In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

REVIEWS please") translation, this passage reveals not only the crossed purposes of the translator's approaches but also hints at the limits and nature of what he believes literary translation involves. IfSchmidt's method allows him to distend the discourse of his original, it also permits him to suppress it. By virtue of his granting himself the superior position, he is free to eliminate and alter even figurative language. Twice in the poem Langland uses the strikingly effective simile "naked as a nedle" to describe the utter, almost weightless, vulnerability of humanity, first in Imaginative's parable ofthe two swimmers (12.162) and later in the Good Samaritan episode (17.58) to describe the condition of the wounded man lying in the road. By translating "naked as a nedle" in these respective passages as "without a stitch on" (p. 131) and "stripped as bare as a bod­ kin" (p. 199), Schmidt has deprived the poem of a key figure in two of its central parables, the one psychological and the other biblical. And the reader is stripped of the pleasure of an opportunity to recognize and muse upon the repetition. Finally and appropriately, a few lines from the speech of the "lewed vicoty" near the end ofpassus 19 provide a last illustration ofthe quality of Schmidt's translation: "'Forthy,' quod this vicoty, 'by verray God! I wolde / That no cardynal coome among the comune peple, / but in hir holynesse helden hem stille / At Avynoun amongJewes-" (19.422-25). The follow­ ing rendition of these lines speaks painfully to what is wrong with this translation's theory, practice, and maker: "'Dear God!' continued the vicar, 'that's why I don't want to see any of your cardinals turning up amongst these good people of mine. Why not let their holinesses carry on hob­ nobbing with the hook-nosed fellows at Avignon, eh?"' (p. 239). GEORGE D. ECONOMOU University of Oklahoma A. C. SPEARING. The Medieval Poet as Voyeur: Looking and Listening in Medieval Love-Narratives. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993. Pp. x, 321. $59.95. Ours is an age ofvoyeurs and eavesdroppers, ofthe relentless public display of private experience. Celebrities bare their tear-stained souls in televised interviews. Advertisers concoct ambiguous erotic scenarios in the pages of 271 STUDIES IN THE AGE OF CHAUCER magazines to entice us to favor their jeans and perfumes. The adulteries and domestic scandals of suburban America are topics of national fascina­ tion, and horrifying family secrets are the common coin ofcocktail conver­ sation. Television swarms with talk shows on which an earnest moderator goads a panel of defiantly idiosyncratic "ordinary" people to parade their quirks and shames before the gawk of the studio audience and the glassy absolution of the camera. Confession has become spectacle; while others love, live, sin and suffer, we watch-


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 271-275
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.