One or 2 small translation glitches that I have noted in several editions of NDdP:
- Agnès Guybertaut/Esméralda's date of birth is clearly stated as the feast of Saint Paula (26 January). This is close enough to the feasts of St Agnes (21 and 28 January) to explain why she could still be named Agnès, as mediæval people were commonly named for saints whose feasts were in the vicinity of their birth or baptismal date. A lot of the saint's symbolism is attached to her: Djali replaces St Agnes's lamb (a visual pun which appears as early as her mosaic portrait at San Apollinare in Ravenna), and both girls are executed after repeated threats to their virginity, including threats being made to them in a brothel. However, most English translations incorrectly render this as the "feast of St Paul" (25 January being the feast of the Conversion of St Paul), presumably because they hadn't heard of Paula of Rome, but a bit of a faux-pas, as "Sainte Paule" is clearly feminine.
- The large wound in Claude's side is described in French as "mal fermée", yet most English translations render this as "not yet closed" or "scarcely closed", rather than the more accurate "badly closed". Yet this is a significant difference. A "badly closed" wound suggests one which has partially healed and broken down – i.e., it is infected, suppurating. This matters because not only does it suggest (deliberate) self-neglect/further self-harm – he has, after all, studied medicine – but it informs how we perceive his subsequent behaviour. The bouts of delirium, hallucinations, the Porte Rouge scene in all its horror and absurdity, his ghastly appearance by the time of the meeting with Pierre at the For-l'Évêque all suggest severe physical as well as mental breakdown. In the pre-antibiotic, pre-antiseptic world of the 15C (or, indeed, the early 19C when he was created), Claude is dying from recurrent bouts of wound infection.
Current Location: The North Tower
Current Mood: thoughtful
Current Music: 'Wicked Game' (Ursine Vulpine/Annaca cover version)