Sunday Salon: ARC’s and Fairies

I’m in the midst of an Advanced Review Copy (ARC) which is news only because I swore I wouldn’t take ARC’s when I started this new blog.  I didn’t make a public declaration of principles or anything, just a promise to myself.

I  have not sought out any ARC’s, but one was offered by a book tour group I worked with many times at Ready When You Are, C.B.  They know my reading tastes; so I said yes when they offered it to me.

Yesterday, when I started the book, I was surprised to find it’s a memoir, a genre I don’t pursue.  It’s about a 15-year-old who discovers he has type 1 diabetes about the same time he realizes that he is gay during the summer of 1988.  It’s been an enjoyable read so far, breezy and humorous.  Like reading someone’s blog, but not in a bad way.

I don’t think this ARC will open the flood gates, but I’m glad I took it and I may take more.


At school, my classes are deep into rehearsing  scenes from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which they’ll be presenting a week from Tuesday.  Midsummer has not been the big success it usually is this year.  The administration may be changing the way the GATE class is configured next year, returning it to the way it used to be with all of the GATE students in one class instead of spreading them out among several.   This year my classes contain a  wide range of reading levels from highly fluent to struggling,  Shakespeare in the original is really too difficult for struggling readers at grade 7.   So if the configuration isn’t changed next year, I”ll have to reconsider using Midsummer.  I’ve no idea what going to happen.  The administration does not consult me on how the GATE program is to be configured.

Every year that I’ve done Midsummer, I’ve found more to appreciate.  I don’t think I found anything very deep this time around but I do have two things to talk about here today.  One to talk about and one to confess, really.

First is the line “Bottom, thou art translated!” which one of the mechanicals shouts at Bottom after he has been transformed into an ass.  I think this is a wonderful play on words, this use of ‘translated.’  I don’t imagine that Shakespeare was faced with many issues of translation regarding his own work, but he must have been aware of all the translation that was going on in his day, translating classic works into English, translating Dante and other writers, certainly translating the Bible.

In Midsummer Bottom is changed into an ass, but what the audience sees on stage is never really an ass in its true form, nor is it a man in his.  Instead, Bottom always ends up looking like a strange Island of Dr. Moreau type monster, neither man nor animal.  Something in between.

Is the same true for a translation?  Is a translated piece of literature neither really Latin nor truly English?  Is translation always some sort of monster in between?

Just when I was feeling pleased with myself, having come up with something that might really make a good grad-school mid-term paper, I watched an old clip of the Animaniacs doing the closing speech from Midsummer.

“Give us your hands if we be friends,

And Robin will restore amends.”

For years I have read this line as Robin asking everyone to hold hands in a sort of metaphorical kumbaya.  I always liked it, though I never expected anyone to actually join hands.  I’ve seen many plays where the cast all held hands together on stage during the final curtain call, so it makes perfect sense for an actor to  invite the audience to join in.  After all, we all have to be in on the game for a play like this to work.

But all it really means is that Robin wants everyone to applaud.

Darn Animainiacs.

8 thoughts on “Sunday Salon: ARC’s and Fairies

  1. Animaniacs! I love them!

    I had also quietly given up ARCs last year but am now quietly picking them up again. There’s nothing in particular that made me decide to do it, other than the fact that I was sort of missing the conversation around books as they’re coming out. I got several e-galleys a few weeks ago, but so far, the ones I started haven’t worked for me, so I didn’t read enough to warrant a review. But I’ll probably keep trying for a while–until I get tired of the new stuff again.

  2. I own so many books that I’m trying to be more picky about what ARCs I request. That’s my intent, at least. In practice, well…

    I’m fascinated by translations, mainly because the translator inevitably brings himself and his intentions into the work. I came across an article a couple weeks ago comparing a few passages of Beowulf in the Heaney translation and the new Tolkien translation. The Tolkien version is elevated, grand. The Heaney translation feels more like I’m being told the story by a salty Dane over a tankard of mead. Which is truer to the source? *shrug* It’s great fun to read them both.

    1. That must be a “new” old Tolkien translation. I loved the Heaney version. There’s no way I could ever read the original, which is true for most translations, almost all of them, so I’m very glad to have translators out there working. But I do wonder what has been lost.

  3. There is probably a big literature on this, but perhaps ‘translated’ may also play with the ancient ass transformation stories such as Apuleius’ Metamorphoses [a.k.a. The Golden Ass] which would have been well known in Shakespeare’s day. Bottom/Ass – it’s a great joke and also about translation… ;-).

  4. I’ll have to look up the Apuleius story. Pyramus and Thisbe come from Ovid, so maybe Shakespeaere was working with multiple classic sources in Midsummer.

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