Cardenio and Celinde

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If the goal of a translation is to take the essence of a piece, capture it’s hundreds of individual facets, and seamlessly slide it from one linguistic lens to another, then Mr. Henry Whittlesey has more than hit his mark. I cannot imagine why Cardenio and Celinde has not been formally translated to English before now, but I’m so very glad that it has, and done with such obvious care and expertise. The play is clear, the characters lose nothing by crossing culture and language, and I was able to read this piece with the same success as if I had dusted off my copy of Shakespeare or Canterbury tales. Even more impressive is that the emotions–the passion and madness and even (what might have been) flirting–is very apparent. Nothing is lost in translation, and it becomes remarkably easy to loose yourself in the story. However, there is always room for improvement, and I would offer one or two words for the editors and publishers of this piece. Let me be clear–standing alone, this play can be used in any Germanic Studies class and be successful. It was obviously written by a scholar for academia, as made apparent by such foot notes as, “The meter of the lines in the original translation shifts between 5 and 6 feet,” which might make a layman like myself pause. This is fine. But as a person who’s schooling is long behind her, this means that I read this piece without much guidance, and if it had been any less of a masterful translation, I would have had a much harder time of things. Therefore, let me request that if Cardenio and Celinde as Translated by Henry Whittlesey is ever republished, perhaps the second or third edition might benefit readers by being annotated by a literary scholar, who might offer their own opinion on why Celinde compared her agony to Alcione since Celinde was a jilted lover, and I don’t recall any myths where Posidon spurned his wife, or a German History expert who might explain the general history of Bologna as it pertained to this piece.

Ultimately though, I enjoyed Cardenio and Celinde, and will be keeping my copy among the likes of Othello, Angela’s Ashes, and One Hundred Years of Solitude.

Reviewed By:

Author Henry Whittlesey
Star Count 4/5
Format Trade
Page Count 240 pages
Publisher perypatetik
Publish Date 16-Feb-15
ISBN 9780986271502
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue November 2015
Category Classics


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