Jules Verne Forum




From: <rmiller~at~crosslink.net>
Date: Fri, 29 Mar 1996 12:29:45 -0500
To: jvf~at~leeor.technion.ac.il

>Bonjour, Good Morning or Evening, Guten Tag...
>Norman Wolcott wants to know the explanation of this strange title.
>When a book is translated into another language (here with JV from
>french to english and/or american), the title has to be translated too.
>As for many american translations, the title translations were poor,
>when not criminal...
>The Children of Captain Grant became In Search of the Castaways,
>Hector Servadac became Off the Comet. In some cases, the marketing
>reasons were dominant... In some other cases, it was difficult, when not
>impossible, to translate a "jeu de mots" (I don't know if the french
>expression has a translation into english) in the title into another
>language. HECTOR SERVADAC and SANS DESSUS DESSOUS belong to this last
>category :
>- HECTOR SERVADAC : if you write SERVADAC from right to left to get
> CADAVRES which means corpses (dead bodies of human beings).
>- SANS DESSUS DESSOUS : even in french the expression does not exist
> and usually is written SENS DESSUS DESSOUS, which means "Topsy
> Turvy". But Verne himself wrote a letter which was an answer to
> a journalist of Amiens who found that the title of the recently
> published new vernian novel had a spelling mistake ! And Verne
> explained that SANS has to be written with an A and not with an E.
> Why ? Verne wanted to say SANS DESSUS ni DESSOUS, which means
> "Without Top nor Bottom". Litterally translated SANS DESSUS DESSOUS
> would be WITHOUT TOP BOTTOM, which does'nt make any sense.
> Regards, Freundliche Gruesse, meilleures salutations,

And sometimes titles are improved...I've always thought that "Off on a
Comet" and "In Search of the Castaways" were far superior to the
originals--and that "Clipper of the Clouds" at least gives "Robur the
Conqueror" a run for its money!


Received on Fri 29 Mar 1996 - 19:31:07 IDT

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