The Flowers of Evil & Artificial Paradise translated by R J Dent is available from:

http://www.amazon.com/Flowers-Artificial-Paradise-Solar-Nocturnal/dp/0979984777/ref=sr_1_14?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1239004510&sr=1-14

or:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Flowers-Artificial-Paradise-Solar-Nocturnal/dp/0979984777/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1217774414&sr=1-1


Moonstone Silhouettes by R J Dent is available from:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Moonstone-Silhouettes-R-J-Dent-ebook/dp/B004MME1GG/ref=la_B0034Q3RD4_1_6?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1394900815&sr=1-6

Translating Baudelaire

November 7, 2008

abandoned-city


It is an abandoned city by the sea;
the wide streets are deserted and empty,
the houses hold nothing but silences,
and the pale sun-lit autumn air resounds
with echoes of a strident, vibrant past.


As I walk between ornamental parks
and vast buildings, seeing their perfection,
smelling the sea scents and the rich perfumes,
hearing the faint echoes of then, combined
with the wave rush and shingle drag of now,
I know you are reclining in a fine-
ly furnished room, immaculately dressed
and feeding a cat in between each line.


Translating Baudelaire
© R J Dent (2003 & 2009)


Translating Baudelaire is a much anthologised poem which has appeared in Braquemard, The Colour of Light and Best Poems & Poets 2003. It is included in R J Dent’s new poetry collection, Moonstone Silhouettes.


www.rjdent.com


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