15 votes

Understanding the use of the word "Negress" in the Kilmartin and Cox translation of Solaris

Native speaker here. The most important part that was lost in translation was the rhythm of the prose. Lem's texts at all times have a quality similar to that of a blank verse. Sadly, I think it would ...
kubanczyk's user avatar
  • 251
14 votes

Mathematics or gibberish? Understanding a description of an alien message in His Master's Voice

I'm a mathematician, and to me the style of narration in this passage sounds very familiar. Because of the extreme abstraction from reality of most of (pure) mathematics, we who study it often dread ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
  • 72.3k
11 votes
Accepted

How did The Witcher games affect the popularity of The Witcher books?

In English-speaking world - very positively. Because they weren't translated to English before the games came out :D There's a thread on Reddit which asks the same question - sadly, none of the ...
Gallifreyan's user avatar
  • 8,375
9 votes
Accepted

What did Lem find in his game-theoretical analysis of the writings of Marquis de Sade?

To say that Lem applied game theory to the writings of the Marquis de Sade is a little bit of an overstatement. In the essay Markiz w grafie (“The Marquis in the Network”) he first argues how game ...
Clara Diaz Sanchez's user avatar
8 votes
Accepted

What part of the valley is the "mouth", in this passage from the Witcher series?

In English, the "mouth" of a river means essentially its ending, the furthest downstream part, where the river flows into some larger body of water such as a sea or a lake. Similarly, the ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
  • 72.3k
7 votes
Accepted

"You have to take pains so the goods won't go off" from The Witcher

Both parts of the phrase here are used in their dictionary meaning, but in a sarcastically sadistic manner, as with many things with Bonhart. "To take pains" means to try very hard. One ...
Gallifreyan's user avatar
  • 8,375
6 votes
Accepted

Looking for an Aeschylus quote mistranslated from Polish

It sounds very like lines 31–34 of Prometheus Bound: ἀνθ᾽ ὧν ἀτερπῆ τήνδε φρουρήσεις πέτραν ὀρθοστάδην, ἄυπνος, οὐ κάμπτων γόνυ: πολλοὺς δ᾽ ὀδυρμοὺς καὶ γόους ἀνωφελεῖς φθέγξῃ […] In the ...
Gareth Rees's user avatar
  • 55.2k
6 votes
Accepted

Is Vilgefortz more than human?

Vilgefortz was a prodigy Many people describe Vlgefortz as extremely talented man - he is young (relatively speaking) but already obtained considerable power. On top of that, one of his parents was a ...
Yasskier's user avatar
  • 2,070
6 votes
Accepted

Did Captain Pirx make a joke in base 13?

Yes… I don't get it. It occurs in Pirx pilóta kalandjai (orig title. Opowieści o pilocie Pirxie; in Stanisław Lem teljes science-fiction univerzuma vol. 2, (2006) Szukits könyvkiadó, translator ...
b_jonas's user avatar
  • 1,770
4 votes

Understanding the use of the word "Negress" in the Kilmartin and Cox translation of Solaris

Here's the original Polish text of this passage (plus half a sentence as the sentence breaks are different in the translation). I highlighted the sentence that was translated as “A giant Negress was ...
Gilles 'SO- stop being evil''s user avatar
4 votes
Accepted

Who collected Dandilion's songs in written books?

Most likely it was the poet himself: Dandilion is not just a simple troubadour wandering through the countries following Geralt, he graduated with honours the Oxenfurt University, then he has spent ...
Yasskier's user avatar
  • 2,070
4 votes

What is being satirized in Witold Gombrowicz's Trans-Atlantyk?

According to George Z. Gasyna, Trans-Atlantuk (...) parodies utopian landscapes of collectivities and dismantles the cultural conditions that call for them. Gombrowicz's second novel, further, ...
Tsundoku's user avatar
  • 44.5k
3 votes
Accepted

Why is Szymborska's "Tarsier" sometimes written (in translation) with simplistic grammar?

I think the first translation you mention is more accurate. Still, omitting comma in first line and adding in last would be more accurate, and here is why: In original it's Ja tarsjusz syn tarsjusza, ...
Mithoron's user avatar
  • 145
3 votes

What did Lem find in his game-theoretical analysis of the writings of Marquis de Sade?

In lieu of an actual translation of the essay "Markiz w grafie" (which is available online for anyone who reads Polish), we have some description from Lem himself of the game-theoretic ideas ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
  • 72.3k
3 votes

What aspects of Roman Ingarden's theory of literature does Stanisław Lem criticise and how?

Stanisław Lem criticizes Roman Ingarden's theory of literature in his essay The Philosophy of Chance. Specifically, he takes issue with the idea that a literary work can be reduced to its ontological ...
Adzetto's user avatar
  • 320
3 votes

What real word is "havekar" alluding to?

Warning: a speculative answer! "Havekar" doesn't relate to any Polish word For start, there is no letter "v" in the Polish alphabet and "h" is relatively rarely used as a first letter. However, this ...
Yasskier's user avatar
  • 2,070
2 votes

Understanding the use of the word "Negress" in the Kilmartin and Cox translation of Solaris

"You are black? [...] In my country everyone had white skin, so we had to use the shades. My hair were dark so I've been called black" The paraphrased quote above is from "American ...
Yasskier's user avatar
  • 2,070
2 votes

English translation of The Promised Land by Władysław Reymont

An English translation was published in hardback format by A.A. Knopf in 1927, but there appears to be no English translation currently in print. You may have to use the services of a second-hand ...
Mick's user avatar
  • 1,339
2 votes
Accepted

In what sense will "nothing come of" Geralt and Yennefer's relationship?

He means that they will never stay together permanently. Or at least that's Yennefer's conclusion about how to interpret it. She explains as much to Geralt several stories later in "Something ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
  • 72.3k

Only top scored, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible