May 24, 2007

Asterix- What Gaul!!

I am sure all of you are familiar with Asterix. An essentially French comic ( probably as popular as Mickey Mouse in the USA) It has many patrons , in over 50 languages.

And while it takes digs galore at the Romans, my copies are printed in Italy. Some of it does seem sexist when I read it now. ( read: Asterix and the Secret Weapon) But you let that go, Because deep down the humour is rather harmless.

We often lament that puns and the jokes are lost in translation. Not in Asterix. (Though someone who has read it in French and English is in a better capacity to comment.)

What a tough job it must be for Anthea Bell the translator. I wonder how R Goscinny, the writer & Albert Underzo, the illustrator, recruited her? His English must have been pretty good to know that the humour was not lost.

And when the joke was on the British, how did she cope and make it palatable?
But what about all the other languages? Is punning that easy?

And all that word play ( Almost like cryptic cross word clues) when removed from the cultural context would it make sense?

And does anyone know how the Romans rate this work?

12 comments:

Just like that said...

I was introduced to Tintin and Asterix at teh same time, while a kid and at the time, I enjoyed Tintin more. But now, am totally smitten with the puns, all of which I missed as a kid. Truly brilliant!

Orchid said...

Never looked at Asterix in this light!..smart thoughts!! yeah I wonder what the romans think too..really there are no romans anymore are there??

namvor said...

hey you SHOULD check out 'the offical guide to asterix'. its got tons of info about how the translation was done, explains details in each book that you might have missed and is a treasure trove of trivia for die-hard fans.
one of the the main reasons hubby and i got married to each other was that we were both mad mad mad about the gauls! when i was pregnant with my second child i re-read all of the asterix books several times - usually when i couldnt go to sleep at 4 am. i told the hubby i wouldnt go into labour till i had re-read every one of them for the 3rd time. guess what - that is EXACTLY what happened! i went into labour a week before due date - and had finished the last asterix the previous night!

artnavy said...

thankyou namvor- will surely do that

so does your baby recall any of the asterix stories
did u extend the craze to a baby name inspired by asterix?? :-))))

namvor said...

when i was pregnant with my 1st kid i learnt to make bead jewellery in my spare time. guess what - she lovvves beads! we have a zillion beads of every colour/material/shape/size. hubby wishes i had played tennis instead of stringing beads - then we couldve probably retired early with kid 1 providing for us!

how the asterix mania will manifest itself in kid 2 only time will tell :)

btw was going through your archives. your baby is soo cute! and why no more muthu?!

artnavy said...

beads- wow- like in narayana pearls and gypsy maalais? can i come and check them out- where and whom did u learn from? are u based in chennai?

i like ur hubby's chain of thought

on muthu-because no one seemed interested in him anymore- he is around in my head - will put him on paper

namvor said...

i lived in hyderabad at the time and learnt the stuff from a neighbour aunty. did live in chennai though when i was doing my BTech from IITM. in fact we are considering relocating to india so might ask you for fundae on schools at some point in case we end up moving to chennai. so yup if i come to chennai would love to show them to you!

pls to post on muthu. agree with the other folks - its very r.k.narayanesque. thats the best compliment anyone can get by the way!

artnavy said...

oh i am so flattered an iitian lieks my blog!!

will revive muthu shortly

namvor said...

honoured - will wait for mister muthu!

Rebus said...

Interesting trivia; this is one of my favorite comics

namvor said...

btw have you checked any asterix DVDs? they are totally cool.

we got some last year and this kid in my daughter's class got so hooked we got him a whole set the last time we were in india since you do not get them here in london.

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