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Remembered Today:

all quiet on the western front


mcfc1923

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Just finished reading all quite on the western front a couple of days ago, and wow!!

was i in for a surprise. I have seen the film version, Lew Ayres not John boy Walton, first seen it when i was about 9 or 10 and the ending of the film even at that age haunted me for weeks. but the book is something special, i just never expected it to be like that, thought i would be reading the book version of the film.

i was in for a surprise to say the least.

It's been many moons since i sat and read a book all the way through, i mostly watch dvd or vhs ww1 documentries, but this reading lark works wonders for the imagination.

trip to the library tomorrow i think.

mcfc1923

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Interestingly, on the forum on the Trenches on the Web site, a gentleman regularly contributes passages of All Quiet. He says that the current English translations are seriously flawed, and he is translating it out of the original German for eventual publication. We are patiently waiting!

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Interestingly, on the forum on the Trenches on the Web site, a gentleman regularly contributes passages of All Quiet. He says that the current English translations are seriously flawed, and he is translating it out of the original German for eventual publication. We are patiently waiting!

now that is interesting. will check that out for sure. The edition of all quite that i have was published in 1994 and translated from the german by Brian Murdoch.

I wonder if my book falls into the seriously flawed category ?.

many thanks for the info lassuy.

mcfc1923

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As to the flaws, I would think this may be some level of acedemic issue, rather than a literary one. Remarque was quite fluent (speaking and writing) in English. Remember he ended his career as a Hollywood man and wrote several novels published first in the US in English.

All that is to say, while the English translations might not be "accurate" as to what he wrote in German, Remarque himself would have "corrected" anything he saw "in error" ... while I have no historical proof ... his profeciency in English is enough for me to believe he "must" have read the translation and would have corrected things he saw that were contrary to his intensions.

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The Murdoch translation is deeply flawed.

Take the introduction:

"We are in camp five miles behind the line. Yesterday our relief arrived; now our bellies are full of bully beef and beans, we've had enough to eat and we're well satisfied"

Wheen's (original)

"We are at rest five miles behind the front. Yesterday we were relieved, and now our bellies are full of beef and haricot beans.We are satisfied and at peace".

Apart from the gtreater elegance of Wheen's prose, the changes are important. They show a lack of knowledge of the great war - the recent retranslation of Storm of Steel has a similar problem.

Bully beef was British issue. That which the Germans had - and greatly relished -was captured from the British - beef and haricot beans were a fairly standard German meal. In camp is different from we are at rest.

Similar infelicities abound in Murdoch's translation. Wheen however was a soldier serving with the AIF. He translated all (from memory) of Remarque's books. Perhaps his translation is worthy of re-evaluation but it still knocks Murdoch's into a cocked hat.

Even better than All Quiet is The Road Back, Remarque's second book, a sort of German evaluation of loss and disenchantment

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Even better than All Quiet is The Road Back, Remarque's second book, a sort of German evaluation of loss and disenchantment

Hi David,

I read and enjoyed "The Road Back" but found it to be a little obvious at times though a a great post-war novel I thought it was a little too heavy-handed. I found All quiet to be more subtle and enjoyable. Only one way to settle this though, I'll have to re-read them both.

Take care,

Neil

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I too have finished All Quiet... enjoyed it greatly, am now reading Goodbye to all that.... all good...

John

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