Publication details [#13198]

Richard, Jean-Pierre. 2006. Traduire la 'pourriture noble' chez Steven Millhauser: composition adjectivale et décomposition stylistique [Translating the 'pourriture noble' in Steven Millhauser: adjective composition and stylistic decomposition]. In Vautherin, Béatrice. La traduction de l’adjectif composé: de la micro-syntaxe au fait de style [The translation of compound adjectives: from micro syntax to style]. Palimpsestes 19.
Publication type
Article in jnl/bk
Publication language
Title as subject


The high concentration of compound adjectives in only two pages of From the Realm of Morpheus is quite uncharacteristic of Steven Millhauser’s habit. The French language being much less given to adjectival composition than English, we have to look to other means of conveying the full meaning of these compounds. As it is, they would appear to relay an anti-Romantic stance very much in evidence earlier on in the book, with a destructively massive Byronic use of dashes in a protracted pseudo-Romantic tale of woe. Then the sudden outburst of hyphenated compound adjectives shows them to be part of the same strategy, a militant mock-Elizabethan jollity and insistent references to Greek and Latin Classics subverting Romantic exaltation. As there can be no direct translation into French of either Elizabethan English or compound adjectives, why not try and write a burlesque version of one of the Classics, drawing for example on Victor Bérard’s famous translation of The Odyssey in alexandrines? This would support Henri Meschonnic’s claim that, in literary translation, 'the proper unit is not the isolated word, it is the text as a whole'.
Source : Based on abstract in journal