Sunday, February 11, 2007

McCarthyisms #6

It's been said that McCarthy has a set of crutch words: preterite, anchorite etc. and that he picks words for their cadence rather than their contribution to the overall sense of a sentence. Myers groused that "like Proulx and so many others today, McCarthy relies more on barrages of hit and miss verbiage than on careful use of just the right words."

I wonder what McCarthy sounds like translated into Spanish. Certainly when García Márquez is translated into English some of his recurring pet words are translated in different ways each time they occur on the page, and even though Gabo graciously suggested that Gregory Rabassa's translation of El Otoño del Patriarca represented an improvement on his original text, you get a far clearer sense of the aesthetic effect the author was trying to achieve with sound and rhythm from the version en castellano. (A load of critics have had a good gripe about McCarthy's use of untranslated Spanish!)

Unlike lefties like Gabo and Saramago, McCarthy appears to be a radical conservative, and this means that however private and reclusive he may wish to remain, polite, educated society as a whole is probably less interested in what he has to say; in public at least. Though one would glean very little evidence from the published works of those other supposedly progressive-minded writers that they are any less pessimistic about the human condition than he is.

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