August 15, 2004

Clockwork Orange/Заводной апельсин

I just recently read Clockwork Orange. I know, I know, I am behind the times and I should have read it ages ago, but I am glad that I waited.

I am happy I put reading Burgess off because, having learned some Russian, it was with a strange sense of displacement that I encountered Burgess's slang. Some of the words like korova (cow) immediately popped out at me as being Russian while others, because of Burgess's strange transliteration and my own lack of knowledge seemed nonsensical at first. Yet, on a deeper level, the word play was excellent or should I say horrorshow.

The strangest sense of displacenment came today when I was having a cup of tea with my friend in a trendy cafe with lots of books on shelves (you know the type). I picked up a copy of the Russian translation of Clockwork, whose Russian title doesn't fully translate the Cockney slang of the title and sounds rather like Factory Orange, or to put it another way an orange from a factory.

"How might one deal with the problem of translating Burgess's slang of "Slavic orgin" back into Russian?" I asked myself. As I started reading the Russian copy, I realized to my amazement that the words had been left in their English language original so that after a series of Cyrillic words you would get Burgess's slang written with Latin characters. So you would get a sentence like "у него выло nozh." Crazy! Posted by Aaron at August 15, 2004 9:39 PM

It's amazing that they still sell posters and stickers for it in trendy little stores like Hot Topic. So few people have even seen the movie, let alone read the book. I used the screenname "DieselTangerine" for five years, and only one person figured out that it was a reference to ACO. I'm reading the French translation of it right now, which is also interesting. Posted by: Ptiza on August 31, 2004 5:42 AM
Actually, the average Russian speaker is extremely unlikely to link заводной to завод "factory" instead of завод "the winding up of a clock or toy" or "the energy of a wound-up stpring." Kids get clockwork toys before they learn of factories. The proper adjective from завод "factory" would be заводской. Заводной is used colloquially to describe people prone to bursts of action. Posted by: Alexei on September 9, 2004 1:35 PM
...bursts of activity, that is. Posted by: Alexei on September 9, 2004 1:43 PM
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