Haute-Pierre (Litt.Generale) (French Edition)

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The oppositions between participants were clear-cut. The distances that separated them were vast. The description given by another participant, Charles Taylor, is even more forthright. For example, the tone he adopted especially during the opening section of his paper, when discussing Husserl, was sententious and derisive. Many of his remarks were, it must be said, not only uncharitable, but also distasteful, carrying flippant and uncalled-for political connotations relating to the Nazis Ryle, 68 [ ] , at the hands of whom Husserl, of Jewish descent, had suffered significantly as early as see Van Breda, 2—3.

There could have been few men present at the Royaumont Abbey with more authority on the subject than Van Breda to compliment Ryle on his discourse on Husserlian phenomenology; but, apart from one or two fleeting, customary remarks of polite civility, compliments were not what Ryle received from him. This is particularly clear when, alluding to the distinction in German between Richtigkeit and Wahrheit , he asks Ryle to state clearly whether he believes that philosophy is adequately defined as merely an enquiry into the correctness of verbal expressions ibid.

See Noble, a: — In this regard, a growing body of literature in recent years has tended to insist upon the elements that these traditions have in common, rather than on those that force them apart see, for example, Dummet, ; Glock, Also, in the English-speaking world, there has even been a recent revival of interest in the conference that took place at the Royaumont Abbey in , accompanied by discussion about how best to interpret the apparent clash of civilisations that occurred there see Overgard, ; Vrahimis, ; Gallagher, ; and cf. Dummet, To be sure, all of these developments are undeniably positive for the practice of philosophy.

Indeed, any consideration of the transmission of French thought, through translation, towards the English-speaking world would be pointlessly abstract if it ignored the circumstances in which such transmission occurs. Our question is the following: what responsibility, if any, might translations—and, by extension, translators—have in this arduous exchange between languages and cultures, where a slew of deep and serious misunderstandings appear to obstruct the possibility of fruitful discussion between equals?

The translator is, we might say, becoming less and less invisible, albeit gradually. What, then, are the repercussions of the involvement of translation in this exchange between the representatives of the often tumultuous Sorbonne and those of the generally calmer, ivy-clad colleges of Oxford and Cambridge, and of their American and Canadian counterparts?

Before embarking on this path, it would be well to make one point perspicuously clear. This is why it will be essential to remain as impartial as possible, concentrating on the facts of the matter, and the facts alone. In this manner, any conclusions at which we might arrive will not be based on issues relating to individual taste, but on matters much more objective.

For the most part, La Structure du comportement is an in-depth, critical, and philosophical examination of what were, at the time, recent developments in the scientific analysis of behaviour and perception. Its discussions of phenomenology proper are only developed in the concluding sections. For, as Ryle made clear at Royaumont Abbey, for the Oxonian philosophers there was a sharp divide between the empirical research of science and the conceptual research of philosophy—and, more importantly, the two were perhaps better kept apart La Philosophie analytique , Cahiers de Royaumont, IV: 67—68, 96— For Merleau-Ponty, on the contrary, they most certainly were.

The issue is not that the existing translation is in any way dated, as sometimes happens with such works; objectively speaking, the main problem is that the existing translation bears all the hallmarks of, and stumbles into all the same pitfalls as, the work of students taking their first classes in translation. Generally speaking, it shows little or no regard for the fundamental linguistic differences between French and English, and, on certain occasions, it borders on unintelligibility.

It is composed of a slew of loan, or literal, translations, with the French prose being rendered into English by choosing word-for-word English equivalents. In fact, the number and scope of problems in the existing translation is so significant that it is difficult to know where to start a discussion of it. However, this is far from the case in the current translation of La Structure du comportement.

It thus seems quite appropriate to begin here, at the very beginning. The French edition of La Structure du comportement is rigorously organised, according to a five-level hierarchy see S. The book is divided into chapters, which are subdivided into sections and then subsections Levels 1, 2, and 3, respectively. Very often, chapter subsections are also divided into sub-subsections Level 4 , and, on one occasion, sub-subsections are further divided into paragraphs Level 5.

See S. In turn, when chapter subsections are divided into sub-subsections, the latter are, first of all, clearly and consistently demarcated by the use of em dashes i. In the one instance where the author further divides the sub-subsections into paragraphs see Ch. Furthermore, in the first edition of the French text, all of the sectional, subsectional, and sub-subsectional headings—and even the paragraph headings in the one instance where they occur—are followed by their corresponding page numbers, and sometimes even separated from one another by line breaks to increase clarity even further.

Indeed, it is unusual today for a work of philosophy to be organised down to the level of chapter sub-subsections i. For a reason that is impossible to fathom, the existing translation does not clearly or consistently distinguish between chapter subsections i. Nor does it clearly or consistently present the accompanying headings that are so explicit and so easy to identify in the French text. First of all, in its attempt to distinguish between the different types of sections the book contains—which, we recall, are always accompanied by titles or headings—and except for the four Roman numerals it maintains to refer to the four chapters I, II, III, IV , the English translation abandons the use of numbers.

The problem is that the use the translation makes of these characters is so unconventional that it is simply unclear and confusing. Thirdly, and surely as a consequence of the preceding problem, the variety of punctuation marks employed is quite obviously too great and too unusual, for the translation uses them inconsistently and actually manages to confuse them with one another. Such inconsistency in the unconventional use of these punctuation marks has at least one serious consequence: the confusion of chapter subsections, sub-subsections, and also sub-subsection paragraphs.


At best, the outcome is unclear; at worst, it is highly confusing. More importantly, the result in no wise resembles the consistent clarity of the French original, and the overall effect is an obfuscation of the logical development of the book. Due to its aforementioned abandonment of numbering as well as its confusing and inconsistent use of unorthodox punctuation marks to attempt to indicate logical structure, a series of issues arises here in the translation that will be repeated throughout.

The short descriptive headings that are numbered and clearly presented as such in the French text are printed together in the translation without any unambiguous hierarchical distinction made between them.

This is due in part to a thoroughly unconventional, inconsistent, and confusing use of a punctuation mark, i. Indeed, the groups of words that should be presented clearly as distinct descriptive headings are actually lumped together in the translation, one after another, in the format of a paragraph, sometimes using an em dash to attempt to indicate separation. However, the em dash is employed exactly as if it were a punctuation mark in the middle of a sentence—with no space used before or after it, and, furthermore, with no capitalisation used for the first letter of the word that follows it.

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Consequently, and in distinct contrast to what occurs in the French original, it is not only difficult for the reader to apprehend the headings as headings, but it is also hard to discern the relations between them—something which, of course, is essential for understanding the development of the chapter, and of the book.

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  7. Pauline, Favorite Sister of Napoleon. Carrington, Dorothy. Dutton; New York; Cartland, Barbara. Josephine; Empress of France. Hutchinson; London; Josephine, A Biography. Translated by Denise Folliot. Not terribly charitable, however. Translated from the French by Guy Daniels. Histoire Payot; Paris; Champagnac, Jacques-Philippe. Perrin; Paris; Chevallier, Bernard.

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