quinta-feira, 7 de fevereiro de 2008

Aqui fica um excerto de um artigo sobre Halldór Laxness publicado na World Literature Today, Vol. 66, 1992. Quem estiver interessado em lê-lo na íntegra, peça-mo por e-mail (mas aviso que o trecho sobre Gente Independente contém spoilers...).

The World of Halldór Laxness
By SIGUMUR A. MAGNÚSSON

It is a constant source of wonder to foreign observers that a scattered and destitute nation of fewer than eighty thousand souls, as the Icelanders were at the turn of the century, should have produced such a plethora of creative talent, especially in literature and the visual arts. In painting there were such outstanding individuals as Asgrimur Jónsson (18761958), Jón Stefónsson (1881-1963), Jóhannes Kjarval (1885-1972), Thorvaldur Skúlason (1906-84), and Svavar Gudnason (1909-87); in sculpture one could single out Einar Jónsson (1874-1954), Ásmundur Sveinsson (1893-1982), and Sigurjón Olafsson (190882). In literature the first Icelanders to achieve an international reputation wrote in Danish: the dramatists Jóhann Sigurjónsson (1880-1919) and Gudmundur Kamban (1888-1945), and the novelist Gunnar Gunnarsson (1889-1975). There was also the Jesuit scholar and teacher Jon Svensson (1857-1944), who wrote in German about his boyhood experiences in Iceland and captured a worldwide audience. The first writer employing his native tongue to achieve international renown, however, was Halldór Laxness (b. 1902), who in 1955 was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.
No doubt the literary excellence of the Icelanders during the past century and a half owes much to the old and distinguished tradition of the Edda and the saga. It was in thirteenth-century Iceland that the famous sagas were composed, a fresh genre of realistic prose works whose equivalent can only be found in the European novel of the last two centuries. The sagas had little influence on prose writing in the rest of the world, but they still stand as the first successful attempt in Europe to create realistic secular prose narratives. Halldór Laxness works in the tradition of the anonymous saga writers and has actually found some of his subject matter in early Icelandic literature. With his narrative powers and vivid, dramatic style, he has done more than any modern novelist to renew Icelandic prose; indeed, he dominated the literary scene of his country from the mid- 1920s to the mid-1960s. He is a veritable magician with words and has in that respect alone worked miracles. His linguistic virtuosity tends to be lost in translation, as does his innate feeling for the native soil and tradition. Laxness is so deeply rooted in the oral folk tradition, shaped by the history and environment of his people, that much of the fragrance of his exquisite prose is hopelessly lost even in the best foreign renditions. Any translator of his works will testify to the exasperating dilemma of recapturing and rendering some of the original flavour. This is not to say, as some would, that every literature has its own singular attributes which are alien to other literatures. It merely means that some authors identify themselves so thoroughly with the native tradition that the most intimate quality of their writing cannot be conveyed in another language.

2 comentários:

Bernhild disse...

Lost in Translation
I don't know the English or Spanish translations, but there is a very good edition of Laxness's work in German.
In the past there were translations of the Danish translations - this is horrible!

CF disse...

The Portuguese translation is made directly from the original in Icelandic, but still, I can't help thinking that a lot of the "flavour" or the original must be lost somewhere...