Margaret Fuller, Critic: Writings from the New-York Tribune, 1844-1846

By Judith Mattson Bean; Joel Myerson | Go to book overview
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[Review of George Sand,Consuelo]

We greet with delight the conclusion of this translation which will make Consuelo accessible to the American reader. To the translator it has been a labor of love, the honorable and patient employment of leisure hours, and accordingly shows a very superior degree of fidelity and spirit to those which are undertaken for money, often by people who are not prepared for the task, but forced to by their necessities, and who feel that they must go through it in the shortest possible time. Among such we must notice one from Dumas now going the rounds where the translator is even so ignorant as to use the verb learn instead of teach, a vulgarity very common among the worse educated people of this country, and which they should not be exposed to find authenticated by any kind of book. It is, however, no matter how the scene painting of Dumas is rendered, compared with the admirable style ofnSand, the best living French writer, and in some respects the best living prose writer. We see with pleasure unusual justice done to her excellence in such respects in one of the leading English Reviews of this season.1 Here we find an admirably translated passage which we give as presenting in brief compass a specimen of the bold clear eye, the imagination all compact, and great descriptive powers of the author:

Striking into a wild gorge, Leonce walked rapidly to relieve his over-excited and tumultuous feelings.

His ill-humor soon melted away before the charms of nature. Pursuing a winding path that skirted the bases of the cliffs, he came to the margin of a miniature lake, or rather to a crystaline disk of water, deep-set, and almost hidden in a hollow cone of granite. The deep pool, gleaming like the azure sky and golden clouds it reflected seemed the very emblem of quiet happiness. Leonce sat down on the bank in a recess of the rock, which formed a flight of

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1
The extract translated from Tévérino (1845) is from “George Sand's Recent Novels” in the April 1846 Foreign Quarterly Review.
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