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Old 04-26-2006   #2
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Re: Gaunt Immortality In Black And Gold

Immediately before this quoted poem the main character in "The Lost Art of Twilight" Andre' says, "Yes, I learned to quote my French poets." Then the poem follows...

Gaunt immortality in black and gold,
Wreathed consoler hideous to behold.
The beautiful lie of a mother's womb,
The pious trick - for it is the tomb!

So does this quote belong to a French poet or is it of Ligotti's creation? Does anyone know?

"Too much of anything is bad, but too much good whiskey is barely enough." Mark Twain
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Old 04-26-2006   #3
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Re: Gaunt Immortality In Black And Gold

Eureka!

I've found it! The poem belongs to Paul Valery from his poem "The Cemetery by the Sea". Although the English translation I found by Charles Guenther differs slightly; however, the meaning is the same.

"Frail black and gilded immortality,
O consolation crowned atrociously,
believing death maternal in their guile--
the sacred artifice and lovely lie."

So now the question is; is the first quote Ligotti's translation?

"Too much of anything is bad, but too much good whiskey is barely enough." Mark Twain
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Old 04-26-2006   #4
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Re: Gaunt Immortality In Black And Gold

Quote Originally Posted by The New Nonsense";p=&quot View Post
Eureka!

I've found it! The poem belongs to Paul Valery from his poem "The Cemetery by the Sea". Although the English translation I found by Charles Guenther differs slightly; however, the meaning is the same.

"Frail black and gilded immortality,
O consolation crowned atrociously,
believing death maternal in their guile--
the sacred artifice and lovely lie."

So now the question is; is the first quote Ligotti's translation?
Great detective work, Nonsense! I had originally assumed that Tom had created the snippet from scratch, but upon showing him a TeeLO shirt prototype which included this quotation Tom was quick to reply with the following:
Quote Originally Posted by Thomas Ligotti
I should tell you that the stanza on one of the T-shirts from The Lost Art of Twilight is my translation from a poem by Paul Valery, who is also obliquely reference later in the story. Since the original is in the public domain, there shouldn't be any problem is using my translation. When the story first appeared in Fantasy Tales, or wherever, I used a translation by, I think, Richard Howard. I did my own translation of the stanza for SOADD to avoid copyright infringement. It's actually only four lines from a six-line stanza in Valery's Le cimitiere marin. Here's the original:
Maigre immortalité noire et dorée,
Consolatrice affreusement laurée,
Qui de la mort fais un sein maternel,
Le beau mensonge et la pieuse ruse!
And later, upon further discussion:
Quote Originally Posted by Thomas Ligotti
I trashed it up to work in with the themes of Lost Art of Twilight. No translator would ever render Valery like that.
Since this is a clarification, I don't think Tom would mind me quoting his responses.

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Old 04-26-2006   #5
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Re: Gaunt Immortality In Black And Gold

That was a good find, New Nonsense. I was curious as to whether or not Paul Valery had influenced TL's work. The Lost Art of Twilight is a story that I have not read in a long time. I'll have to reread it soon. I agree that the Decadents played a significant role in influencing Ligotti's work. TL seems to like to try his hand at French translations: Aloysius Bertrand, Gaston Danville, and I'm guessing Maurice Rollinat.(I came across a Rollinat poem in Grimoire Magazine that does not cite a translator. I think I'll post it.) TL also likes quite a few authors who wrote in French. In addition to the ones mentioned above, he likes Baudelaire, Celine, Cioran, and Beckett (who wrote both in English and French.) I wonder if French is a second language for Tom?

I never considered copyright infringement as a reason why quotes were dropped when a story went from small press mag to book form. I also find it interesting that TL would slant a translation to fit a story. That is a literary technique that I have not encountered before, to the best of my diminishing memory. Maybe that is why TL tactfully refrained from citing Valery outright.
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