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POLISH ADMIRATION FOR THE IRISH GENIUS JAMES JOYCE


Puzzler 9 | 1,089  
13 Jan 2008 /  #1
James Joyce has had his admirers in Poland for decades. Our perhaps greatest translator from the English, the late Maciej Slomczynski, made 'Ulysses' available in Polish in - if I remember correctly - the late 1960s or early 1970s. I can assure you it's a magnificent translation, well worthy of the great original. Its publication caused nearly hysteria among book fans; in many cases, one could obtain the book only in the black market. After 1989, the year of the official end of communism in Poland, due to an economical crisis, the interest in books has gone down, including Joyce's works, but still there are many who read avidly and purchase books. And there are still some who love Joyce so much that they travel to Dublin to visit the spots mentioned in 'Ulysses.' To a certain degree, I am one of them. I read Joyce's works in the past, then just kept them unused on my bookshelf. But a few days ago, while sorting out my books, I opened up randomly the Penguin edition of 'Ulysses' and read the fragment where Bloom looks at the field glasses in the shop window on Nassau Street, wondering where he should go....

... As for me, I think I'm going to Dublin for a Joyce pilgrimage!
:)
PS. How many of the Irish participants in this forum have read 'Ulysses'? Is Joyce greatly respected but not really read much in Ireland? If so, then it'd be just like in Poland, where every one knows that e.g. Mickiewicz is a great poet, but few read him....
scarbyirp  
13 Jan 2008 /  #2
How many of the Irish participants in this forum have read 'Ulysses'? Is Joyce greatly respected but not really read much in Ireland?

Most Irish people have read Joyce at some stage. (once upon a time there was a moo cow), Portrait, Finegans Wake etc. He is held in very high regard. Ulysses is pretty heavy going stuff though and not for everyone. Mind you some of the posts on this forum definitely contain elements of 'stream of consciousness'
OP Puzzler 9 | 1,089  
13 Jan 2008 /  #3
Mind you some of the posts on this forum definitely contain elements of 'stream of consciousness'

- I'd call it stream of unconsciousness.
southern 75 | 7,096  
13 Jan 2008 /  #4
Ulysses is pretty heavy going stuff though and not for everyone.

Do you see that Poles are intellectually curious?They do not talk about sh1t on the roads,farting habits and VIPs.
superjay - | 47  
13 Jan 2008 /  #5
Puzz, I think you would enjoy "Dublin literary pub crawl" it has it's own website. James Joyce, Yeats, O'Casey..etc & lots of beer!! I think Slomczynski producing a faithful translation of Ulysses in Polish is a remarkable achievement in itself!
OP Puzzler 9 | 1,089  
13 Jan 2008 /  #6
Puzz, I think you would enjoy "Dublin literary pub crawl" it has it's own website. James Joyce, Yeats, O'Casey..etc & lots of beer!!

- I'll go for it, man.Thanks! Another Irish genius I admire is Sheridan Le Fanu, his ghost stories. Some of the greatest ever. Irish beer, the real Irish beer, such as local Guinness, I must say, beats any beer in the whole wide world.

I think Slomczynski producing a faithful translation of Ulysses in Polish is a remarkable achievement in itself!

- It's exactly that - a faithful, and at the same time true to the spirit of the original, translation. Slomczynski also wanted to translate 'Finnigans Wake'; I remember an article in Polish literary press where he announced he had found, as the first in the world, the key to the interpretation of 'Finnigans Wake'. I think it was late seventies or early eighties when he published his translation of a fragment of it, titled 'Anna Livia.' It was great stuff.
southern 75 | 7,096  
13 Jan 2008 /  #7
Do not expect so much participation from the antiintellectual West.
OP Puzzler 9 | 1,089  
13 Jan 2008 /  #8
- What do you mean by 'West,' friend? I don't understand.
:)
z_darius 14 | 3,968  
13 Jan 2008 /  #9
Slomczynski himself is somewhat of a genius himself. Sometimes, having read something in his translation, then then going back to the original it almost felt like the original was a poor quality translation of Slomczynski :)
superjay - | 47  
13 Jan 2008 /  #10
almost felt like the original was a poor quality translation of Slomczynski :)

I'm out of my depths here :( when my Polish friends have finished reading their copies of Angora they pull out the angorka section for me...i struggle hard to understand it & interpret it LOL!!

Mickiewicz is a great poet, but few read him....

This may be a good comparison. I think Joyce (amongst others) is a source of great pride but would wonder how many have read him...I personally haven't, but intend to sooner or later. Joycean Dublin is now very accessible..with tours, websites & a James Joyce centre too.
osiol 55 | 3,922  
13 Jan 2008 /  #11
Has the collection of poems 'Chamber Music' be translated?
Poetry has got to be the most difficult thing to translate, particularly when it is so idiosyncratic.

I have read 'The Dubliners' but never got round to reading 'Ulysses'.
Michal - | 1,865  
13 Jan 2008 /  #12
I think it is escapism. In Russia they loved Burns and even celebrated a special Burns night in Moscow each year. I am not sure if they still remember him now though. I am delighted that Poland at last admits to liking literature written in the English Language. When I was in Moscow I met many Poles and they never had a single good word to say for the English. My God, how times change!
Piorun - | 658  
13 Jan 2008 /  #13
Has the collection of poems 'Chamber Music' be translated?

Maciej Słomczyński had translated that in 70's "Muzyka Kameralna"
I believe that Grzegorz Turnau had written the music for some of them.
osiol 55 | 3,922  
13 Jan 2008 /  #14
"Muzyka Kameralna"

I like Chamber Music because, being short poems, you can pick it up and just read one or two. Usually, doing this, you end up reading loads and loads.

It might be nice, knowing some of the original poems, to try reading them in Polish. It would make a nice change from the kind of Polish I hear on a daily basis. It might also help with familiarising myself with the language. The only problems being that poetry often uses words not often used outside of poetry - archaisms and the like.

When I was in Moscow I met many Poles and they never had a single good word to say for the English.

a) That was before James Joyce was even born, and
b) James Joyce was IRISH.
superjay - | 47  
13 Jan 2008 /  #15
Poetry has got to be the most difficult thing to translate

Osioł, you are surely right about this..when what is truly being said is disputed even amongst scholars of the author's language. I certainly think, given Joyce's style..a little of which I'm familiar with..that a faithful/accurate translation into Polish is a monumental task...given that Joyce's works are internationally accepted as belonging amongst the truly inventive literature & ulysses generally seen as his masterpiece.

I think it is escapism. In Russia they loved Burns and even celebrated a special Burns night in Moscow each year. I am not sure if they still remember him now though. I am delighted that Poland at last admits to liking literature written in the English Language. When I was in Moscow I met many Poles and they never had a single good word to say for the English. My God, how times change!

I find this sort of post very hard to interpret. In response to a thread about Polish appreciation of an great Irish writer - we are offered Communist Russian appreciation of a great Scottish writer??? Michał's posts portay a very, very unique grudge..unique on this forum..perhaps, it's the kind of grudge that started around 1989(ish) and really started to hit home about 3/4 years ago? Sorry, still interpreting it......
osiol 55 | 3,922  
13 Jan 2008 /  #16
I am tempted to copy out a verse or two of Chamber Music to illustrate my point about poetry being a very hard thing to translate, but my lawyers have advised against doing this.

You do find the word 'air' being used a lot. This has a double meaning. Mostly, Joyce uses this to mean 'tune', 'melody', but the other, more common meaning colours this. There is a lot of air in these poems. There are other words that reccur over and over.

What suffers in translation? The double-meanings? The rhyme scheme? Everything, perhaps.
I have read a lot of Dostoevsky and Gogol in translation, with absolutely no hope of ever reading it in its original Russian, but reading more than one translation of the same work, you can see just how much actually changes, and there there is no rhyme for the translator to deal with, although every writer has their own particular rhythm, especially Joyce.

My first introduction to the work of James Joyce was listening to one of the albums by former Pink Floyd genius/madman Syd Barrett who set 'Golden Hair' to music. In his own lyrics, anyone with a familiarity with Joyce will hear the influence in Barrett's work, particularly post-Floyd.

I think I'm going to Dublin for a Joyce pilgrimage!

You'll have to visit Paris, Zurich and Trieste too. Oh! The hardship!
superjay - | 47  
13 Jan 2008 /  #17
Pink Floyd genius/madman Syd Barrett

think Joyce was seen in a similar light...or perhaps a similar haze of smoke...lol
Kowalski 7 | 621  
13 Jan 2008 /  #18
Anna Staniewska who was an editor of Slonimski translation of Shakespeare had many critical remarks on Slonimski works.
For example:
Hamlet: "That's a fair thought to lie between maids' legs"
Slomczynski: "Piękna to myśl do włożenia między nogi dziewczyny"

Slomczynski had - according to her - confused "to lie" and "to lay" .... :)

Nevertheless her opinion on his Ulisses was positive and this is an opinion coming from someone who had edited nearly every Shakespeare polish translation.

I haven't read Ulysses nor Ulisses yet. I have bought Slomczynki's translation of Jonathan Swift but .... am yet to start.

More on Maciej Slomczynski vs William Shakespeare here (polish)
isthatu 3 | 1,164  
13 Jan 2008 /  #19
Do not expect so much participation from the antiintellectual West.

would that be the anti intellectual West that produced the Auther your fawning over?
I'll stick to Orwell myself,atleast he didnt write drivel like uyllsses...
osiol 55 | 3,922  
13 Jan 2008 /  #20
the anti intellectual West

What the Dickens?
superjay - | 47  
13 Jan 2008 /  #21
I'll stick to Orwell myself

well done, good for you...why not start an orwell thread? His name is invoked often enough on this forum!
Michal - | 1,865  
13 Jan 2008 /  #22
lomczynski had - according to her - confused "to lie" and "to lay" .... :)

He was just a Pole. If you look, many of the translations on this forum are also very far off the mark.
z_darius 14 | 3,968  
13 Jan 2008 /  #23
If you look, many of the translations on this forum are also very far off the mark.

If you stop posting them then they will be just about right.
Oscypek - | 107  
14 Jan 2008 /  #24
As for me, I think I'm going to Dublin for a Joyce pilgrimage!

You'll have to visit the Lincoln Inn that was featured in one of Joyce's works. It's a very old pub that still exists. Joyce visited it often and married a woman that worked there.

"Lincoln's Inn re-opens its doors"

therecord.ie/content/view/1/26/
Mali - | 300  
5 Mar 2008 /  #25
I had to resurrect this thread to say that I love James Joyce!
I've read Dubliners (LOVED) and Portrait (didn't love) and am now reading Ulysses and am fully fascinated by his different techniques. There's so much going on beneath the surface, not to mention his humour (he's a master at parody).

I'm definitely admiring the 'Irish Genius James Joyce'

Do not expect so much participation from the antiintellectual West.

You mean the 'anti-intellectual West' that produced so much of the work that we're admiring?

ETA: I'm actually really excited because my convocation day is June 16th...Bloomsday! Too bad its on a Monday instead of Thursday. Either way, its a pretty cool way to end my undergraduate studies
SeanBM 35 | 5,808  
28 Dec 2008 /  #26
I never knew that his works had been translated into polish or that Polish people read Irish literature, is it just Joyce?.
Very interesting.
pawian 182 | 16,861  
28 Dec 2008 /  #27
is it just Joyce?.

Hey, come on, Poland is a European country. :):):)

Stevenson and Shaw are known and translated. I don`t know about reading, but I had to read them when at uni. As well as Yeats and Beckett.

Seamus Heaney was very popular a few years ago and people did buy his books and crowded for autographs. Snobs! :):):)
SeanBM 35 | 5,808  
28 Dec 2008 /  #28
Hey, come on, Poland is a European country.

Yeah of course, I just never thought about it before, to be honest.

Ireland has a good tradition of writing, I was always rubbish at it (as you see) but I enjoy reading it.

crowded for autographs. Snobs! :):):)

Did you? :)
pawian 182 | 16,861  
28 Dec 2008 /  #29
Did you? :)

Nope. I am never a snob. I intentionally avoid places which people flock to and crowd at.

Hey, wait, what am I doing here?
byronic 3 | 30  
29 Dec 2008 /  #30
I'm half Irish, but I could never get into reading Joyce. the Irish have a habit of exaggerating the talents of their (mostly) mediocre artists- witness for example the singer Sinead O' Connor, a one-hit wonder who maintains her high profile by spouting controversial pap in the tabloids every 6 months or so. She is chiefly famous for this rather than any singing talents she is supposed to possess. The actor Gabriel Byrne, an ex-soap star, now ex-supporting actor in a few forgettable flicks, but regarded here as our own Al Pacino. I could go on, but the list would be endless. But then Ireland has a culture which rewards mediocrity- if you don't believe me then just look at our politicians. I'm expecting flak over this but I think Joyce is overrated, O.K, his writings have a unique style, but does that make it great literature? The problem, I think, lies with pretentious literary critics, who, like pretentious wine experts, only have to give something their approval and the herd will blindly agree for fear of appearing uncultured and unknowledgeable if they do not concur. Stream of consciousness? Or stream of drunken ramblings? But that's just my opinion.

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