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Mount Orégano
Sue Burke
Medieval sex 
5th-Jan-2010 04:45 pm

I'm still translating the Spanish novel Amadis of Gaul, and still having fun. Who wouldn't enjoy translating a 13th-century sentence like this? Remember that it was meant to be read aloud to an audience:

"At this point the two damsels went to search through the castle with other women to find them something to eat, leaving Sir Galaor and the damsel, who was named Brandueta, alone, conversing as ye have heard, and as she was very beautiful and he was eager for such sustenance, before the meal was brought and the table set, together they unmade a bed that was in the hall where they were and they made the damsel a woman, which she had not been before, satisfying their desires, which had grown great during the brief time they had spent gazing at one another in the flourishing beauty of youth."

This is from Chapter 25, which I posted today. You can read it at http://amadisofgaul.blogspot.com/ or at the LiveJournal syndication http://syndicated.livejournal.com/amadisofgaul/

— Sue Burke

5th-Jan-2010 04:04 pm (UTC)
Tsk, tsk. Those impetuous kids.
5th-Jan-2010 07:45 pm (UTC)
Galaor rarely thinks thing through.
5th-Jan-2010 04:23 pm (UTC)
How awesome is that? That is awesome indeed!
5th-Jan-2010 07:39 pm (UTC)
In my translation, I tried to keep the whole sentence together, even though long sentences work easily in Spanish and not so easily in English; often I have to break things up just so it makes sense in English. But in this case, the author worked hard to create an entertaining arc, starting with the mundane and ending with purple prose. It's awesome.
5th-Jan-2010 05:37 pm (UTC)
I imagine there was much guffawing and tittering when it was originally read aloud. People haven't changed, and much of Amadis is quite funny. Well, it's also exciting and sad and everything else besides. I think that sentence is meant to be funny, however, what with them jumping into bed before lunch.
5th-Jan-2010 07:34 pm (UTC)
Galaor is a comic character. The entire chapter is funny if you can handle comic violence and dismemberment. Damsels always find Galaor irresistible and want to repay him for rescuing them by satisfying their joint desires.

I would love to read that out loud.
5th-Jan-2010 05:40 pm (UTC) - Hmm...
Did it really say "THEY made" rather than "HE made" ...? Because that would be so cool. Usually the phrasing implies that the male partner made the virgin into a woman -- as if she had nothing to do with the process!
5th-Jan-2010 07:31 pm (UTC) - Re: Hmm...
The text is clear that it's something they both do: "descompusieron ellos ambos una cama que en el palacio era donde estavan, haziendo dueña aquella que de antes no lo era, satisfaziendo a sus desseos..." The syntax is a little different, naturally, but yes, it was a joint project.

Another fun thing about this book is that sometimes what people believe is so weird.
6th-Jan-2010 07:11 pm (UTC) - Re: Hmm...
Oh, and what I meant by "weird" is "different from the way we think now." Sometimes it's far more reasonable than 21st century thought.
5th-Jan-2010 10:53 pm (UTC)
I just love 'they unmade a bed.' It's a perfect phrase - everything is left to the reader's imagination, and at the same time, nothing is.

I don't comment on these (I find blogger a royal pain), but I love these posts and read them with great pleasure.
6th-Jan-2010 07:09 pm (UTC)
Thanks. Though we don't know who wrote the book, it's really well written -- which makes it easier to translate, as well as a pleasure.
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