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Ask Marilyn: Reading Translations of Great Literature
David Schwartz of Albuquerque, New Mexico, writes:
Marilyn: Does reading a translation of a classic—such as War and Peace—come even close to the experience of reading the book in its native language?
For the foremost classics (not all of them), I think it does. Many of the finest works have been translated by writers whose work is so great that it's an art form in itself. For example, I have in my library a four-volume, 85-year-old edition of Marcel Proust's Remembrance of Things Past translated by C.K. Scott Moncrieff. After reading it, I find it difficult to imagine that it could have been written any more delectably.
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