« Je t’aime moi non plus »

La correspondance entre Vladimir Nabokov et ses traducteurs français





collaborative translation, genetic translation studies, Nabokov



The structure of the letters which Vladimir Nabokov sent to his French translators shows how ambivalent his relation to them was: generally, Nabokov starts by praising the beauty of the translation, and then he makes a long list of all the blunders and howlers made by the translator. This article studies three cases. First, the translation of Pale Fire is analysed as a confrontation of two very proud men, in which the famous translator Maurice Edgar Coindreau refuses to be bossed around by the novelist. Then the article presents the translation of Ada or Ardor (entrusted to Gilles Chahine) as the collaboration of “men on the verge of a nervous breakdown”. Finally, it shows the very friendly relationship which Nabokov had with Jarl Priel, the translator of Invitation to a Beheading, whom Nabokov always fiercely defended. Thanks to the correspondence between Nabokov, his translators and publishers, it will become clear that these collaborative translations were in fact “mediated self-translations”. For Nabokov, it was not just about translating his novels: he wanted to remain the full master of his creations.


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How to Cite

Loison-Charles, J. (2022). « Je t’aime moi non plus »: La correspondance entre Vladimir Nabokov et ses traducteurs français. Między Oryginałem a Przekładem, 28(3(57), 27–44. https://doi.org/10.12797/MOaP.28.2022.57.02