Born in Ireland, Samuel Beckett wrote almost exclusively in French after moving to Paris in 1939. He would then translate his novels and plays into English.
He wrote the following sentence in his 1946 short story “Premier amour”:
Personnellement je n’ai rien contre les cimetières, je m’y promène assez volontiers, plus volontiers qu’ailleurs, je crois, quand je suis obligé de sortir.
A “literal” translation might be “Personally, I have nothing against cemeteries, I’ll gladly take a walk there, more gladly than elsewhere, I believe, when I am obliged to go out.”
Here is Beckett’s translation, done in 1973:
Personally I have no bone to pick with graveyards, I take the air there willingly, perhaps more willingly than elsewhere, when take the air I must.
John Minihan: Photograph of Beckett in room 604 of the Hyde Park Hotel, London, 1980.
His translation is aweomse
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