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  2. Losing the Peace
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Are they essential for a reader, or additional? In your opening note, you explain the biggest translation choice you made. It works. It keeps the reader aware of the boundaries of Creole and French, and it fits the tone, where there is already repetition, variation, quick hits of commas, and lists.

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Did you consider or even try out other routes? What really made this one win for you? LC: My approach to translating has always been based on trying to make the English text reflect not just what the French says, but also what it means to native French-speakers, who are immersed—to varying degrees—in the worlds of their language, a language that has ranged widely in certain parts of the real world. Francophone literature is dear to the French, and the writings of Marguerite Duras, for example, born and raised in French Indochina, have more dimensions in their eyes than they do in ours.

Unless we do our homework. But who does, before picking up a book? Slave Old Man is a short but extremely complex and dense text. Therefore, they were dealt with in situ, and as you said, this was literally fitting. The publisher then suggested that I add something about Chamoiseau and Glissant, and that became the afterword—again, optional, but very helpful in context.

Here I might add that The New Press could not have been more supportive of my take on this translation, and dared to publish a most unusual text. A significant portion of the book is a mastiff, with an almost magical aura, chasing a slave, who is painfully human, but also already almost a legendary figure, both to other slaves and his master. Are there places in the novel, moments, lines, recurrences, that helped you lock this tone down?

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The full introduction of the mastiff was one for me, as a reader. LC: Every reader reads a different story, and will react in a personal way to the text, but my interpretation is locked to the French.

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And that belongs to Chamoiseau. Read; write. The second chapter now returns to the beginning, to tell the story from inside that mythical space you described. TM: Now, call it a spoiler if you want, but eventually, the novel switches to first person. The balance between mythical distance and realist immediacy shifts.

Both elements are still there, but in a different way than before. Even the way Creole is used after seems to be a little different. Did you find this a particular challenge, or something that came with your overall conception of the translation? Slave Old Man has the sublime arc of a rainbow, which leads not to a treacherous pot of gold, but to the Stone, a vision of chaos, acceptance, and redemption. TM: Do you feel any pressure with role or responsibility translating from cultures with colonial histories like Martinique?

And what should readers know about Creole and literature? Where is the movement now? Pitt considered giving Quebec back, conscious that "we have too much already". World domination was not, for the moment, on the agenda. His French counterpart, the anglophobic Choiseul, felt similarly surfeited - although both countries continued scientific explorations in the name of the Enlightenment.

Losing the Peace

Yet the seven years war had expanded Britain's overseas trade, increased the power of the city, and thus allowed for the industrial revolution. Despite another 50 years of conflict - which saw the terrifying success of the Jacobin and Napoleonic armies - "France's defeat turned out to be permanent", especially in the linguistic sphere.

The second war for America initially saw defeat for Britain,. George Washington a zealous slave-owner called on the French for aid, and the fall of Yorktown in was their army's achievement. The French recoiled from the cruelty of what they termed "the bloody and ravenous Americans" towards their British prisoners.

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Yet victory was sour: the costs of the war led directly to the French revolution - the greatest cataclysm in her history, in the authors' view. If the examples of liberal Britain and America's insurgents initially inspired the French revolutionaries, Robespierre looked to Greece and Rome, while others looked to Cromwell's Commonwealth. Coleridge burnt the words "Liberty" and "Equality" with gunpowder on to Cambridge college lawns; Edmund Burke wrote his coruscating critique of ideology, Reflections on the Revolution in France - "the most important English book ever written about France".

External armed pressure is generally blamed for the Terror, but the authors refute this - quoting Lord Grenville, the new foreign secretary, as being "bent on the most scrupulous neutrality". This reading is debatable: Pitt the Younger mobilised the militia some two months before the new republic - fearful of counter-revolution led by Britain - declared war on February 1 Britain aided insurgencies in France, ironically mostly Catholic. The reprisals were unbelievably savage, belying - or perhaps illustrating - the revolutionaries' icily rationalist credo.

A new era was born. Hordes of refugees led to the closest contacts ever between the elites of the two countries, "far greater than that of the Free French during the second world war" and a whole lot deeper than the "shallow" exchanges of today.

That Sweet Enemy: Britain and France: The History of a Love-Hate Relationship by Robert Tombs

The fathers of Pugin and Brunel were among the penniless thousands, as well as De Chateaubriand, eking out a bohemian existence in Soho. This softened the hatred between mercantile "Carthage" and idealist "Rome". The last invasion of Britain was in , involving a few hundred French gaolbirds. The winds blew them into Fishguard, where they wandered about trying to find a meal. The financial panic this fiasco caused, however, was as ever "economically beneficial" to Britain.

The Royal Navy - "one of the most effective instruments of war there has ever been" - was massively expanded in response to the awesome, if "aimless", belligerence of Napoleon, a man of no restraints who stated that all his wars "came from England". He very nearly succeeded in invading Britain and turning it into "an appendix of France", yet he admired English culture and considered ending his days as an English gentleman. As a Corsican, he hated the French, which is perhaps why he was happy to expend them by the million.

It was Germany that changed everything.

After , and despite the first entente cordiale of , the rivals became mutually suspicious allies - too suspicious, alas, to save Europe from the nasty surprises of and or from Hitler, whose propaganda about the harshness of the Versailles treaty we seem to have swallowed. French and British generals screamed at each other. The Brits saw the French soldier as "cowardly" - a dramatic shift from his previous reputation as "recklessly courageous".

The authors are puzzled, but it probably dates from General John Gort's contemptuously unfair report to cabinet of the French collapse in May Each has a terror of becoming Sweden, so the long and sorry tale isn't over. Yet, at a recent ceremony to honour 14 RAF airmen downed over a Normandy village, there were only French present. At last year's Wilfred Owen commemoration in Ors, where the poet was killed, I was virtually the only Brit out of some locals. This gripping, magnificently informative book, with a delicious streak of dry humour, is not optimistic about a sea-change in this "couple infernal", but affectionate stuff goes on quietly happening below the radar.

It may even save us, pace the tabloids, from some future nasty surprise.

MyDramaList title ID same as Wikidata

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