Wednesday, March 30, 2011

One apron down...

Hello darling, wondering where you are. I have the idea that maybe you've flown away again, but this is based on - what? the pacing of page hits. Perhaps I'm psychic or delusional, or both or neither. If you could send me a message at some point just so I know (know - not talk myself into believing) that we're on, when (if?) for planning purposes (e.g., food prep I might do here to bring down) you might be arriving & departing, I would be grateful.

Excerpts of messages between My Friend in Finland and Belle, 28 March 2011
I just read your blog-writing on Whistler, Mallarmé and Poe. I found it highly interesting...

I'm glad you liked my Whistler/Mallarmé/Poe post. Connections,intersections, and cross-pollinations such as that, among genius personages, are amazing, aren't they? I would be interested in learning more, for example, about the fact that Whistler returned at least twice (in 1887 and in 1890) to the Annabel Lee image, subsequent to his 1866/1870 oil. Why was he so drawn to this particular literary figure, I wonder - I suppose it's her connection with the sea, or perhaps there had been an Annabel Lee in his personal life?

(I was an Annabel Lee to my first boyfriend - which did me, Annabel Lee, no good whatsoever! But I digress.)

Also, I loved the way Mallarmé perfectly captured the rhythmic, rocking cadences of Poe's English original...

I went back to edit a post from last week, in which I'd included a portion of the French Symbolist poet Stéphane Mallarmé's translation of Poe's Annabel Lee. It's rare for me to rework one of my published posts in a major way, but I removed the Ezra Pound poem, To Whistler, American, (it seemed too much for that post), and included the rest of the Mallarmé translation. I wonder if I have his text entirely right - it was the best that I could find online. But the online versions (here's one) had strange (it seemed to me) line breaks, or lack thereof; the poem, in French, seemed to be broken into paragraphs rather than into stanzas. Also, in the French versions, inexplicably the last two stanzas (or paragraphs) seemed out of order, which made no sense to me. So I took the liberty in my post to compare Mallarmé's translation to Poe's original (as published in a book of verse I own, and doublechecked online), and put in a "certified copy" (copie conforme) of Poe's line breaks, though I retained Mallarmé's punctuation as a sort of compromise.

I also wondered about a seemingly missing line from the Mallarmé, as compared to the Poe:
Et ce fut la raison qu’il y a longtemps, — un vent souffla d’un nuage, glaçant ma belle Annabel Lee ; de sorte que ses proches de haute lignée vinrent et me l’enlevèrent, pour l’enfermer dans un sépulcre, en ce royaume près de la mer.
And this was the reason that, long ago,
In this kingdom by the sea,
A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling
My beautiful Annabel Lee;
So that her high-born kinsmen came
And bore her away from me,
To shut her up in a sepulcher
In this kingdom by the sea.
Why did Mallarmé - that is, if he did, if online versions are to be trusted - omit the rhythmic "en ce royaume près de la mer" of Poe's second line?

Yes dearest, I did think of you that evening, just as I recorded. He was the fellow who met up with us later on for drinks at (p.m.) and at the end of the evening he held my hand for balance as I clambered into the back seat of his surprisingly roomy mini-Cooper. He zipped the four of us in his tiny car up the back alleys to F's place - it was magical, not unlike Peter Pan & Wendy flying over London - being safely conveyed in the wee hours in his tiny bubble, the four of us packed in, hovering, seemingly, above the alleys. He first dropped off L, and then, a short distance down North Fifth, F and me. I extracted myself from the rear and he took hold of my hand again as I alighted to the curb.

Good night, darling, sleep tight. XOXO

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