“Remembrance of Things Past”: A Shakeskoan

Hey all you Shakespeare lovers out there! Here’s another little taste of Big Bill’s birthday coverage to tide you over until Miss Fickle can get a moment to herself next week. (This week was Little Fickle’s spring break and featured a visit from Grammy Fickle, which combined to make Miss Fickle a very frazzled girl indeed.) Anyway, here’s the introduction of a new feature called a Shakeskoan–that is, according to my bastardized, hybridized, unabashedly Western definition, a question about Shakespeare that:
a) one could go on analyzing forever;
b) one might ultimately deem unanswerable; and
c) approaches the heart of Shakespeare’s massive, yet somehow invisible, literary and cultural influence.

So get ready to exercise your Shakes-brain, because here’s a doozy of a riddle that I just happened upon when I was looking over a couple of online sonnet projects that have been launched in honor of Bill’s big 450. (More on those later…)

Introducing our first Shakeskoan:

Charles Scott Moncrieff, the first translator of Marcel Proust’s epic masterwork A la recherche du temps perdu, took a look at that title and decided to render it in English as Remembrance of Things Past, an allusion to Shakespeare’s Sonnet 30. Why did Moncrieff do this, when a much more accurate translation of the title–and one that’s used in recent editions of Proust–is In Search of Lost Time? Why would a translator slap a Shakespearean title on a French author’s autobiographical work?

Some materials for your consideration…

Text of Sonnet 30
http://www.shakespeare-online.com/sonnets/30.html

An article from The Public Domain Review (which is more substantial that the publication’s name would suggest)
http://publicdomainreview.org/2013/11/13/lost-in-translation-proust-and-scott-moncrieff/

A handy summary of the issue from a blog called How Books Got Their Titles
http://garydexter.blogspot.com/2009/06/103-remembrance-of-things-past-by.html

Okay, kids! Have at it!

Any thoughts? Rants? Questions? Apathetic dismissals? Post them here!

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