The Issue and Annoyance of Translation

Three different versions of Thérèse Raquin, three different meanings of Madame Raquin’s life. And yes, I know I am nitpicking, but who would I be if I did not? Also, shouldn’t one nitpick when it comes to great pieces of Art?

“She led the life of a recluse. Ignoring the poignant joys and cares of this world, she arranged for herself a tranquil existence of peace and happiness.”

As appearing in the digital Gutenberg version, translated and edited by Edward Vizetelly.

“She lived a reclusive life, knowing nothing of the agonizing joys and sorrows of this world. She had created an existence of peace and happiness for herself.”

The translation by Robin Buss for the 1995 Penguin Classics version.

“Elle menait une vie de recluse, ignorant les joies et les soucis poignants de ce monde; elle s’était fait une existence de paix et de bonheur tranquille.”

Émile Zola’s original French text.

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