Sunday, February 25, 2007

Apollo at Le Trocadero


Let's be cultural today, it's Sunday! This is a statue of the Greek god Apollo with his kithara (one of his many attributes together with the plectrum, the laurel, the sacrificial tripod, etc.). I found it at Trocadero today (on the right hand side facing it) and it's really impressive. The quote above Apollo is by French writer Paul Valéry: "« Il dépend de celui qui passe. Que je sois tombe ou trésor. Que je parle ou me taise. Ceci ne tient qu'à toi. Ami n'entre pas sans désir ». It's beautiful in French, but far too complicated to translate in English!

52 comments:

  1. Gee Eric, LOL, good thing that wasn't in London :)

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  2. I think here in the states they'd have to toss a little bit of brass over his midriff... for Puritan's sake!

    Recently there was a big flap in the book world here over the single use of the word 'scrotum'! Imagine!

    :0)

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  3. I sit at Cafe Trocadero and peak at the Tour Eiffel whenever I visit Paris. I like the picture but enjoyed the quote even more. Maybe Tomate Farcie or Michael or...can provide us with a good translation. I tend to transliterate and that is not helpful.

    What's with the word verification thingy?

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  4. I love this area and all the golden statues that line the walk. Last time I was in Paris, I took a close-up photo of these engraved words, so that I could attempt to translate when I got home. From what I could understand with my limited French it seemed beautiful, but I wasn't satisfied with what I came up with.

    PLEASE someone give us the translation.

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  5. This angle really makes it a powerfull picture...!

    I find it so funny when I read here that in some countries this kind of image would not be well accepted, people seem to worry about the most silly things. This kind of thing would never be a issue here in Rio.

    Glad you wrote down for us Paul Valéry's quote. Beautiful!

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  6. I love this statue and photo of same. I wonder how it looked before the patina covered it. It must have gleamed and shimmered in the sunlight. I emailed the quote to my French teacher...she is from Cannes...hopefully she will come up with a beautiful translation. I gave it a try but there was no beauty in my translation.
    Why the thingy at the bottom?

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  7. Bottom of the comment space...not the statue. LOL

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  8. It seems many things are beautiful in French . . .

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  9. Being that I speak no french I had to use the google language tool which isn't great, but I mustered up my other language skills and I this is what I've come up with-- until a better translation is produced:

    "It depends on that which comes to pass. Whether I be tomb or treasure. Whether I speak or conceal myself. This depends only on you. Friend does not enter without desire."

    For those wondering about the word verification, it keeps away the spam comments.

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  10. Funny, the statue looks like a rap music afficionado holding his music player on his shoulder. And you can spot hundred of them over the weekend on the Trocadero Esplanade...

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  11. Hello all. I'm going to say something that is going to make a few of you mad but so be it.

    I just watched "The Departed" for the second time...once at the theatre and tonight on DVD. It is a great film! Part of the nuance of the film is the fact that most of the characters speak with a heavy Boston accent...an accent that speaks volumes about blue collar, working-class roots. Yet...I notice that there is an option for "French language" dubbing. In other words, some other actors will do 50% of the part...the speaking part. Because of that, you will not experience the ACTUAL actors portrayals of the characters or the effects of the Bostonian accents...which speaks VOLUMES!

    Now, I am a huge Francophile...I've been to Paris twice on vacation within 8 months for God's sake. But you people MUST get a grip and meandering outside your comfort zone and stop having to have all movies dubbed into French!!! It is an exception, rather than the rule for any of you to actually watch a movie in its native tongue. Heaven forbid if you ever have to actually READ subtitles! Get over it!

    If Americans (who many are reading-averse...to my sadness) can watch foreign films with subtitles....so can you.

    We do not dub foreign movies. You should all be ashamed. And you should stop encouraged this narcisistic practice with your euros.

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  12. meander....and encouraging....but I'm sure you got my drift.

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  13. This statue really is hard to capture on camera when you know the real enormity of it all. There's another one the same size on the left side of the Trocadero, but I don't think I've ever paid attention to it (don't tend to go down from that side). I'll have to take a look nest time.

    Susan, I hate dubbed movies. I'd rather see a Chinese movie with subtitles than one that is dubbed. However, you have to ask yourself "why do they do it?" before getting too upset. It could be for the same reason the translation of this quote by Paul Valéry hasn't been made yet. Subtitles take longer and the translation can be inaccurate, whereas dubbing can get the same meaning across. At least that's my guess.

    I have tried to make a translation of this, but Eric's right, you can get the idea across, but it just doesn't seem to be fluid. Maybe Johnny's French teacher will have a good translation to provide.

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  14. Je me demandais justement moi aussi la tete qu'elle avait cette statue quand elle etait toute neuve?

    Pour le spam, t'as bien fait car c'est une vraie plaie à la fin d'etre constamment obligé d'aller nettoyer les commentaires sur des billets vieux de 2 ans. Par contre si quelqu'un connait un logiciel capable d'empecher tout seul les commentaires stupides d'apparaitre sur mon ecran, je suis preneur de suite.

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  15. Y'a même urgence d'ailleurs, en ce qui concerne ce logiciel, car c'est tres difficile de taper sur un clavier tout en étant également assis sur ses mains!

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  16. Hey everyone, not to get too far off of this post, but there was a photo by Eric on 3 February where we were trying to figure out who the artist was. Cexhib left a comment and I think he/she was right. Here's a link to other works of art by Gil Bensmana and his homepage here.

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  17. Wow, did you guys checked the link and saw Paul Valéry's full name?

    Ambroise-Paul-Toussaint-Jules Valéry

    This is not just a name, it's a statement!

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  18. Félicitations pour votre site que je découvre aujourd'hui.

    I offer the following as a fairly literal translation: "It depends on whoever sets foot here. Whether I be tomb or treasure hoard. Whether I speak or be mute. This is for you only to judge. Friend, enter not in this place without passion."

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  19. This is the translation as i see it:

    "That which happens dictates events. That i may become entombed or treasured. Whether i speak out or keep things concealed. This is held only to you. Friends do not involve themselves without desire."

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  20. Actually the last sentence, this is better since it is more personally directed: "My friend, do not involve yourself unless you desire."

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  21. I'm going out soon for my gramma's 80th year old celebration. I think this is an awesome number.

    When I woke up today I thought about gramma and found myself wondering how it must feel to wake up on your 80 year old birthday. It must be quite amazing...

    I know this is not related to the post but I just had these thoughts on my mind... must be Paul Valéry's poem atmosphere...

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  22. Lynn and Roger, those are both beautiful translations. Next time I see this sculpture I'll think differently about what I'm looking at.

    A big Happy Birthday to your "gramma" Monica!

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  23. Lynn, I think it's a good translation.

    Although translating something, specially a poem - like we once mentioned here - will somehow always "betray" what the poet meant, for actually only HE knows exactly what he meant. How can one translate one's most intrinsic feelings and thoughts? (I think Eric didn't want to be unfaithful to Valéry's words, so he chose to leave it in french) Still, a translation will always be necessary to at least give people an idea of what a poet or writer wants to say.

    And without translation we'd be all living in a Babel tower! We need to communicate!

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  24. So sweet of you Michael, thanks!

    I'll give gramma a biiiiig hug!

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  25. Tres belle estatue...
    Bello poema de Valery
    I love Trocadero as well as Paris....
    See ya again this summer Ville Lumiére and i will try to visit again Trocadero and the Museum..
    Leslie

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  26. Happy 80th Gramma!! xxx Fantastic.

    Yes of course it's always left in the mother tongue but without it as you say we'd be bereft of such beautiful literature.

    Wish i was in Paris today. Feeling a bit grim here in the UK and would love to be doing something different. I'd contact you, Michael and ask if you'd like a coffee, good conversation and see if we could drag Eric out too. I so wish i could do that today, i have a real urge. What would you say Michael?

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  27. Please get rid of the word justification thingy Eric? I do loathe them so much. Why have you done it?

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  28. @lynn: of cos to prevent spam and bots! LOL!

    DAT IS ONE IMPRESSIVE SHOT!!! beautiful statue, beautiful hues, beautiful picture! gr8 job!

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  29. Great angle ! I have a blog that looks like this: http://photography2012.blogspot.com/

    would you like to exchange links with me?

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  30. This is a great shot Eric, it really shows the magnitude of the statue. I especially like the little people around Apollo, particularly the one on his right that looks to be playing some sort of instrument.

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  31. The translations above don't convey the sentiment of the quote to me. I find they are a good attempt but choppy. Someone in the comments above expressed it well....only the author knows exactly what was meant. I hope Helene can make a smoother translation. Who knows?

    I saw some of the parade from the Carnival on TV5 this morning. It was fantastic. I especially enjoyed the huge heads of the French presidential candidates and of course, Jacque Chirac. The floats were magnificent.

    Way off the subject: We were amazed by the stage curtain at the Theatre Musicale (Chatelet) where Juliette Greco performed. Was the curtain designed by a famous artist? What does it depict? I searched the web and the library to no avail. Where is Haxo when we need him?

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  32. "Am I a tomb, or a work of art? Do I speak, or am I silent? That depends on the beholder -- it's for you to decide. Do not enter lightly, my friend, but come in desire."

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  33. Stu i bow to your superior translation. Beautifully done.

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  34. A coffee sounds good Lynn...followed by a few glasses of Cointreau peut-etre?

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  35. Well I think this is a perfect photo pour dimanche[Sunday]...as that always seems to be the day I stroll near the Trocadero while in Paris.

    In regards to our earthquake the other day..it was only a 3.5[considered minor by many]however it was on the "Hayward Fault" centered in the East Bay, and when it strikes that fault it feels like a SHOCK in San Francisco! The famous "San Francisco Earthquakes" were on the San Andreas fault which seems to roll more...and the next large one is predicted for the Hayward Fault...so, does that mean we'll be "Shocked"??? I'm not looking forward to the possibility of another large quake!

    No..Michael...nothing broke...except my nerves~~~~~~~~~~

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  36. Stu, I love your translation. It is smooth, poetic, and makes sense. Thank you for this delightful piece of work.

    I saw the Cesar's last night. I was thrilled to see Jeanne Moreau (she looks fabulous), Jude Law, and Juliette Binoche. "Little Miss Sunshine" won over "The Queen" but not for me. The Emcee should have stuck to her role. Her dancing with the male Jewish dancers didn't quite make the grade though I give her "A" for effort.

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  37. now that is a guy with brass balls

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  38. johnnyparsons...the cesar's were on TV5 Monde last night??? Really...I didn't see them on the line up for the Northern California area...hope they are on again!! Love...love, love Jeanne Moreau, and just saw "Le Petit Lieutenant" with last year's winner Nathalie Baye...Superbe!!

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  39. Thanks for all the beautiful translations! You guys are good!

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  40. Mmmm Michael perfect or what? I love Cointreau. How did you know? God i'd be there tomorrow if i could.

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  41. Hi everyone and thanks a million for your translations. I love it because they're all slithly different and all interesting.

    Sorry about this word check thing but I was receiving too much spam lately. I removed it Lynn!

    PS : hope your grandma had a nice 80th birthday Monica

    And Susan, I could not agree more (on the dubbing). I personnally think dubbing should be prohibited!!

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  42. Great shot Eric!

    And Nikon's right...it should have been in London...then it could have been included in Dive's Baps & Peepees series! LOL! ;) xo

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  43. See, Eric, Monica and i think you're the cutest. You popular man you! So glad there's no word thingy!! :)

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  44. > Stu, I love your translation....

    Thanks. I am a pro, you know, although my translations are normally of technical manuals in the Info Tech field.

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  45. Stu,
    You just gave the lie to the old adage that translators are traitors. It must be fun to switch gears from info tech to poetry.

    Greg

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  46. I think Valery referred to himself as a writer or an artist. He could be just a tomb for the passer by that does't know him or doesn't want to know him. He could be a treasure of thoughts (as you all considered him to be by making so many translations and assuming there is a real mystery behind his words).
    Either way, he first needs an attitude, the desire to want to give him value or to reject/ignore him. The same way we WANT to be friends with someone before they actually become our friends.
    All a question of choice :)

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