Monday, October 26, 2009

Lost in Translation?

I gave brieff coverage to Claude Lecouteux's upcoming book, The Secret History of Vampires: Their Multiple Forms and Hidden Purposes (2010) in "More Wishes".

I also mentioned that it was most likely an English translation of his 1999 book, Histoire des vampires : Autopsie d'un mythe.

However, Niels' "The Return of the Dead" has given me cause for concern regarding the veracity of the translation itself.

The English translation is going to be published by Inner Traditions. Here's how the publisher describes itself on its homepage:
Founded in 1975, Inner Traditions is a leading publisher of books on indigenous cultures, perennial philosophy, visionary art, spiritual traditions of the East and West, sexuality, holistic health and healing, self-development, as well as recordings of ethnic music and accompaniments for meditation.
You can download a pdf file of their "forthcoming titles" (Secret History is on the fifth page) here.

Now, onto the criticism.

Niels notes the differences in the translation between a German edition of Lecouteux's Fantômes et revenans au Moyen Age and the Inner Traditions English translation, The Return of the Dead: Ghosts, Ancestors, and the Transparent Veil of the Pagan Mind, noting that
the English translation is slightly abbreviated and less academical. It does contain the notes, but the quotes in original languages (including my native language, Danish) are omitted. Chapter three in the German edition, Totenbräuche, appears to be missing from the English edition, whereas the afterword by Régis Boyer from the original French edition is retained in the English translation.
Now, I should note that Niels states he doesn't own a copy of the original French version. So, it might be possible that the German edition, itself, was augmented.

I should also note that I actually own a copy of Lecouteux's
Histoire, so it'll be very interesting comparing it to the English translation.

After it's published on March 15, next year.

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