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Re: ON TOPIC. Brassai and Proust

Hi Jean
There is a later translation by Grieve, with a new name: "In the Shadow of Young Girls in Flower" (Penguin 2003).  The passage is on page 450, and is translated:
"Pleasures are like photographs: in the presence of the person we love, we take only negatives, which we develop later, at home, when we have at our disposal once more our inner dark-room, the door of which it is strictly forbidden to open while others are present."
I have never seen the original French words before. There are some little puzzles:
1.    Does the narrator intend to take only a negative, or is that all he can manage?
2.    Given that in the preceding sentences the narrator says he took pleasure from the meeting only later, when was alone in his hotel room, do the words "on le développe" have an extra layer of meeting beyond the purely chemical?
3.    Evidently "tant qu'on voit du monde" should not be read literally, but does it refer to keeping company with other people, or simply being in the presence of other people?
I would be grateful for any light you can cast. And thanks to John for drawing attention to the passage.
Don Sweet
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Monday, January 21, 2008 4:55 AM
Subject: Re: ON TOPIC. Brassai and Proust

Bonjour John !
Thanks for your quote and for our French speaking/reading  list members, I'm happy to give it in French !
Il en est des plaisirs comme des photographies. Ce qu'on prend en présence de l'être aimé n'est qu'un cliché négatif, on le développe plus tard, une fois chez soi, quand on a retrouvé à sa disposition cette chambre noire intérieure dont l'entrée est "condamnée" tant qu'on voit du monde.
A l'ombre des jeunes filles en fleurs      
And despite all my respect due to Richard Howard , I would add my 2 pence about the translation...  Here are my comments
    1) very strangely, he condensed Proust's 2 distinct sentences into a single phrase. this seems so strange because, most often differences between English and French texts go exacty the other way : we, french, are known to love long and complex sentences (and Marcel Proust is known to be one of the best exemples of this style !) when English / american writers generally prefer more factual sentences, closer to reality and less abstract.
    2) Marcel Proust's text is based on a specific "jeu de mots" using the verb "prendre" : in French we both say "je prends des photographies" et "je prends du plaisir"  (= I take photographs and I take pleasure)
    3) In Proust's text, the separation into 2 sentences allows the writer to develop his idea in a more abstract level than in English : where Howard uses the plural ("those")thus diminishing the idea of "pleasure,s", Proust comes back to a more intellectual singular, which adds to the restrictive (no more than..) meaning of the sentence and to the sense of intimacy brought by the "interior darkroom".  So that, in my opinion, we lose some density of Marcel Proust's text in this translation.
    4) translation of "condamnée" by "condemned" seems strange since this figurative meaning of "condamner" in French (applied to rooms, doors, windows, etc.) has noithing to do with a (moral) condemnation .
With no idea of competition with Richard Howard but rather by respect for the dense feelings that brought to me the complete reading of Proust's works, my modest translation would be :
Pleasures are similar to photographs .What one takes in the beloved's presence is no more than a negative ; one will develop it later, once back at home, when is regained the availability of one's inner darkroom whose entrance is "locked up"as long as one sees other people.
Going further than translation problems, this book by photographer Brassaî is very interesting in the way he shows the very close relations between photography and Proust's writings, especially in the field of the importance of "memory" in Marcel Proust's works.
Brassaî, who was a very special guy had very intimate relations with the Paris world of artists and writers and had numerous collaborations with writers and poets: Henry de Montherlant, jacques Prévert, paul Morand (very famous collection book Paris de nuit"), and above all Henry Miller. He has also been very close to Picasso, for whom he shot a lot of pictures.
Thanks John for the opportunity you gave us to think about the "pleasure of photography" !
Cheers from france
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Sunday, January 20, 2008 12:43 PM
Subject: ON TOPIC. Brassai and Proust

Bonjour tout le monde,
                                          ''Proust  in the Power of Photography''  by Brassai.
''Marcel Proust sous l' emprise de la photographie.''
Translated by Richard Howard  ( 2001 )
It may not be generally known that  Marcel  Proust  was a writer whilst Brassai was a photographer and journalist.
''Pleasures are like photographs: those  taken in the beloved's presence no more than negatives, to be developed later, once you are home,  having regained the use of  that interior darkroom, access to which is ''condemned ''as long as you are seeing other people'' ''
                    --  WITHIN A BUDDING GROVE
Sorry, my French is not good enough to do this quote justice.
John - Photographist - London - UK