lundi 26 septembre 2011

Nancy Huston

Interesting to read this morning (in Les belles étrangères: Canadians in Paris, by Jane Koustas, on Google Books) that most of Nancy Huston's self-translations into English are filled with lexical and syntactic Gallicisms. I haven't read anything of hers in English other than "Losing North", her collection of essays on language and identity. I have to admit that I don't find it that surprising that her English writing is strongly tainted with French, after all, she has been living in France for over twenty (maybe thirty?) years now, she speaks French much more often than English, and probably even thinks in French by now. But she still doesn't feel fully accepted by French people... and then when she switches back to English, she can't write it OR speak it fluently. Yikes.

"The minute I discern foreign intonations, my interest and empathy are quickened. Even if I have no direct contact with the person in question--I may simply be walking through a park or sitting in a restaurant--my ears prick up when I hear her accent and, studying them unobtrusively, I try to imagine the other, faraway side of her life. When you think about it, there's a whole novel behind the voice of a Haitian in Montreal, a German in Paris, a Laotian in Chicago.... 'Ah,' I say to myself. 'That person in split in two. She's got a _story_.' Because *if you know two languages, you know two cultures*--and the unsettling effects of going back and forth between them, and the relativization of each by the other."

From Nancy Huston (2003): "The Mask and the Pen", in Lives in translation: bilingual writers on identity and creativity. Ed. Isabelle De Courtivron, Palgrave Macmillan, p. 59. Read on Google Books.

Aucun commentaire:

Publier un commentaire