Gloss of transposed passage in The Night Before Christmas
Below is a gloss of a passage at the beginning of the The Night before Christmas. I am currently revising the first draft of the completed transposition, which prompts the consideration of extensive issues related to the formation of transpositions in general.
Если бы в это время проезжал сорочинский заседатель на тройке обывательских лошадей, в шапке с барашковым околышком, сделанной по манеру уланскому, в синем тулупе, подбитом черными смушками, с дьявольски сплетенною плетью, которою имеет он обыкновение подгонять своего ямщика, то он бы, верно, приметил ее, потому что от сорочинского заседателя ни одна ведьма на свете не ускользнет.
If the Sorochintsy assessor had been passing by just then, driving a troika of hired horses, in a hat with a lamb's wool band after the uhlan fashion, in a dark blue coat lined with astrakhan, with the devilishly woven hip he used to urge his coachman on, he would surely have noticed her, for no witch in the world could elude the Sorochintsy assessor. (Volokhonsky/Pevear 42-3)
If the Chester Selectman had been passing in his SUV with its tinted windows, wearing his hat with sheepskin fur made in the Russian manner, his waterproof jacket with thermal lining and a convenient detachable hood, which he often uses to hunt deer, then he probably would have seen her, because not one witch in the world had eluded the Chester Selectman.
Gloss of transposed passage
Personalization of objects
- the neutral or more object Russian description of objects without "a", "the" or "his" is being personalized in this transposition
- the personalization of objects also reduces the distance between the narrator and the story, in this case implying the narrator is already familiar with the characters of the story. For example, when the narrator says "wearing his hat with sheepskin" in regard to a previously unintroduced character, that narrator implicitly states that he already knows of this person's existence. The Russian original is neutral.
Change of adverb "intricately" to adjective "beautiful"
- In such an alteration, the narrator suggests that a concern for beauty has been replaced by the desire for convenience in a twentyfirst century selectman. Ideally an adverb in the transposition is sought for an adverb in the original, but that is immaterial, especially in this transposition which experiments with greater deviation in the syntax (as compared to the transposition of The Nose)
Purpose to purpose
- The narrator in the original describes a whip that the character uses for his driver, i.e. the described object has the dual purpose of impressing others (with its intricacy) and being useful (for motivation/fear). The parallel description in the transposition consists of a hood to a jacket ("detachable hood"). In the context of Vermont, this object is used for the character's duties as selectman and for hunting. The former brutality of whipping a peasant driver is arguably attenuated in contemporary America, but still retains a touch of the original sense.