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Publisher Description

Once upon a time there was an unknown author in his twenties who wrote so well that people at first didn't believe that his novels were actually written by him. The more he withdrew from public view, claiming that the texts spoke for themselves, the more the press hounded him for interviews and information. The man: Rejean Ducharme of Montreal, Quebec. The rime: the mid-1960s. The publisher: Editions Gallimard of Paris, France. My goal: to translate as many of Ducharme's nine novels as possible into English, thereby expanding access to his wonderful, quirky, inventive prose. So far, I have translated the novel in verse La Fille de Christophe Colomb (1969) (The Daughter of Christopher Columbus, Guernica Editions, Toronto, 2000) and the masterful Va savoir (1994) (Go Figure, Talonbooks, Vancouver, 2003). The particularly challenging translation of Le nez qui voque (1967) as Miss Take (Talonbooks, Vancouver, forthcoming in 2010) is in its final stages. It is this text, which concerns a young man and his obsession with a young woman, which I propose to analyze here. His obsession provides liberation for the translator, a freedom to follow the text. Last but not least, I have also undertaken the translation of L'Oceantume (1968), whose working title is Bitternest. This title evolved from the play on words between "ocean," "sea," and "bitterness" in the French original ('Tocean," "la mer," and "l'amertume'). It is strange and yet liberating to have no contact with Ducharme. The closest we have come to communication was in a note that he wrote to me inside the cover of the book Trophoux (2004), his collection of photographs of sculptures made from recycling the detritus of Montreal's streets and published under the pseudonym of Roch Plante. The note reads: "a Will Browning, en l'assurant que je suis de tout coeur avec lui--Rejean Ducharme" ("to Will Browning, with the assurance that I am with him with all my heart--Rejean Ducharme"). Therein lies the great paradox: he is with me in spirit, through the presence of his writing, even though his own absence from the literary scene has surpassed forty years. His absence forms a presence that accompanies me as I work. His absence inspires me to recreate in English a similar textual effect. That effect is the essence of the translator's work. According to Nida, "A translation of dynamic equivalence aims ar complete naturalness of expression, and tries to relate the receptor to modes of behavior relevant within the context of his own culture...." (cited in Venuti 159).

September 22
American Council for Quebec Studies
The Gale Group, Inc., a Delaware corporation and an affiliate of Cengage Learning, Inc.

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