On Translation

Been thinking about Lydia Davis recently and remembered the piece she wrote for Paris Review about translating Madame Bovary. It is fantastic and it contains this lil’ nugget:

How many ways, for instance, has even a single phrase (“bouffées d’affadissement”) from Madame Bovary been translated:

gusts of revulsion
a kind of rancid staleness
stale gusts of dreariness
waves of nausea
fumes of nausea
flavorless, sickening gusts
stagnant dreariness
whiffs of sickliness
waves of nauseous disgust

"Stagnant dreariness" FTW.

winesburgohio:

This is my Mom’s “Appearance Cardex” from United Airlines, circa 1972. There is a weight maximum. And lip standards. Note: they also penciled in “lipstick” because she didn’t commonly wear it, and they wanted her to. This is insane to me.

Wowwwww.