Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The Clan of the Poes (Page 76)

//Panel 1//
Were you awake?
//Panel 2//
Did you have a fight with Father?
The usual. How do you feel?
//Panel 3//
How long do we stay in this city?
Until you're cured.
//Panel 4//
I'm not ill!
Just stay calm and rest.
//Panel 5//
Would you like some of my blood?
I feel bad…it happens so often lately…
//Panel 6//
Don't hold out till you're about to faint; just tell me.
I don't mind at all.
//Panel 7//
Edgar' Narration:
Marybel… Poor Marybel
//Panel 8//
Edgar's Narration:
If only the days kept passing just as they always had…
She wouldn't be carrying this burden on account of me…
Living this cursed existence…

I had a great deal of trouble with Edgar's thoughts in Panel 8. Even trying to write down what he is saying literally is difficult with this particular grammar construct; in addition, it's such a subtle idea in Japanese. But as close as I can get to the literal meaning (while still making sense in English, so I had to change some word orders) is: If the days were passing without change/as they had been before, then it would have passed/been over with/gone through/ended (up okay) without falling into this terrible situation because of me…but (it did).

There are some Japanese people whose feedback on this project was an expressed concern about how to effectively capture the "poetry" of Hagio's prose. I sense that this is one of those passages where that poetry is meant to be highlighted…and it was extremely difficult to convey that in English.

One reason is that the idea she is trying to express is very complicated and condensed as well. I don't want to give too much away at this point, but there was a time when Edgar's and Marybel's lives were relatively carefree, and then one day something happened…and from that point nothing was ever the same. So if the days had only kept moving forward uneventfully, just as all the days had done so up till that point, they wouldn't have the situation they were in today.

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