The poets of modern France (1918) PDF book - French Poetry Translated by Ludwig Lewisohn

The poets of modern France  (1918) PDF book - French Poetry Translated by  Ludwig Lewisohn

The poets of modern France

It is time that the art of translation, of which we have many beautiful examples in English, should be strictly distinguished from the trade. Like acting or the playing of music, it is an art of inter- predation, more difficult than either in this respect: that you must interpret your original in a medium never contemplated by its author. It requires, at its best, an exacting and imaginative scholarship, for you must understand your text in its fullest and most living sense; it requires power over the instrument of your own language no less complete than the virtuoso's over the pianoforte than the actor's over the expression of his voice or the gestures of his body. Its aim, too, is identical with the aims of those sister arts of interpretation: to give a clear voice to the beauty that would else be dumb or quite muffled. For even to intelligent lovers of the arts a subtle or intricate poem v in a language not their own is as lifeless as a page of Beethoven which they have not heard played.

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