Pigeons' heart-shaped bodies
Replies: 27 - Last Post: Sep 3, 2013 8:52 PM Last Post By: nutraxfornerves
Aug 2, 2013 3:43 AM
Pigeons' heart-shaped bodiesTowards the end of Swann's Way/Du côté de chez Swann, Proust (as translated by CK Scott-Moncrieff) mentions "the pigeons (in the Champs-Elysées) and their "beautiful iridescent bodies (shaped like hearts and surely the lilacs of the feathered kingdom)."
I'll concede the lilacs, although they aren't the first things I think of when I see pigeons. But in what sense are pigeons' bodies heart-shaped? I've seen lots of pigeons, including Parisian pigeons, and I can't make their bodies out to be heart-shaped at all.
Aug 2, 2013 5:03 AM
So have I, and I can make out the heart shape.. Isn't it artistic license, just as it is to see pigeons as "the lilacs of the feathered kingdom"? The shape doesn't have to be exactly the same; a pigeon's body is much more stout than it is long, so if you see them head-on (or from the rear, if you ignore the tail) there is a kind of resemblance.
When I was a child, one of our neighbors had a dog that all of us called a "wiener dog." It was a dachshund, of course. I'd say that a pigeon's body is heart-shaped at least as much as a dachshund's body is hotdog-shaped.
Aug 2, 2013 8:21 AM
Aug 2, 2013 12:08 PM
3Yes, I can see that. I was thinking of "body" as inclusive of the head and neck.
I'm reminded of the inscription I once saw at Sta Maria Sopra Minerva in Rome, informing the visitor that a sarcophagus there held the body of St Catherine of Siena. If I hadn't seen her head at San Domenico in Siena the previous week, I woluold have assumed that that meant the whole body, top to toe.
Aug 2, 2013 1:33 PM
Aug 5, 2013 5:02 PM
Aug 6, 2013 4:43 AM
Aug 6, 2013 8:37 AM
7I've got a lovely 2-volume set of the complete Remembrance (in English) that belonged to my mother. I have tried several times to read it, starting as a teenager, but never could get past the first 30 pages or so of Swann's Way. Maybe it's time to give it another try, maybe with a different translation. The one I have is Moncrieff.
I found some recommendations for the Lydia Davis translation, which I see my library has. Anyone familiar with it?
The plural of anecdote is not data.
Aug 6, 2013 11:25 AM
8Proust was one of those authors that took me several attempts to read. I finally did so (in French) and once I got into it, I read all 7 or 8 volumes in a row.
Then about 2 years ago, a friend lent me a graphic novel (aka comic book) of Swann's Way, which was very well done. So I started re-reading the novels again. But I only read the book when I'm away, so long periods are spent between sections. But it doesn't really matter -- it's a book you read for the style, not for the story.
Aug 6, 2013 1:30 PM
Aug 6, 2013 1:37 PM
10Here's a sentence that, at leaeast in the Scott-Moncrieff translation, would keep me from reading it for the style:
With "he" and "it" both preceding their antecedents, i defy anyone to understand that sentence on the first reading.
Also: the oval sound of the peal reminds me of Eric Satie, who, when a critic complained that his compositions were formless, produced "Trois morceaux en forme de poire", "Three Pear-Shaped Pieces."
Aug 6, 2013 2:03 PM
11I was able to find the same passage in the Davis translation
The plural of anecdote is not data.
Aug 6, 2013 4:41 PM
12Here is the French. Both English translations make an independent sentence out of the beginning of this one, up to the first semicolon, but I'll include the whole sentence just for a sense of how long his sentences are:
Edited by: VinnyD
Aug 6, 2013 4:51 PM
13A visitor would normally ring the doorbell. A non-visitor would walk in without ringing, but would be unable to avoid activating some other kind of bell? (Maybe a bell like some shops used to have, activated by anyone crossing the doorstep?)
That said, "set it off" is more or less the opposite of "put it out of action," isn't it?
Aug 6, 2013 4:54 PM
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