Transposition: Deletion in Form

One of the liberating aspects of transposition is the option to add or omit something from the original. The justification for this remains that the transposed author would not compose in a form or with content identical to the original. The new socio-linguistic context would alter his frame of reference.

In the transposition of Gogol's The Nose, we have a nice example of required deletion.

Ковалев догадался и, схватив со стола красную ассигнацию, сунул в руки надзирателю, который, расшаркавшись, вышел за дверь, и в ту же почти минуту Ковалев слышал уже голос его на улице, где он увещевал по зубам одного глупого мужика, наехавшего с своею телегою как раз на бульвар.

This sentence in bold typeface cannot accommodate по зубам in twenty-first century American English due the generally prevailing structure of subject-verb-object and, in this specific case, the dependent clause at the end (наехавшего с своею телегою как раз на бульвар) and the multiclause sentence.

If there were no dependent clause at the end it would be possible to write: "he admonished a dumb man through his teeth". But with the dependent clause, it would be poor style to have the signifier "that"or "who"  referring back to the preceding "man"). Maybe, if the whole sentence had less clauses or was shorter, it would be possible to write "he admonished, through his teeth, a dumb man that/who was driving his cart on the street." But that reads very poorly, even in the longer transposed (not translated, which would read with even greater difficulty) sentence:


Bill guessed what he was hinting at, pulled a clump of bills from his wallet, and stretched his arm out to the policeman who, lowering his head in gratitude, went out the door, and a moment later Bill imagined his voice on the street, warning (through his teeth) a dumb kid riding his bike on the sidewalk.

Read that with "teeth" and without "teeth". If Gogol were a twenty-first century American writer, surely he would either rephrase the sentence or eliminate teeth.

In translation, this is not possible.
In adaptation, there is no directly relationship to the form of the original.
In transposition, we have a relationship, we have duality, uncertainty, universals, tension between divergent epochs, objectivity, in short, many of the characteristics of peripateticism and our neobaroque era in general.

-----UPDATE ON 1/14/2012

As it turns out, the last comparison of the transposition with the original led to another alteration of the sentence discussed here. Now I have broken it in two and found one of the parallels that marks the transposition of content. The passage now looks like this:


Bill guessed what he was hinting at, pulled a clump of bills from his wallet, and stretched his arm out to the policeman who – lowering his head in gratitude – turned and left. A moment later Bill imagined his voice on the street as he growled a warning to some dumb kid riding his bike on the sidewalk.


The principle of deletion in form does not change as a result of this. It is an integral part of transposition. This example, however, ceases to apply.

Further reading

Transposition: Persuasion and Dead Souls in Twenty-first Century America
Transposition: More examples 
Transposition: Excerpt 
Transposition: The Nose by Nikolai Gogol in Twenty-first Century America 
Novel DSP: Jacket Synopsis 
A Brief Explanation of Transposition 


 

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