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POETRY IN TRANSLATION (CCLII & CCLIII): ENGLAND – Carol RUMENS and W. Leslie NICHOLLS, Epigram, Epigramă

February 5th, 2014 · International Media, Poetry, quotations, Translations

POETRY IN TRANSLATION (CCLII & CCLIII): ENGLAND – Carol RUMENS and W. Leslie NICHOLLS, Epigram, Epigramă

Ecclesiastes

Ecclesiastes

Epigram
Carol Rumens (b. 1944, London)

I wander if Ecclesiasstes
Could have been cheered up by a glass of pastis,
And if a double brandy
Might even have made him feel randy.

Epigramă
Carol Rumens (n. 1944, Londra)

Adam, în Paradis,
O fi băut pastis?
C-aşa, neapărat,
Cred că s-a ambalat!

Versiune în limba Română de Constantin ROMAN,
© 2014, Copyright Constantin ROMAN, Londra

Epigram
W. Leslie Nicholls

Albrecht Dürer
Naturally, never heard of the Führer…
I wonder if the latter…
But that does not really matter!

(from: “Other people’s Clerihews”, chosen by Gavin Ewart)

Albrecht Dürer

Albrecht Dürer

Epigramă
(W. Leslie Nicholls)

Desigur, Albrecht Dürer,
Nu-l cunoştea pe Führer.
Iar Adolf, de-l ştia,
Nu face o para!

Versiune în limba Română de Constantin ROMAN,
© 2014, Copyright Constantin ROMAN, Londra

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POETRY IN TRANSLATION (CCXLI): FRANCE – Jean de LAFONTAINE (1621-1695): “Le Corbeau et le Renard”, “Corbul şi Vulpea”

February 4th, 2014 · International Media, Poetry, quotations, Translations

POETRY IN TRANSLATION (CCXLI): FRANCE – Jean de LAFONTAINE (1621-1695): “Le Corbeau et le Renard”, “Corbul şi Vulpea”

Le corbeau  et le renard

Le corbeau et le renard


Le Corbeau et le Renard
Jean de Lafontaine (1621-1695)

Maître Corbeau, sur un arbre perché,
Tenait en son bec un fromage.
Maître Renard, par l’odeur alléché,
Lui tint à peu près ce langage :
“Hé ! bonjour, Monsieur du Corbeau.
Que vous êtes joli ! que vous me semblez beau !
Sans mentir, si votre ramage
Se rapporte à votre plumage,
Vous êtes le Phénix des hôtes de ces bois. ”

A ces mots le Corbeau ne se sent pas de joie ;
Et pour montrer sa belle voix,
Il ouvre un large bec, laisse tomber sa proie.
Le Renard s’en saisit, et dit : “Mon bon Monsieur,
Apprenez que tout flatteur
Vit aux dépens de celui qui l’écoute :
Cette leçon vaut bien un fromage, sans doute. ”
Le Corbeau, honteux et confus,
Jura, mais un peu tard, qu’on ne l’y prendrait plus.

Jean de Lafontaine

Jean de Lafontaine

Corbul şi Vulpea
Jean de Lafontaine (1621-1695)

Domnul corb, pe o creangă de pom, cocoţat,
În cioc îşi ţinea o brânzică.
Dar vulpoiul bătrân, a şi-adulmecat
Începând un discurs, ca să-i zică:
O zi bună, Maestre şi Domnule Corb,
Cel mai chipeş din plaiul din jur.
Chiar serios, dacă vocea matale
Va sclipi mult mai mult ca un soare
Vei fi regele-acestor păduri.
Încântat de discurs, corbul se înfoieşte
Şi ca să-i dovedească ce voce bună are,
Lăsând să-i cadă brânza, deschide pliscul mare…
Dar vulpoiul bătrân o şi-nhaţă spunând:
Domnule, tu să ştii că-orice linguşitor,
Doar profită din munca celui ce îl ascultă:
Lecţia să-ţi servească, mult mai mult ca o brânză!
Domnul corb, ruşinat de o astfel de pildă,
Se jură, cam târziu, că n-o să-l mai prindă.

Versiune în limba Română de Constantin ROMAN,
© 2014, Copyright Constantin ROMAN, Londra

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POETRY IN TRANSLATION (CCXL): SPAIN – Antonio GAMONEDA (1931 – 2006): “Pietre funerare”, “Gravestones”

February 3rd, 2014 · International Media, PEOPLE, Poetry, quotations, Translations, Uncategorized

POETRY IN TRANSLATION (CCXL): SPAIN – Antonio GAMONEDA (1931 – 2006): “Pietre funerare”, “Gravestones”

Antonio Gamoneda

Antonio Gamoneda

Pietre funerare
(Antonio GAMONEDA, Asturias, Spania)

Nu mai e nici bunăstare, nici odihnă.
Fiara neagră vine pe aripă de vânt, iar oamenii sunt înfieraţi cu cifră de moarte.
Nu mai e nici bunăstare, nici odihnă.
Sub un soare torid, într-un vas de lacrimi, în suflet de visuri negre, un răcnet adânc creşte, ţesând cele mai triste fibre, iar în insomnia lor, mamele ce sălăşluiesc în inimă de fulger, îşi aţintesc privirea spre pădurea împietrită.

Oare păsările, într-adevăr, suferă așa?
Totul este îmbibat de sânge.
Surd la izvorul cântecului, ar trebui, oare, să mai insist?
Vigilența îşi face culcuşul în grădina dintre duhul meu și vaşnicii spioni.
În biserici oameni stau la pândă.

Eu vă spun, feriți-vă de calcinare și incest, feriți-vă chiar de Spania.

Versiune în limba Română de Constantin ROMAN,
© 2014, Copyright Constantin ROMAN, Londra

* * * * * * * *

Gravestones

There’s no wellbeing, there’s no rest.
The dark animal arrives in the midst of winds and there is a pile of men marked with the numbers of misfortune.
There is no wellbeing, there is no rest.
A black roaring grows and you weave the saddest fibers (under an incessant sun, in a bowl of lament, in the mauve root of augury) and sleepless mothers, those who inhabit cells of lightning, pass their gaze over a forest of stones.

Do birds so groan?
All is blood soaked.
Deaf at the source of the music, ought I to insist anymore?
There is vigilance in the gardens placed between my spirit and the precision of the spies.
There is watching in the churches.

Beware of calcination and incest; I say, beware of your very self, Spain.

Translated from the Spanish by Donald Wellman
(from: Lápidas,”Song of the Spies”,
(New Orleans: University of New Orleans Press, 2009)

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POETRY IN TRANSLATION (CCXLIX): IRELAND – Oscar WILDE (1856 – 1900): “Sonnet On Approaching Italy”, “Sonet Italiei”

January 29th, 2014 · International Media, Poetry, quotations, Translations, Uncategorized

POETRY IN TRANSLATION (CCXLIX): IRELAND – Oscar WILDE (1856 – 1900): “Sonnet On Approaching Italy”, “Sonet Italiei”

Italian alps

Sonnet On Approaching Italy
Oscar Wilde (1856, Dublin – 1900, Paris)

I reached the Alps: the soul within me burned,
Italia, my Italia, at thy name:
And when from out the mountain’s heart I came
And saw the land for which my life had yearned,

I laughed as one who some great prize had earned:
And musing on the marvel of thy fame
I watched the day, till marked with wounds of flame
The turquoise sky to burnished gold was turned.

The pine-trees waved as waves a woman’s hair,
And in the orchards every twining spray
Was breaking into flakes of blossoming foam:

But when I knew that far away at Rome
In evil bonds a second Peter lay,
I wept to see the land so very fair.

oscar-wilde

Sonet Italiei
Oscar WILDE (1856, Dublin – 1900, Paris)

Pe culmi Alpine, suflul mi se taie,
Italie, pământ de dor şi jale:
Când te privesc, din munte către vale,
Eu te cuprind cu-a dragostei văpaie.

În braţe eu te-am strâns, cum nu mai ştii,
Cu dar de preţ te-am îmbrăcat în straie:
Privindu-ţi oglindirea, în văpaie,
Tot cerul arde-n flăcări aurii.

Pădurile-ţi sunt plete de femei
Iar crengile, din pomii înfloriţi,
Cascade de petale lasă-n vânt.

Dar când, în vechea Romă stau zăcând,
În fiare, sfinţii tăi fiind priponiţi,
Cu lacrimi, am văzut al tău temei.

Versiune în limba Română de Constantin ROMAN,
© 2014, Copyright Constantin ROMAN, Londra

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Cambridge History of Science – BOOK REVIEWS: CONSTANTIN ROMAN – “CONTINENTAL DRIFT – COLLIDING CONTINENTS, CONVERGING CULTURES”

January 29th, 2014 · Books, Diaspora, International Media, OPINION, PEOPLE, quotations, Reviews

DriftCover

BOOK REVIEWS:
CONSTANTIN ROMAN – “CONTINENTAL DRIFT – COLLIDING CONTINENTS, CONVERGING CULTURES”

Cambridge History of Science
www.constantinroman/continentaldrift

www.constantinroman.com/continentaldrift/english/preface….

Prof. John DEWEY, FRS

Prof. John DEWEY, FRS

Professor John F. Dewey, FRS, FGS
(Universities of Oxford and California, Davis)

“Continental Drift” offered me a relaxing excellent read full of humour, humanity, wisdom and good science, way beyond the History of Science. This book is an Ode to the Joy of Freedom, of a kind celebrated in Enesco’s Rhapsodies, or the cosmic vision of Brancusi’s “Column of Infinity”: this is Constantin Roman’s “Ninth Symphony”. I trust the reader would share with me pleasures that have derived from reading ‘Continental Drift’.

Prof. Masaaki Shimizu

Prof. Masaaki Shimizu

Professor Masaaki Shimizu
(Toyama University, Japan) (Resource Geology)

Constantin Roman’s research was carried out in an inspiring scientific environment at Cambridge. , He has brought new ideas and tectonic solutions to the plate tectonics by the introduction of the concept of “non-rigid” plates or “buffer” plates – now called “continuums” – a concept which is still valid today.

Prof Sherban Veliciu,
(Geological Institute of Romania and University of Bucharest)

Constantin Roman’s thinking, whilst it flourished in the stimulating Cambridge environment, which represents the pinnacle of British Academia, would not have been possible without the broad culture which he received from Romania. This confluence is reflected in the very spirit of “Continental Drift”. For, as we proceed, we must remember that this is not a textbook of popular science on the History of Plate Tectonics, but a series of personal impressions, or “cameos”, which some day might complement such History of Science.

Tom G. Gallagher

Tom G. Gallagher

Prof. Tom G. Gallagher
(Institute of Peace Studies, University of Bradford)

Constantin Roman writes with candour, wit, and humility. His remarkable life story unfolds with effortless simplicity thanks to his ability to write mellifluous English influenced by Romanian cadences. This is a book which should interest the Romanian public at home and abroad as well as the general public- academic and non-academic

Dennis Deletant

Dennis Deletant

Adaptation to life in Western Europe posed a challenge in itself to East Europeans, but coping with the singular ways of the British added an extra dimension. It is in this part of the book that Roman is at his best. Roman’s story is one of success, unlike that of thousands of his contemporaries in Romania whose lives were sadly constrained by the severe restrictions placed on personal freedom by the Communist regime. His account is inspirational, and at a time when many young Romanians still tend to expect the state to map out their lives for them, it is an example of what individual initiative can achieve in a free-market economy.

Andy FLEET

Andy FLEET

Dr. Andy Fleet,
Senior Keeper, Natural History Museum, London
(Mineralogical Soc. of GB and Ireland Bulletin, August, 2001):

‘Continental drift’ is by, and about, one individual’s successful attempt to escape a communist corner of this maelstrom. Only in passing is it about geoscience, specifically continental tectonics. The title, which Sherban Veliciu in his ‘Preface’ suggests is a triple entendre, conceals a mixture of personal odyssey, traveller’s impressions and brief cameos.

Some greats of the Earth Sciences appear, Bullard, McKenzie, Matthews, Runcorn, but, with the notable exception of the “friendly, unceremonious” Bullard, it is the ‘great and good’, who came to Roman’s aid as he desperately sought to stay in the UK, who are the memorable characters of the tale. Lord Goodman, the retired diplomat Sir Duncan Wilson, and William Deedes – Private Eye’s ‘Dear Bill’ of the Thatcher years – are among those who helped the young Roman.

There are also digressions which I suspect owe something to Roman’s enthusiasm for culture in its broadest sense and must have made him a compelling companion when he worked as a tour guide in Cambridge to make ends meet. His brief travelogue on the caves of Lascaux, which, with his typical brass neck, he got permission to enter when they were closed to the world, is forgivable alongside his joy and wonder at the visit
Despite these reservations the book does add up very much to an “Ode to the Joy of Freedom” as John Dewey refers to it in his Foreword. Though I am left with the impression that inside there is another, not necessarily shorter, book struggling to get out. One that recounts the same tale of enthusiasm, obduracy and persistence but more fully and less disjointedly. One with more flesh on the bones of the characters involved.

Nick Petford

Nick Petford

Dr. Nick Petford
University of London
(“The Shifting Fortunes of Drift”, The Times Higher Education Supplement, June 20, 2000)

“The plate tectonic theme is continued in Constantin Roman’s “Continental Drift, Colliding Continents, Converging Cultures”. Roman, having escaped Ceausescu’s Communist Romania in the late 1960’s arrived in Britain when, as in the United States the theory of plate tectonics was finally coming of age. Set against the background of Cambridge dons and college gardens, Roman’s story is centred on Bullard Laboratories, where the company of some of the most eminent earth scientists of the day, he began a PhD on deep earthquakes in the Carpathians. Despite some initial reservations, I soon became absorbed in the twists and turns that befell poor Roman bureaucratic hassles with entry visas, uncertainty about the academic credibility of his ideas of buffer plates and finally, just when he is confident that he is onto something big, he discovers that an American team have got there first. Nearly. But despite its human drama I cannot help wondering who this book is aimed at. It is a strange mix. It is neither a textbook, nor a history book in the sense of Oreske’s detailed work. Instead it is an autobiographical account bordering on the self-indulgent and peppered with the kind of bizarre incidents that would not seem out of place in a Terry Pratchet novel.

I would nonetheless be surprised if the books did not share some common ground. I found it in Roman’s account of the subdued response from much of the geological community to his idea of non-rigid plate margins; “geology remains a conservative profession, where people view change with suspicion”. A sentiment not out of place with the American mindset so thoroughly documented by Oreskes”.

Fotini Pomoni

Fotini Pomoni

Prof. Fotini Pomoni,
University of Athens

Having read “Continental Drift” I was very impressed so I decided to write to you in Romanian, albeit with many mistakes. Ever since I saw you in Bucharest I had the feeling that I met a man about the world with a true sense of humour. Subsequently from the book I discovered many other facets of your DNA. In my opinion you are born a free man unwilling to compromise in charting your future. You have come a long way in a life full of variegated experiences, so I consider you a rich man, a present-day Odysseus, aiming to reach his Ithaca. I wish you therefore not to hasten your pace to reach your Ithaca. Let it unfold as a long journey, a long life.

Dr. Leonore Hoke,
(Consultant Geologist, Austria and New Zealand)

The book finally arrived here on Saturday 12th August. That weekend I went skiing on Mt Egmont and took it with me and read it from cover to cover. I enjoyed it very much and it brought back many memories of Cambridge. It certainly fires up my fighting spirit, something I need here in New Zealand.

Dr. Marina Shimizu,
University of Toyama

So, because Masaaki-san (Professor Shimizu, n.t.) started to read the book I took the opportunity of perusing it and I am absolutely stunned. Constantin’s book is not just glib science it is real life. What a style and what humour. Dear Constantin this is something to be read breathlessly. First of all it is a book which, for me, I feel it particularly important and fascinating. Now I understand better the true meaning of its dedication. I thank you so very much – it was a real pleasure reading it.

Prof. Catherine Durandin,
INALCO, Institut National de Langues et Civilisations Orientales, Paris

I started your book. It is very witty and like the style. I am convinced that your “Continental Drift” deserves to be translated (in French n.t.). Your portrait is absolutely riveting. I gave the publisher your book with a very enthusiastic reference.
Discover the history of Cambridge here:

Unknown Commentator, Romania’

Mda…modestia la ea acasa. :) In legatura cu opinia dvs… Io, cred ca nu vor sa se destepte si mai bine schimba imnu` . :)

Author’s response to Anonymous Romanian Comments”
Multumesc pentru aprecieri: la varsta mea este mai greu ca sa rosesc la fatza – dar chiar merit toate complimentele acestea? Sigur ca imi fac placere si faceti parte dintr-un grup restrans (sau poate dintr-un grup mai larg de cititori care totusi nu s-au exprimat , desi poate au gandit aceleasi lucruri). Problema, dupa 18 ani dela caderea lui Ceausescu, este ca atitudinea marxista, grefata pe cea balcanica, inca nu s-a schimbat si cartea inca mai jeneaza. Pe la edituri s-au cocotat aceiasi pigmei morali de pe vremea regretatului Conducator si daca inainte cenzura era eficace, acuma cabala cercului de invartiti ai marei si infinitei “Tranzitii” controleaza inca ce mai poate controla – litera de pe la edituri. Spuneam aceasta unui distins carturar ardelean referindu-ma la acesti pigmei drept “boieri ai mintii” la care mi-a ripostat: “Care boieri ai mintii, domnule? acestia nu sunt decat niste nomenclaturisti cu pretentie de boierie intelectuala a carei nivel nu se ridica nici macar pana la genunchiul broastei”. Sigur ca mi s-au facut “propuneri generoase” intre aletele de Institutul Cultural Roman – fie promisiuni fara acoperire, fie incercari de a stoarce de la autor mii de dolari pt contributia publicarii – o nesimtire funciara, atat de curenta la Bucuresti si aiurea. incat enormitatea ei nu mai jeneaza pe nimeni.. Dar sa ramanem optimisti – deschiderea frontierelor ne vor deschide si noua orizonturile, vom face comparatii si ne vom destepta, asa cum ne indeamna Imnul National! O zi buna, cu multumiri reinnooite!

Anonymous, Romanian Critic:

In fine am terminat de citit cartea. Sunt coplesita. In acelasi timp , plina de admiratie. Bine spunea tutorele dvs. ( Teddy) : ”Tipic Constantin, plin de paradoxuri si de jocuri la limita” . Dupa Cambridge, mai urmeaza si alte jocuri? Pot afla continuarea? Ar trebui sa fie publicata cartea si in limba romana. Pacat ca nu se gaseste o editura. Unii romani ar avea multe de invatat. Intotdeauna avem cate ceva de invatat dintr-o carte. Oricum, asa cum spuneati si dvs. in Postfata : ”Totul nu este pierdut – mai este inca o speranta” . Nu stiu daca e un romanism dar noi mai spunem : ”Speranta moare ultima” . Respecte domnule Roman!

Jean VERKAEREN
Université Catholique de Louvain et Université de Liège.
Geologica Belgica – November 2006

Constantin ROMAN, 2000. Continental Drift: colliding continents, converging cultures. Institute of Physics Publishing, Bristol and Philadelphia, ISBN 0 7503 0686 6, 210 p., Price EUR 18.

This is an extraordinary book. Despite its title it is not a treatise on plate tectonics, although its author is a well-known geophysicist, who has made fundamental contributions to the study of the collision of continental plates, by means of seismology. His PhD thesis, “Seismotectonics of the Carpathians and Central Asia”, (submitted in 1974, at Cambridge University, where he was the last PhD student of Sir Edward Bullard), sent shock-waves through the scientific community. He put forward solutions and models on the sub-crustal earthquakes of the Carpathian arc of Romania and presented the first focal mechanism solutions to the Himalayan earthquakes (delineating the newly-defined Sinkiang and Tibetan plates). He invented as early as 1972 the notion of “non-rigid plates”, or “buffer plates”, before the notion of continuums was adopted in geology. After graduating from Cambridge he worked as a Consultant for Shell, BP, Exxon, Petrofina, Total and all other oil majors, to become a world expert in basin analysis, and to contribute to the discovery of many oil fields in the North Sea, Barents Seas and elsewhere. So much for his scientific career.
As a refugee from Ceaucescu’s dictatorship, he metaphorically performed, in a sense, a “continental drift”, from his native Romania to England and Western scientific and human society, because one must not forget that on the British Isles, all Europeans are referred to as “continentals”, hence the title in his book being fully justified, in the best tradition of British pun of double-entendre.
Constantin Roman was born in 1941, in Bucharest, into an intellectual family, who never kow-towed to the communist régime: this was for him a source of difficulties both to get out of his country to study abroad, as much as during his stay in England, as a student on a Romanian passport, but without his country’s blessing.
* The first chapter, “The DNA Signature”, explores the author’s Romanian roots on the paternal side, and Moldavian Czech and Transylvanian ancestry on the maternal side. He got a Master’s degree in Geophysics from the Bucharest University, in 1966, with a dissertation on Palaeomagnetism. His story of the curriculum and teaching methods of University studies in Romania and the relationships between students and professors is truly superb.
* Chapter 2, “NATO Secret”, tells us about his escape from Romania and his arrival at the University of Newcastle, in England, in April 1968. This visit was made possible through a NATO travel grant, which he kept secret from the Romanian authorities, which otherwise might have found a convenient excuse to deny him a passport to travel to the West. In this way he applied for and got a passport with a one-month visa to travel to England. He left Romania with five guineas in his pocket (£5.05) and two icons he hoped to sell, on the last day of the meeting on Palaeomagnetism, where he was scheduled to present the results of his Romanian research. The Head of the School of Physics, who had organised the meeting was Prof. Keith Runcorn, F.R.S., famous in the fifties for his pioneering work on the geophysical interpretation of palaeomagnetic data, proving the polar wandering paths, which remains to date a corner stone of the continental drift theory. In search of a thesis subject, Constantin visited also the Oxford Laboratory of Archaeometry, where palaeomagnetism was used to dating archaeological clay artefacts.
Chapter 3, “Paris Students Riots”, relates the story of his transit through Paris, on his way back to Romania, during the fateful May 1968. Here he witnessed and describes the extraordinary events which, incidentally, made him figure out the hitherto unbeknown to him practice of “Vivre à droite et penser à gauche”. But the general strike in France causes Roman’s French transit visa and the Romanian re-entry visa to expire and he fears being sent back to Ceausescu’s Romania, as an “illegal”, and thus jeopardise any future chance of travel to the West. Thanks to the Governor of the Banque de France his French visa is extended to three months, whilst the Romanians refuse the extension of his re-entry visa. Selling his icons allows him to pay his return ticket to Newcastle, where he is invited for the summer by Prof. Ken Creer.
* Chapter 4, “Pet on One Pound a Day”, relates his stay at the Laboratory of Palaeomagnetism, in Newcastle, where he comes as a Visiting Research student, but also tells us about the people and the academic atmosphere, in England of the late 1960’s. Unable to find a scholarship at Newcastle to pursue his PhD, beyond the summer, he is encouraged to apply to other universities, in the UK, Canada, the US and Australia, as all along he is haunted by the deadline of his visas, but he has no alternative option, as returning to Romania would jeopardize any future plans in academia. He learns by accident that a research scholarship is available from Peterhouse, the oldest Cambridge College (founded in 1284). From an unexpected quarter, Tuzo Wilson, the inventor of the “hot spots” offers him the position of a teaching scholarship at Toronto. But as he is short-listed and interviewed at Cambridge by Sir Edward Bullard, a geophysicist of world repute, Roman finally chooses Cambridge. Sir Edward Bullard, FRS distinguished himself during WWII in using magnetic methods for demagnetising the ships of the Royal navy, detecting the mines at sea, as well as the German submarines. In peace time, Bullard is also remembered as the inventor of the dynamo theory at the origin of the terrestrial magnetic field, through convection in the Earth’s core and also for his contribution to continental drift by proposing a mathematical algorithm to model the reconstruction of the Atlantic, known today as the “Bullard’s best fit”. Bullard was at the time Head of the Department of Geodesy and Geophysics at Cambridge. Constantin is welcome to the Common Room, around a table where staff and researchers of the department mingle informally and where conversation is vibrant and inspiring, whether on scientific or non-scientific topics. Here he meets Dan McKenzie, who is interested in Romanian earthquakes and wants to see him work on the subject. A little before the 1969 summer vacation Roman is granted the Research scholarship from Peterhouse, which enables him to start in earnest his PhD. His status is now settled for 3 years and this marks provisionally the end of his struggle with the Romanian, French and British bureaucrats. At Cambridge he has an active life outside the subject of his research, due to his joie de vivre and his efforts to make his country better known to his colleagues and friends, some of whom thinking that Hungarian was the national language of Romania!
* Chapter 5, “the Rat Race”, relates about the huge academic competition and pressure in producing quick and meaningful results and especially securing their paternity through publication. Prompted by McKenzie, his supervisor in the first year of study, he embarks on his research on the Seismo-tectonics of the continental crust and in particular the sub-crustal earthquakes. By the end of the second term he gets his first results on the Carpathians: “one could find, for the first time, the shape of the sinking lithosphere under the Carpathian arc, in the form of a vertical parallelipiped”. The results are a world’s first and considered significant enough to be accepted for publication in Nature (December 1970). For a first-year Romanian student, who just arrived, this is an auspicious start. Soon McKenzie is replaced as a supervisor by Edward Bullard (who insists on being addressed as “Teddy” by his students). This switch allows Roman to continue his work on Central Asia. The pages on Teddy Bullard’s career are enchanting. They show the Cavendish Laboratory founded by Maxwell and animated by his successors, one of whom was Rutherford, whose pupil was Bullard. They were familiarly known as the “Rutherford boys”, eminent specialists in atomic physics. It was the golden age of the Cavendish Laboratory, which produced the most Nobel prize winners per square foot in Cambridge… It was in this tradition of freedom of research that Bullard founded his own department of Geodesy and Geophysics, especially seminal in the 60’s and early ‘70s, when Roman was there. How different from Romania! “More often than not researchers would reach the age of wisdom without, as such, reaching the wisdom of age, like an endemic perpetuation of mediocrity”.
Roman goes on to gather his seismic data from Central Asia, through the world-wide seismic Station Network (WWSSN), intended for monitoring nuclear explosions and earthquakes as a by-product. This information is collated from the microfiche library of Professor Hans Berckhemmer’s, at the University of Frankfurt/Main and is processed at Edinburgh International Seismological Centre and at Aldermaston Atomic Physics Laboratory. This entire saga might be rather dull should it not be related with such great gusto about people, places and situations he encountered as well as how he was able to relocate more accurately the Central Asia epicentres and come out with “iconoclastic” models of the “non-rigid plates”. In order to test his new ideas against his rather conservative geologist contemporaries, Roman goes on a lecture tour through England (Oxford, Norwich, Newcastle, Imperial College) and on the continent (Luxemburg, Liège and Frankfurt). At Luxemburg’s European Symposium of Seismology he meets his former Bucharest professors, who are jealous and tell him he is “too young to deal with plate tectonics”. At Liège, invited by J.C. Duchesne, who knew him from a stay in Cambridge, he presented his novel ideas, in impeccable French, during a lecture entitled “Sur la limite des plaques lithosphériques dans la croûte continentale”, which was the centre piece of his thesis.
Back in Cambridge Bullard tells him, to his amazement, that a group at the MIT (Peter Molnar) is working on the same subject and that an article had already been submitted to an international journal and accepted for publication, which was to be printed imminently: exactly the same region of Central Asia, the same earthquakes, the same focal mechanism solutions! Bullard advises him to limit himself to the Carpathians, for a Master’s degree, as a consolation prize, as all his research efforts would have been in vain if Molnar’s paper was published before Roman’s Cambridge thesis was submitted as an original piece of work. This to Constantin is simply unacceptable! In such tight corner as he suddenly finds himself, his resourcefulness comes to the fore, as he contacts the editor of the “New Scientist”, a well-known weekly journal in London. The Editor accepts a paper of 6,000 words with two diagrams summarizing Roman’s three years of research. It is published several weeks before the American paper appears: the miracle is performed just in time to save Roman’s hard work. Such is the academic rat race which Constantin describes so vividly. Bullard is very pleased indeed and finds him funds for a 4th year at Peterhouse. He must now finish his thesis and try to find a job in England and permission for permanent residency in the UK, as his future wife is refusing to leave the country and settle elsewhere. He files hundreds of job applications with the recommendation of his supervisor. An interview at the Hague with Shell, is recounted with great humour. Shell has no job offer for him, but true to his fighting spirit he soldiers on. He marries in 1973, in Cambridge, in the absence of his parents, who are systematically denied a visa by the Romanian authorities and eventually died before Ceaucescu’s demise. In his desperate search for jobs Constantin is offered a research position as journalist for the Daily Telegraph, but finally, as the 1974 oil crisis develops, geologists and geophysicists are again in demand, the oil exploration in the North Sea and elsewhere takes off and Constantin gets his real positive answer from a Midwest American company, the Continental Oil Company, which has exploration licences in the North Sea. He has now the status of permanent resident in the UK and passes his PhD in the Spring of 1974. By this time his Romanian passport had expired, on April 5 1974, exactly five years after he left Romania behind. At long last Constantin is now out of the tunnel!
In the last chapter, “Lotus Eater”, the story is meant to counterbalance the trials and tribulations of the previous chapters, when Roman grappled with the horns of the bureaucracy and was confronted by unseeming hardships. This end chapter shows the “lighter” side of the memoir, as he meets illustrious contemporaries of the world of Art, Science and Politics, indulging his extra-geophysical passions: Architecture (his first vocation), Art and Poetry. He translates many Romanian poems into English, a sample of which is given in the book. His innumerable walks through Cambridge colleges and gardens are a boon to the reader: “Cambridge was almost like a mythical mistress, whose eroticism would excite my resolve against obstacles put in the way by sundry bureaucratic tormentors and moral dwarfs”.
This is an exhilarating book and I can fully subscribe to Professor J. F. Dewey’s view (Oxford), who wrote the Foreword of the book: “Continental Drift offered me a relaxing excellent read full of humour, wisdom and good science, way beyond the History of Science”.
The book ends with the return to Romania, where he is asked to come, after 25 years, as Visiting Professor to give the “The Roman Lectures”. During Ceausescu’s dictatorship all scientific publications of Romanian exiles were banned, even from bibliography and finally, in 1998, Roman’s Cambridge thesis is published by the Geological Survey of Romania, to prove his claim to being the first Romanian scientist, in 1970, to present a Plate Tectonics model for the evolution of the Carpathian arc. His work is recognised, as he is made Professor Honoris Causa of the University of Bucharest. Also, after the election, in 1996, of Professor Emil Constantinescu, geologist and mineralogist, as President of Romania, Constantin Roman is appointed Personal Adviser to the President of Romania (Energy and Natural Resources) and also Honorary Consul of Romania in Cambridge.

Jean VERKAEREN
Université Catholique de Louvain et Université de Liège.

Pour citer cet article :
« BOOK REVIEWS». Geologica Belgica, volume 8 (2005) number 8/3 : 113-11

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POETRY IN TRANSLATION (CCXLVIII): ENGLAND – Louis de BERNIÈRES (b. 1954): “Romance”, “Romanţă”

January 28th, 2014 · Books, International Media, Poetry, quotations, Translations, Uncategorized

POETRY IN TRANSLATION (CCXLVIII): ENGLAND – Louis de BERNIÈRES (b. 1954): “Romance”, “Romanţă”

BERNIÈRES by Nicola  Jennings

BERNIÈRES by Nicola Jennings

Romanţă
Louis de BERNIÈRES
(n. Londra, 1954)

“Te iubesc!”- a spus ea, surprinsă să fi rostit-o pentru prima oară,
Şi întrebându-se cum ar fi: a descoperit
O situaţie interesantă!

“Şi eu te iubesc!”- a răspuns el, repetând o frază obişnuită,
Plină de anticipări nefaste, şi sperând
Sa o îmbrobodească şi pe ea.

“Hai, vrei să ne căsătorim?” l-a intrebat ea, visând
O casă splendidă, dându-şi demisia din slujba ei plictisitoare,
Făcând copii, pe spezele lui, şi devenind o femeie respectabilă.

“Sigur, hai să ne căsătorim!” a spus el, anticipând
Mese regulate, fără obligaţii cazaniere, amor din belşug, şi,
Mai ales, năutatea adulterului.

“Uite ce lună frumoasă!” a exclamat ea, gândindu-se
Că este ca în filme, mult prea potrivit,
Şi de un romantism perfect.

“Razele Lunii sunt pentru noi!” i-a răspuns el, suav, băgându-şi
Mâna în bluza ei, făcând-o sa îngheţe, înainte ca ea să înţeleagă,
Că ar fi normal, şi scuzabil, acum că sunt logodiţi.

“Mă iubeşti cu adevărat?” a întrebat ea, aplecându-şi capul
Pe haina lui de ştofă ecoseză, observând cât de aspră
Este mâna lui, mângâindu-i sânul.

“Mai mult ca niciodată!”, a răspuns el, sărutându-i fruntea
Pe cărarea creştetului şi observând cât de rece
Este sânul ei, la pipăitul mâinii sale.

Rendered in Romanian by Constantin ROMAN,
© 2014, Copyright Constantin ROMAN, London

"Romance"

“Romance”

ROMANCE
Louis de BERNIÈRES

(b. London, 1954)

‘I love you’, she said, never having said it before,
And wondering what it was like; she found it
An interesting experience.

‘I love you too’, he said, having said it many times
For nefarious purpose, and hoping it would
Work with her as well.

‘Shall we get married?’ she said, thinking of a\Bijou house, giving up her boring job,
Having kids at his expense, and becoming respectable.

‘Yes, let’s get married!’ he said, thinking of
Regular meals, no housework, steady sex and
The novelty of adultery.

‘Isn’t it the moon lovely?’ she said, thinking of how
Like a novel it was, how very appropriate,
And impeccably romantic.

‘It’s shining for us! He said suavely, dipping his
Hand inside her blouse, so that she froze before realising
It’s all right, it’s excusable, now that we are engaged.

‘Do you really love me?’ she said, nestling her head
On his shoulder, as she noticed how rough
Was his hand, rotating on her breast.

‘More than anything,’ he said, kissing her head
On the parting, and noticing how cold
Was her breast, beneath his rotating hand.

(From: ‘Imagining Alexandria’)

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POETRY IN TRANSLATION (CCXLVII): Louis de BERNIÈRES (b. 1954, London), ENGLAND, “Le garçon maudit”, “The doomed Boy”

January 27th, 2014 · Books, International Media, Poetry, quotations, Translations

POETRY IN TRANSLATION (CCXLVII): Louis de BERNIÈRES (b. 1954, London), ENGLAND, “Le garçon maudit”, “The doomed Boy”

...réchauffé brièvement par des joies passagères...

…réchauffé brièvement par des joies passagères…

Le garçon maudit
Louis de Bernières

(né en 1954, à Londres)

Il était beau comme un Dieu, qui sentait
Le parfum viril de Cologne, montrant ses dents brillantes,
Quand il souriait, faisant une conversation pleine de confiance,
Ayant bien vécu, grâce á la richesse de son père.
Quand ce bel homme passait dans la rue, on savait bien
Que toutes les femmes desserraient leurs corsages,
Caressant et lissant leurs cheveux : elles le considéraient
Respectueux de garder ses mains pour lui-même.
Il n’aura jamais été vu dans les rues du port,
Avec ses lèvres idéales et ses membres idéales,
Tourbillonnant et dansant dans les boites de nuit,
Ou bien faisant le pied de grue, dans l’ombre,
Au coin des rues sombres, réchauffé brièvement par des joies passagères,
Voletant et glissant, un chapeau rabattu sur son visage
Comme tous les autres garçons beaux et maudits.

Version Française par :
Constantin ROMAN, Londres,
© 2014, Droits d’auteur: Constantin ROMAN

Imagining Alexandria

Imagining Alexandria

The Doomed Boy
Louis de Bernières

(b. 1954, London)

He was handsome as Endymion, cast about him
The scent of virile cologne, showed brilliant teeth
When he smiled, made confident conversation,
Lived well on his father’s wealth.
It was known that the women loosened their gowns and
Stroked their hair, and preened
As this beautiful man came by. They thought him
Respectful for keeping his hands to himself.
He wasn’t detected down in the streets of the port,
With his ideal lips and his ideal limbs,
Whirling and dancing in basements, standing in shadows
On dim street corners, warmed briefly by transient joys,
Flitting and gliding, his hat pulled over his face
Like all the other doomed and beautiful boys.

(From: “Imagining Alexandria: Poems in Memory of CP Cavafy”)

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POETRY IN TRANSLATION (CCXLVI): Louis de BERNIÈRES (b. 1954, London), ENGLAND, “Tânărul chipeş”, “The doomed Boy”

January 26th, 2014 · International Media, PEOPLE, Poetry, quotations, Translations

POETRY IN TRANSLATION (CCXLVI): Louis de BERNIÈRES (b. 1954, London), ENGLAND, “Tânărul chipeş”, “The doomed Boy”

Endymion

Endymion

Tânărul chipeş
(The doomed Boy)
Louis de Bernières (n. 1954, Londra)

Când zâmbea, era chipeş ca Endymion,
Răspândea un aer de parfum viril,
Îşi arăta o dantură splendidă, evocând
O conversaţie matură,
Trăindu-şi huzurul din averea familiei.
Când bărbatul ăsta chipeş trecea, se zvonea
Că toate femeile îşi desnodau cordonul
Rochiilor, mângâindu-şi coafura şi înfoindu-se.
Îl considerau plin de respect,
Căci îsi păstra braţele strâns la piept.
Dar nu îl ştiau perindând străzile portului,
Cu buzele lui sensuale şi braţele vânjoase,
Dansând în lupanare, stând la colţ de stradă,
Gustând, în grabă, desfătări efemere,
Trecând iute, cu borul pălăriei tras peste ochi,
Ca mulţi alţi băieţi chipeşi, marcaţi de soartă.

Rendered in Romanian by Constantin ROMAN, © 2014,
Copyright Constantin ROMAN, London

... his ideal lips & his ideal limbs...

… his ideal lips & his ideal limbs…

The Doomed Boy
Louis de Bernières (b. 1954, London)

He was handsome as Endymion, cast about him
The scent of virile cologne, showed brilliant teeth
When he smiled, made confident conversation,
Lived well on his father’s wealth.
It was known that the women loosened their gowns and
Stroked their hair, and preened
As this beautiful man came by. They thought him
Respectful for keeping his hands to himself.
He wasn’t detected down in the streets of the port,
With his ideal lips and his ideal limbs,
Whirling and dancing in basements, standing in shadows
On dim street corners, warmed briefly by transient joys,
Flitting and gliding, his hat pulled over his face
Like all the other doomed and beautiful boys.

(from: ‘Imagining Alexandria’)

Louis de Bernieres

Louis de Bernieres

SHORT BIO: Novelist Louis de Bernières was born in Woolwich, London in 1954, but grew up in Surrey. He joined the army at 18 but left after spending four months at Sandhurst. After graduating from the Victoria University of Manchester, he took a postgraduate certificate in Education at Leicester Polytechnic and obtained his MA at the University of London.

Before writing full-time, he held many varied jobs including landscape gardener, motorcycle messenger and car mechanic. He also taught English in Colombia, an experience which determined the style and setting of his first three novels, The War of Don Emmanuel’s Nether Parts (1990), Señor Vivo and the Coca Lord (1991) and The Troublesome Offspring of Cardinal Guzman (1992), each of which was heavily influenced by South American literature, particularly ‘magic realism’.

In 1993, he was selected as one of the 20 ‘Best of Young British Novelists 2′ promotion in Granta magazine. His fourth novel, Corelli’s Mandolin, was published in the following year, winning the Commonwealth Writers Prize (Best Book). It was also shortlisted for the Sunday Express Book of the Year. Set on the Greek island of Cephalonia during the Second World War, the novel tells the story of a love affair between the daughter of a local doctor and an Italian soldier. It has become a worldwide bestseller and has now been translated into over 30 languages. A film adaptation of the novel was released in 2001, and the novel has also been adapted for the stage. In 2001, Red Dog was published – a collection of stories inspired by a statue of a dog encountered on a trip to a writers’ festival in Australia in 1998.
In 2009 he separated from his partner, Cathy, who took custody of their children, Robin and Sophie.[5] He had been spending much time away from his family touring. He subsequently attacked family lawyers as being too adversarial. Eventually, he gained equal custodial rights.

De Bernières is an avid musician. He plays the flute, mandolin, clarinet and guitar, although he considers himself an “enthusiastic but badly-educated and erratic” amateur. His literary work often references music and the composers he admires, such as the guitar works of Villa-Lobos and Antonio Lauro in the Latin American trilogy, and the mandolin works of Vivaldi and Hummel in Captain Corelli’s Mandolin.

Some of the stories are autobiographical, such as “Silly Bugger 1″ about a boy who brings up an abandoned rook, which becomes his companion, the rook sitting on his shoulder as he goes about his life – de Bernières is pictured on his website with a rook sitting on his shoulder. Notwithstanding is rich in local detail, containing references to the nearby villages and towns of Godalming, Chiddingfold, Hambledon and Haslemere, as well as to Waitrose, Scats, the Institute of Oceanographic Sciences, the Merry Harriers pub and the “suicidal driving” of the nuns at St Dominic’s School. De Bernières reflects in the Afterword:

“I realised that I had set so many of my novels and stories abroad, because custom had prevented me from seeing how exotic my own country is. Britain really is an immense lunatic asylum. That is one of the things that distinguishes us among the nations… We are rigid and formal in some ways, but we believe in the right to eccentricity, as long as the eccentricities are large enough… Woe betide you if you hold your knife incorrectly, but good luck to you if you wear a loincloth and live up a tree.”

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POETRY IN TRANSLATION (CCXLV): Giuseppe Gioacchino BELLI (1791-1863), Italian Trasteverin Poet: “ “La scrupulosa”, “Scrupule”

January 24th, 2014 · International Media, PEOPLE, Poetry, quotations, Translations, Uncategorized

POETRY IN TRANSLATION (CCXLV): Giuseppe Gioacchino BELLI (1791-1863), Italian Trasteverin Poet: “ “La scrupulosa”, “Scrupule”

Belli - La scrupulosa

Belli – La scrupulosa


La scrupolosa
Giuseppe Gioachino Belli
(1791-1863)

Inzomma, cazzo, se pò avé sto bbascio?
se pò ttastà un tantino er pettabbotto?
Ma nnun avé ppavura, che ffo adascio:
cuanto che ssento che cce tienghi sotto.

Ciai scrupolo? e dde cosa? E cche! tte fotto?!
Semo parenti? Sí, ppe vvia der cascio:
cuggini de cuggini: cascio cotto:
parenti come Ggnacchera e ssan Biascio.

Parenti, ggià! cche scrupoli der tarlo!
Per un bascio co mmé ttanta cusscenza,
eppoi te fai fischià ddar Padre Carlo.

Ma cche ccredi? che Cristo abbi pascenza
d’abbadà ssi tte bbascio, o ssi tte parlo?
A ste cojjonerie manco sce penza.

Roma, 22 gennaio 1833

Scrupule
Giuseppe Gioachino Belli
(1791-1863)

Ce naiba, n-o să-mi dai nici un sărut?
Nici sânul n-oi putea să ţi-l alint?
N-ai teamă, o s-am grije când te prind:
Doar vreau să aflu ce-ai pe dedesubt.

Ai scrupule? De ce? Nu suntem gata?
O să te-ncalec? Astea sunt prostii!
Suntem doar veri, doar veri, aşa cum ştii:
De-om face-o, n-o să ştie nici chiar Papa!

Incest? O, Doamne, astea-s baliverne!
Şi toate mofturile pentru un sărut!
Cu unchiul Ion ai fost sub aşternut!

Nici lui Christos nu-i pasă ce-i sub perne!
De te-aş pompa, nici naiba n-o să dea,
Căci lui, prin cap, nu-i trece-aşa ceva!

Rendered in Romanian by: Constantin ROMAN,
© 2014, Copyright Constantin ROMAN, London

Belli: "Sonnets"

Belli: “Sonnets”

BIO NOTE: A collection of his “Roman Sonnets” was first published over 20 years after his death. Several others were found during the following years (some were unfinished), and the first complete edition was published almost one century later, in 1952. Much of their vigour depends on the use of roman dialect: a play on words or a typical expression is quite unique. For this reason they have never been kept in great consideration by “official” literature.

So far, English translations have been made by Eleonore Clark, William Carlos Williams, Harold Norse, Anthony Burgess, Peter Nicholas Dale, and Belli’s work has been translated into many other languages. Each sonnet contains a short story, an anecdote of everyday’s life; the main elements of the sketch quickly unwind in the opening verses, while the last ones lead to a brilliant conclusion, often ironical or comical, sometimes lyrical or even philosophical.
See full note on:

http://www.ggbellimosetti.altervista.org/ggbelli_in_english.htm

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POETRY IN TRANSLATION (CCXLIV): Pierre REVERDY, (1889 – 1960), FRANCE, “Tard dans la vie”, “Late in life”, “Amurgul vieţii”

January 24th, 2014 · International Media, PEOPLE, Poetry, quotations, Reviews, Translations, Uncategorized

POETRY IN TRANSLATION (CCXLIV): Pierre REVERDY, (1889 – 1960), FRANCE, “Tard dans la vie”, “Late in life”, “Amurgul vieţii”

Pierre Reverdy

Pierre Reverdy

Tard dans la vie
Pierre Reverdy

(1889, Narbonne – 1960, Solesmes)

Je suis dur
Je suis tendre
Et j’ai perdu mon temps
A rêver sans dormir
A dormir en marchant
Partout où j’ai passé
J’ai trouvé mon absence
Je ne suis nulle part
Excepté le néant
Mais je porte caché au plus haut des entrailles
A la place ou la foudre a frappé trop souvent
Un coeur ou chaque mot a laissé son entaille
Et d’où ma vie s’égoutte au moindre mouvement

(From the volume: La liberté des mers)

Late in life
(Pierre Reverdy)

I am callous
I am tender
and I have wasted my time
dreaming without sleeping
sleeping while walking
everywhere I’ve gone
I’ve found myself absent
I belong nowhere
except the void
But I carry hidden high up in my bowels
At the spot where lightning has too often struck
A heart where each word has left its mark
And where my life trickles away with the slightest movement

(English translation by Michael Tweed)

Amurgul vieţii
(Pierre Reverdy)

sunt dur
sunt tandru
mi-am risipit o viaţă
visând cu ochi deschişi
dormind mereu în mers
şi peste tot trecut-am
doar regăsind absenţa
ne mai fiind aiurea
decât în negru-abis
si totuşi, am un spirit, adânc în trupul meu
acolo unde-un fulger mă scapără prea des
în suflet port o rimă urmându-mă mereu
făcând să-mi scurgă viaţa în chip neînţeles.

Rendered in Romanian by Constantin ROMAN,
© 2014, Copyright Constantin ROMAN, London

SHORT BIO: Pierre Reverdy (1889 – 1960), The son of a winegrower, Reverdy was born in southern France, in the region of Narbonne, and grew up near the Montagne Noire. The Reverdy ancestors were stonemasons and sculptors associated with work commissioned for churches.
Reverdy arrived in Paris in October 1910, devoting his early years there to his writing. It was in Paris, at the artistic enclave centered around the Bateau-Lavoir in Montmartre that he met he became friends with numerous artists such as Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque & Henri Matisse but also with literati such as: Guillaume Apollinaire, Max Jacob, Louis Aragon, André Breton, Philippe Soupault and Tristan Tzara. All would come to admire and champion Reverdy’s poetry.
In the first Surrealist Manifesto, André Breton hailed Reverdy as “the greatest poet of the time.” Louis Aragon said that for Breton, Soupault, Éluard and himself, Reverdy was “our immediate elder, the exemplary poet.” In 1917, together with Max Jacob, Vicente Huidobro and Guillaume Apollinaire, Reverdy founded the influential journal Nord-Sud (“North-South”) which contained many Dadaist and Surrealist contributions.
Reverdy was a somber man, whose strong spiritual inclinations led him over time to distance himself from the frenetic world of bohemian Paris. In 1926, in a ritualistic act signifying the renunciation of the material world, he burned many of his manuscripts in front of an assembly of friends. He converted to Catholicism and retreated with his wife, Henriette, to a small house located in proximity to a Benedictine abbey at Solesmes. Excluding intermittent periods when he visited Paris, Solesmes was his home for the next thirty years where he lived a “quasi-monastic life.”

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