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TRANSLATIONS 75 tion, de mise en place et en perspective'; mais, leur etude n'en constitue pas moins actuellement la vision d'ensemble la plus exhaustive et I'apport critique Ie plus important sur Ie tMatre quebecois contemporain. Cette annee donc, des etudes interessantes sur Ie theatre, mais statistiquement une baisse Ii un plancher de quelque vingt pieces pubJiees alors qu'inversement Ie nombre de troupes et theatres professionnels et amateurs au Quebec grimpe Ii quelque deux cents soixantedix . De I'activite proteiforme du theatre professionnel, du tMatrelaboratoire , du tMatre pour la jeunesse, du 'jeune theatre' pour adultes et du theatre d'ete, I'echantillonnage des publications est peu representatif, surtout en ce qui conceme les secteurs clefs du 'jeune theatre' et des creations collectives. Tout ne merite pas d'etre publie non plus, mais l'eventail pourrait s'elargir. En somme, un bon cru au niveau des representations et une annee un peu decevante sur Ie plan des publications des pieces, qualitativement et quantitativement. Translations JOHN J. O'CONNOR While T.S. Eliot's reflections in Four Quartets are widely relevant to twentieth-century experience in general, certain of his observations in 'The Dry Salvages' might be used as a particular description of both the function and the effect of translations for unilingual readers: 'We had the experience but missed the meaning, I And approach to the meaning restores the experience I In a different form.' Every literary translation is just such an approach to the meaning of the original text; if it succeeds, it not only provides a clear and reliable echo of the initial voice, but also illuminates some aspects of the original work, and may prompt the (eader to examine the source itself. However, if the translator is to restore the experience generated by a reading of the original text, he must be willing to exercise some restraint on his own creativity, always remembering his exacting responsibility as the medium between the language of the writer and that of the reader. Given the peculiarities ofevery language, it is clear that even the best translation must be inadequate in some respects. Of necessity there will always be significant differences between the'experience ' and the 'restoration'; but the ideal of every translation remains the same: to produce a single work in two languages rather than two similar works. For the most part this ideal has been realized by Canada's literary translators in the past year. Literary translation in Canada continues to be as prominent an activity as in the past. Recently translated works of Quebec literature were originally published as early as 1945 and as late as 1979. Of the sixteen 76 LETTERS IN CANADA 1980 books considered here, however, only three (and parts of a fourth) appeared before 1972. Thus, Canadian translators continue to focus on recent and contemporary Quebec literature, with the usually predominant interest in prose fiction still evident and, this year, a substantial offering of poetry. Although seven of these sixteen translations bear pre-1980 imprints, none of these was received from the publishers until recently. In the interest of chronology, therefore, these seven works will be examined first. Tales of Solitude (Intermedia Press, 120, $13.95 cloth, $8.95 paper), Margaret Rose's translation of Yvette Naubert's Contes de la solitude, vol II (1972), is a collection of twelve short stories dealing with a variety of characters whose lives have reached a point of crisis. These stories examine, for example, violence stemming from overwork or monomania and feelings of puzzlement and alienation caused by marriage break-up, suicide, political terrorism, ill health, or a guilty conscience. Naubert's original and engaging talent is repeatedly demonstrated, and deserves the wider familiarity it will receive through Rose's translation. When Contes de la solitude and Tales of Solitude are juxtaposed for a concurrent reading, we discover that the latter is a generally reliable English version of the French stories, reflecting great care and sensitivity on the partof the translator. Of particular merit are Rose's translations of 'Obedience,' 'The Cat,' 'The Muffins,' and 'The Pigeons in St. Louis Square.' Where necessary, Rose corrects errors in the original text and usually finds equivalent English...


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