ADVANTAGES

The main point I wanted to make with this poem however is that it predates Therese only by about 20 years. It is considered highly respectable, not sentimental poetry. But such maundering on and on about bored hearts and pained hearts just doesn't go over well in English. In fact, it is nearly painful to American ears and doubt that it does a whole lot for other native English speakers. There is no way to bring the poem into English that doesn't sound over-the-top melodramatic. Many complain of a similar quality in Therese's writing and attribute it, I think wrongly, to the sentimental piety of Victorian Era French. I think rather it is a matter of the two languages at odds in taste in sensibility. Nevertheless, the end result is that Therese winds up sounding saccharine in our ears. That's a shame, as when this is filtered out, as it seems to be in Clarke's translation, even the most eccentric verbal tropes come out not sounding so bad as they might in lesser translations. For example, the whole bit about being Jesus' toy is not nearly so awful in Clarke's translation as it is in Beevers and others.

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