Isle of the Dead

Artists in all fields are inspired by each other.

One of the most famous examples of creativity enriching creativity involves, The Isle of the Dead.

Arnold Böcklin (Swiss Symbolist painter, 1827-1901)  painted five versions between 1880 and 1886.   All renderings depict  a rowboat arriving at a seawall.  In the bow, stands a figure clad in white.  

Böcklin would not elaborate on its meaning, only saying,  ” It is a dream picture: it must produce such a stillness that one would be awed by a knock on the door.”

Many have interpretated the white-clad figure as Charon, leading human souls into the Greek underworld.

File:Isola dei Morti IV (Bocklin).jpg

In 1907,  upon viewing the painting, Sergei Rachmaninoff began composing a tone poem in its name.  The work, now considered a classic of late Russian Romanticism, was finished the following year.

In 1945,  Val Lewton produced a classic horror film with the same title.  The script, written by Ardel Wray, was inspired by the painting, and involves a group of quarrantined islanders who begin to die, one by one.

German Studies with Agatha Christie

It’s been a little while since I’ve posted on my German studies, so I thought I’d share a little bit of the latest novel (der Roman) that I’m reading:  Agatha Christie’s Blausäure (prussic acid).

This is one of the few Christie’s that I’ve never read before in the original (Sparkling Cyanide).  So it’s truly a first adventure.

The backcover reads:  “Es sollte eine gelungene Geburtstagsfeier für die junge Erbin werden.  Doch nicht nur die Errinerung an den Selbstmord der Schwester trübt die Gesellschaft, auch der Zweifel, ob nicht doch einer der Anwesenden das Zyankali in den Champagner mischte…”

general translation:  “It should have been a harmonious birthday celebration for the young heiress.  But not only the memory of the suicide of her sister dims the party, also the doubts, whether or not anyone present mixed cyanide into the campagne.”

The novel begins:

Iris Marle dachte über ihre Schwester Rosemary nach.

Fast ein Jahr lang hatte sie versucht, Rosemary aus ihrem Gedächtnis zu verbannen.  Sie hatte sich nicht erinnern wollen.

Es war zu schmerzlich- zu grauenvoll!

Rosemarys blau angelaufenes Gesicht, die gekrümmten Finger, die nach ihr gegriffen hatten…”

General translation:  “Iris Marle thought more about her sister Rosemary.

For almost a year long, she had tried to banish Rosemary from her memory.

It was too grievous- too gruesome.

Rosemary’s turned, blue face,  the crooked finger, that she had gripped towards…”

Here’s a word-for-word translation to give one an idea of the German sentence structure:

“Iris Marle thought about her sister Rosemary on. 

Almost a year long had she tried, Rosemary from her memory to banish.  She had self not remember wanted.

It was too grievous- too gruseome!

Rosemary’s blue turned face, the crooked finger, that on her gripped had…”

If anyone notes any errors in my translation…feel free to kindly correct.

For those studying  foreign languages, how are you doing?

Published in: on December 5, 2010 at 5:48 pm  Comments (15)  
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