Other Voices. Other Rooms Essay

Other Voices, Other Rooms. Chapter 8 Truman Capote Randolph dipped his brush into a little water-filled vinegar jar, and tendrils of purple spread like some fast-growing vine. Don’t smile, my dear,” he said. “I am not a photographer. On the other hand, I could scarcely be called an artist; not, that is, if you define artist as one who sees, takes and purely transmits: always for me there is the problem of distortion, and I never paint so much what I see as what I think: for example, some years ago, this was in Berlin, I drew a boy, not much older than yourself, and yet in my picture he looked more aged than Jesus Fever, and whereas in reality his eyes were childhood blue, the eyes I saw were bleary and lost.

And what I saw was indeed the truth, for little Kurt, that was his name, turned out to be a perfect horror, and tried twice to murder me…exhibiting both times, I must say, admirable ingenuity. Poor child, I wonder whatever became of him…or, for that matter, me. Now that is a most interesting question: whatever became of me? ” As if to punctuate his sentence he kept, all the while he talked, thrusting the brush inside the jar, and the water, continually darkening, had at its center, like a hidden flower, a rope of red. “Very well, sit back, we’ll relax a minute now. Sighing, Joel glanced about him. It was the first time he’d been in Randolph’s room; after two hours, he still could not quite take it in, for it was so unlike anything he’d ever known before: faded gold and tarnished silk reflecting in ornate mirrors, it all made him feel as though he’d eaten too much candy. Large as the room was, the barren space in it amounted to no more than one foot; carved tables, velvet chairs, candelabras, a Ger man music box, books and paintings seemed to spill into each other, as if the objects in a flood had floated through the windows and skunk here.

Behind his liver-shaped desk unframed foreign postcards crusted the walls; six of these, a series from Japan, were for Joel an education, even though to some extent he knew already the significance of what they depicted. Like a museum exhibit, there was spread out on a long, black, tremendously heavy table a display consisting in part of antique dolls, some with missing arms, legs, some without heads, other whose bead-eyes stared glass-blank though their innards, straw and sawdust, showed through open wounds; all however, were costumed, and exquisitely, in a variety of velvet, lace, linen.

Now set in the center of this table was a little photograph in a silver frame so elaborate as to be absurd; it was a cheap photograph, obviously taken at a carnival or amusement park, for the persons concerned, three men and a girl, were posed against a humorous backdrop of cross-eyed baboons and leering kangaroos; though he was thinner in this scene and more handsome, Joel, without much effort, recognized Randolph, and another of the men looked similar too… was it his father? Certainly the face was only mildly reminiscent of the man across the hall.

The third man, taller than his companions, cut an amazing figure; he was powerfully made and, even in so faded a print, very dark, almost Negroid; his eyes, narrow and sly and black glittered beneath brow this as mustaches, and his lips, fuller than a woman’s were caught in a cocky smile which intensified the dashing rather vaudeville effect on a straw hat he wore, a cane he carried. He had his arm around the girl, and she, an anemic faunlike creature, was gazing up at him, with the completest adoration. Oh, yes,” said Randolph, stretching his legs, lighting a mentholated cigarette, “do not take it seriously, what you see here: it’s only a joke played on myself by myself…it amuses and horrifies…a rather gaudy grave, you might say. There is no daytime in this room, nor night, the seasons are changeless here, and the years, and when I die, if indeed I haven’t already, then let me be dead drunk and curled as in my mother’s womb, in the warm blood of darkness. Wouldn’t that be an ironic finale for one who deep in his goddamned soul sought the sweetly clean-limbed life? read and water, a simple roof to share with someone beloved, nothing more. ” Smiling, smoothing the back of his hair, he put out the cigarette and picked up this brush. “Inasmuch as I was born dead how ironic that I should die at all; yes, born dead, literally, the midwife was perverse enough to slap me into life. Or did she? ”

He looked at Joel in an amused way. “Answer me: did she? ” “Did she what? ” said Joel, for, as usual, he did not understand: Randolph seemed always to be carrying on in an unfathomable vocabulary, secret dialogues with someone unseen. Randolph” he said, “please, don’t be mad with me: it’s only that you say things in such a funny way. ” “Never mind,” said Randolph “all difficult music must be heard more than once. And if what I tell you now sounds senseless, it will in retrospect seem far too clear; and when this happens, when those flowers in your eyes wither, irrecoverable as they are, why, though no tears helped dissolve my own cocoon, I shall weep a little for you. Rising, going to a huge baroque bureau, he dabbed on lemon cologne, combed his polished curls, and posturing somewhat, studied himself in a mirror; while duplicating him in all essentials, the mirror, full-length and of French vintage, seemed to absorb his color, to pare and change his features: the man in the mirror was not Randolph, but whatever personality imagination desired him to resemble, and he, as if corroborating such a theory, said: “They can romanticize us so, mirrors, and that is their secret: what a subtle torture it would be to destroy all the mirrors in the world: where then could we look for reassurances of our identities?

I tell you, my dear, Narcissus was no egotist…he was merely another of us who in our unshatterable isolation, recognized, on seeing his reflection, the one beautiful comrade, the only inseparable love…poor Narcissus, possibly the only human who was ever honest on this point. ” A shy rap at the door interrupted. “Randolph,” said Amy, “is that boy in there with you? ” “We’re busy. Go away, go away…” “But Randolph,” she whined, “don’t you think he ought to come and read to his father? ” “I said: go away. ”

Joel let his face reveal neither relief now gratitude: to obscure emotion was becoming for him a natural reflex; it helped him sometimes not to feel at all. Still there was one thing he could not do, for there is no known way of making the mind clear-blank, and whatever he obliterated in daytime rose up at night in dreams to sleep beside him with an iron embrace. As for reading to his father, he’d made an odd discovery: Mr. Samson never really listened: a list of prices recited from a Sears Roebuck interested him, Joel had found by experiment, as much as any wild-west story. Before it happened,” said Randolph his seat, “before then, Ed was very different…very sporting, and, if your standards are not too distinguished, handsome (there in that photograph you can see for yourself), but, to be truthful, I never much liked him, quite the contrary; for one thing, his owning Pepe, or being, that is, his manager, complicated our relations. Pepe Alvarez in the one with the straw hat, and the girl, well, this is Dolores. It is not of course a very accurate picture: so innocent: who could imagine that only two days after it was taken one of us fell down a flight of stairs with a bullet in his back? Otras Voces, Otros Ambitos. Capitulo 8 Truman Capote Randolph hundio su pincel en una pequena jarra de vinagre llena de agua y unos tentaculos de color purpura se difundieron como una enredadera de rapido crecimiento. “No me sonrias, mi querido,” dijo Randolph. “No soy un fotografo. Por otra parte, a penas se me podria considerar un artista siempre y cuando un artista sea una persona que observa, toma y simplemente transmite: siempre he tenido un problema con la distorsion, y nunca pinto tanto como veo ni tanto como pienso.

Por ejemplo, hace unos anos (esto paso en Berlin) pinte a un chico, no mucho mayor que tu, y, sin embargo, en mi pintura, parecia mas viejo que Jesus Fever Mientras que sus ojos, en realidad, eran del azul de la infancia, los ojos que yo veia eran borrosos y perdidos. Y lo que yo veia era, en efecto, la verdad, porque el pequeno Kurt, asi se llamaba, resulto ser un perfecto horror e intento asesinarme dos veces…demostrando en la dos ocasiones, he de admitirlo, un ingenio admirable. Pobre nino, me pregunto que habra sido de el…o, mejor aun, de mi. Bueno esta es una cuestion interesante: ? que ha sido de mi? Como si fuese a puntuar sus frases, mantenia el pincel hundido mientras hablaba, y el agua que se oscurecia cada vez mas, tenia en el centro una especie de flor oculta, una cuerda roja. “Muy bien, ponte comodo, descansaremos un minuto. ” Suspirando, Joel miro a su alrededor. Era la primera vez que se encontraba en la habitacion de Randolph; despues de dos horas, seguia sin poder asimilar lo distinto que era aquello de todo lo que habia conocido hasta entonces: oro descolorido y sedas sin brillo se reflejaban en recargados espejos. Le hacia sentirse como si hubiera comido demasiadas golosinas.

A pesar de lo grande que era la habitacion, no tenia mas que unos treinta centimetros de espacio libre; mesas esculpidas, sillas forradas de terciopelo, candelabros, una caja alemana de musica, libros y cuadros, parecian derramarse los unos sobre los otros, como si los objetos arrastrados por una inundacion hubieran entrado por las ventanas y se hubieran hundido ahi. Detras del escritorio con forma de higado, las paredes estaban cubiertas de postales extranjeras sin marcos. Seis de ellas, una serie de Japon, eran para Joel una leccion, aunque hasta cierto punto, el ya conocia el significado de lo que mostraban.

Como en una exposicion de museo, habia, sobre una mesa larga, negra y tremendamente pesada, una coleccion de munecas antiguas, algunas de ellas sin brazos, piernas, algunas sin cabeza, otras cuyos ojos de cuentas miraban inexpresivamente hacia sus entranas de paja y serrin que se dejaban ver a traves de sus heridas abiertas. De todas formas, todas ellas estaban vestidas exquisitamente con una variedad de terciopelo, encaje y lino… En el centro de esa mesa habia un pequena fotografia en un marco de plata tan recargado que resultaba absurdo.

Era una fotografia barata, seguramente tomada en un carnaval o en un parque de atracciones, porque las personas que aparecian en ella, tres hombre y una chica, posaban delante de un telon humoristico son babuinos bizcos y canguros que miraban con malicia. Aunque en esa foto estaba mas delgado y mas guapo, Joel, sin ningun tipo de esfuerzo, reconocio a Randolph, y otros de los hombres tambien le parecia familiar… ? Era su padre? Sin duda el rostro de recordaba vagamente al hombre que se encontraba al otro lado del pasillo.

El tercer hombre, mas alto que sus companeros, tenia una figura esplendida, de complexion fuerte, e, incluso en una fotografia tan descolorida, estaba muy moreno, casi negroide. Sus ojos estrechos, astutos y negros brillaban bajo unas cejas tan espesas como bigotes, y sus labios, mas carnosos que los de una mujer, habian sido sorprendidos en una sonrisa arrogante que intensificaba la elegancia, mas bien el efecto vodevil del sombrero de paja y del baston que llevaba. Tenia uno de sus brazos alrededor de la chica, y ella, una criatura anemica y faunesca, e miraba con completa admiracion. Oh, si,” dijo Randolph estirando las piernas y encendiendo un cigarrillo mentolado, “no te tomes tan en serio todo lo que veas aqui: no es mas que una broma que me hago a mi mismo. Me resulta divertida y me horroriza al mismo tiempo…es mas bien una tumba bastante hortera. En esta habitacion no ni hay dias, ni noches. Las estaciones del ano no cambian, ni los anos tampoco. Y cuando muera, si es que no he muerto todavia, dejame morir borracho y encogido, como si estuviera en el utero de mi madre, en la caliente sangre de la oscuridad. ?No seria eso un final ironico para uno que en lo mas profundo de su alma busco una vida dulce y tranquila? gua y pan, un simple techo para compartir con un ser querido y nada mas. ” Sonriendo, alisandose el cabello de la nuca, apago en cigarrillo y volvio a coger el pincel. “Ya que he nacido muerto, ? que ironico que tenga que morir! Si, he nacido muerto, literalmente.

LA comadrona ha sido suficientemente perversa como para darme unas palmadas para traerme a la vida. ?Lo hizo, no? ” Miro a Joel distraidamente. “Contestame: ? lo hizo? ” “? Hacer el que? ” dijo Joel porque como de costumbre no le entendia: Randolph parecia estar siempre hablando en secreto, usando un vocabulario ininteligible, con alguien a quien solo el podia ver. Randolph” continuo “por favor, no te enfades conmigo, pero es que dices las cosas de un modo tan raro. ” “No te preocupes” respondio Randolph “toda la musica dificil ha de ser escuchada mas de una vez. Y si lo que te estoy diciendo te parece ahora carente de sentido, cuando mires hacia atras te parecera muy claro. Y cuando esto ocurra, cuando las flores de tus ojos se marchitaran de forma irrecuperable, aunque las lagrimas no me han ayudado a disolver mi propia capa protectora, derramare algunas para ti. Levantandose, dirigiendose hacia una enorme comoda barroca se puso un poco de colonia de limon, se peino los brillantes rizos, y posando un poco, se observo en el espejo; si bien reflejaba todos sus detalles mas esenciales, el espejo de cuerpo entero y de fabricacion francesa parecia absorberle el color, reducir y cambiar sus rasgos. El hombre del espejo no era Randolph, sino cualquier otra personalidad a la cual su imaginacion deseaba parecerse, y el, como corroborando esa teoria, dijo: “Los espejos pueden romantizarnos, y ese es su secreto ? ue sutil tortura seria destruir todos los espejos del mundo! ?Donde podrian entonces, nuestras personalidades buscar un consuelo? Te digo, querido mio, que Narciso no era ningun egocentrico…era simplemente uno de nosotros, que en su indestructible aislamiento, reconocio, al ver su reflejo, el unico amigo hermoso, el unico amor inseparable ? Pobre Narciso! Fue posiblemente el unico ser humano que se mostro honesto en ese sentido. ” Un timido golpe en la puerta les interrumpio. “Randolph,” dijo Amy “? Ese esta chico contigo? ” “Estamos ocupados.

Vete…vete…” “Pero Randolph,” se quejo ella “? no crees que deberia ir a leerle algo a su padre? ” “Te he dicho que te vayas. ” Joel no dejo que su rostro expresara alivio o gratitud. Ocultar sus emociones se habia convertido para el en un reflejo natural; a veces le ayudaba a no sentir absolutamente nada. Aun asi, habia una cosa que no podia hacer todavia, porque no se conoce aun la forma de dejar la mente en blanco, y, cualquier cosa que borraba durante el dia, volvia por la noche, en forma de suenos, para dormir a su lado en un abrazo forzado.

En cuanto a leerle a su padre, habia hecho un extrano descubrimiento: realmente el senor Samson nunca escuchaba: Joel descubrio en un experimento que una lista de precios recitada de una catalogo de Sears Roebuck le interesaba tanto como un cuento del salvaje Oeste. “Antes de esto sucediera,” dijo Randolph acomodandose en su silla, “antes de eso, Ed era muy diferente…muy justo, y, si tus canones no son demasiado elevados, guapo (lo puedes ver tu mismo en aquella foto), pero, a decir verdad, nunca me ha gustado demasiado. Todo lo contrario; en primer lugar, por ser dueno de Pepe, o, mas bien por ser su manager.

Eso complico nuestras relaciones. Pepe Alvarez es el del sombrero de paja, y la chica, bueno, ella es Dolores. Evidentemente no es una fotografia muy precisa: ? tan inocente! ?Quien hubiera pensado que solo dos dias despues de su creacion uno de nosotros caeria por unas escaleras con una bala en la espalda? ” Analysis Other Voices, Other Rooms is a novel written by Truman Capote in 1948. Its major theme is homosexuality, a topic considered taboo in American work prior to the arrival of contemporary fiction. In particular, Other Voices, Other Rooms means the declaration of principles through a different perspective.

Translating a fragment from this novel was a challenging process since Truman Capote’s works are not very easy to read, and also because I chosen to translate the opening fragment from Chapter 8, in which Randolph has a conversation with Joel, and as this novel itself says it, Randolph uses a particular vocabulary; as he were talking with someone who can only be seen by himself. The first translation method I used was the Modulation, translating the third sentence of the chapter “Don’t smile, my dear…I am not a photographer”. I translated this sentence as “No me sonrias, querido…No soy un fotografo”.

I inserted the object “me” in the translated sentence because I wanted to point out Randolph’s effect on the facts, Randolph‘s influence on Joel and his intervention in the development of Joel’s story. I strongly believe that this novel has more than one interpretation. The first one would be the social one (especially 1950’s society), and according to it homosexuality is a mental issue and it needs a treatment, and, the second one would be Randolph’s (and those who don’t see homosexuality as a mental disorder or a danger for the society) perspective.

When it came to translate this fragment I picked Randolph’s perspective, and I translated the sentence as something that Randolph says to Joel, not as something that society would “say” towards the concept of homosexuality; instead of generalizing, I decided to personalize the sentence and apply it to Joel’s situation. By the object “me” I am implying that Randolph himself admits that he cannot stay apart from the development of the story as a photographer would, and that’s why he wouldn’t want Joel to smile at him , since he wouldn’t help Joel to discover himself.

The next expression which took me some time to translate was: “a rather gaudy grave, you might say”. Finally I translated it as “es mas bien una tumba bastante hortera”. Once again, I decided to use to the modulation method in order to translate this expression. Instead of translating “you might say” as “podrias decir”, this would be a literal translation; I simply translated it as “es”. Since I translated the word “rather” as “mas bien”, I thought it would be advisable to add the adjective “bastante” to qualify the adjective “hortera”, so apart from the modulation I used another translation method, called addition in order to complete the escription that Randolph made for his own room. The problem came when I realized that the word “rather” could stand for “mas bien” and “hortera” at the same time and I had to decide which of this words or group of words should work as the addition. I finally decided for the adjective “bastante” because I believe that it is useful in order to complete the description that Randolph made, but not necessary in order to understand the sentence. The third sentence I would like to comment in this essay is: “Who could imagine that only two days after it was taken…? which I translated as “? Quien hubiera pensado que solo dos dias despues de su creacion? ” When it came to translate this sentence I used both modulation and transposition methods, because instead of translating the word “imagine” as “imaginar”, I decided to translate it as “pensar”. In order to stick with Truman Capote’s sophisticated style I decided to translate the simple conditional “could imagine” as the past perfect subjunctive “hubiera pensado”.

Another way of not sacrificing the author’s elaborated style and staying faithful to Randolph “secret dialogues” and special vocabulary I translated the expression “it was taken” as simply “su creacion”. This third sentence took me some time to translate as well and I had to consult a Spanish version of the novel in which the expression “it was taken” was translated as “tomada”, but I decided to discard that translation since I didn’t think it maintained the author’s style nor Randolph very characteristic vocabulary.

To sum up I would like to mention that in cases in which I’m really interested I maintaining the author’s style and some character’s features, I prefer to use, in order to translate a work, the methods of modulation and transposition. I find then very helpful when it comes to make little changes in the translation and yet stay faithful to what the author’s trying to express. Bibliography: 1. Capote, Truman. Other Voices, Other Rooms. New York: Signet, 1963. Print. . Capote, Truman. Otras Voces, Otros ambitos. Barcelona: Edhasa, 1970. Print. 3. Galimberti, Jarman Beatriz. , Roy Russell, Carol Styles. Carvajal, and Jane Horwood. The Oxford Spanish Dictionary: Spanish-English/English-Spanish. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2003. Print. 4. “English to French, Italian, German & Spanish Dictionary – WordReference. com. ” English to French, Italian, German & Spanish Dictionary – WordReference. com. N. p. , n. d. Web. 11 Jan. 2013.


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