Byłem jak szara, nieoświetlona arena

zzjing

Member
Chinese - Mandarin
This passage is a bit difficult to figure out:
Byłem jak szara, nieoświetlona arena. Pustce tej asystował ze wszech stron tłum niewidzialnych widzów, amfiteatralnie wezbrany wokół milczenia, w którym rozwiewała się ironiczna wzgarda dla Sartoriusa i Misji. Napięcie wewnętrznych obserwatorów pożądliwych odegrania zaimprowizowanej roli słabło.​

New English translation:

I was like a dark, unlit stage. The empty space was surrounded on all sides by an invisible crowd of spectators gathered in a circle around a silence filled with an ironic contempt for Sartorius and the Mission. The tension felt by these inner observers, eager to play an improvised role, grew weaker.​

Old English translation (translated from the French):

My mind was an empty grey arena ringed by a crowd of invisible onlookers massed on tiers of seats, attentive, silent, and emanating in their silence an ironic contempt for Sartorius and the Mission. What should I improvise for these spectators?​

Obviously, the new translation is closer to the original, but how accurate is it? I'm particularly puzzled by the part "amfiteatralnie wezbrany wokół milczenia" and the meaning of the word "rozwiewała się" used here.
 
  • Ben Jamin

    Senior Member
    Polish
    I think that the "new translation" is very accurate and well formulated. The "old" one takes too many liberties, caused either by a quick and sloppy translation work , or by a poor understanding of the original text.
     

    zzjing

    Member
    Chinese - Mandarin
    I think that the "new translation" is very accurate and well formulated. The "old" one takes too many liberties, caused either by a quick and sloppy translation work , or by a poor understanding of the original text.
    One factor for the sloppiness of the old translation is due to the fact that it was translated secondhand from the French, and it probably took a lot of liberties while doing that as well.
     

    zzjing

    Member
    Chinese - Mandarin
    I'm still not quite sure about the word "rozwiewała się". Looking it up in the PWN and with the help of Google Translate, I get:

    rozwiać się — rozwiewać się​
    1. "to be scattered by gusts of wind"​
    2. «disappear, scattering in the wind»
    3. "to wind up in the wind"
    4. "about thoughts, feelings: to change as a result of confrontation with reality"​

    From lektorek.org, I get:

    rozwiać ‑wieję ‑jesz pf, impf rozwiewać blow, scatter, dispel. ~ się blow away, dissipate​

    Also, is this contempt present in the silence or in the audience? And where is the silence located exactly?
     

    anthox

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    Not a native speaker, but I've done some translating from Pol to Eng, so I'll try to parse this sentence.

    "Pustce tej asystował ze wszech stron tłum niewidzialnych widzów, amfiteatralnie wezbrany wokół milczenia, w którym rozwiewała się ironiczna wzgarda dla Sartoriusa i Misji."

    Polish inflections allow for flexible word order, but we can rearrange to try to make the grammar more clear:

    "Tłum niewidzialnych widzów asystował za wszech stron tej pustce, wezbrany amfiteatralnie wokół milczenia, w którym ironiczna wzgarda dla Sartorius i Misji rozwiewała się."

    Literally, "A crowd of unseen spectators were present on all sides of this emptiness, rising/swelling up in a circle around the silence, in which an ironic contempt for Sartorius and the Mission was blowing about/dissipating."

    For "rozwiewała się," I feel like perhaps more context is needed. I have read this novel, in English, but many years ago, so my memory of the details is not fresh. Is this at a point where Kelvin's contempt lessens/dissipates? Because in figurative contexts, this phrase usually signals the fading or dissolving of an emotion: "Groza rozwiewała się" (My fear was beginning to fade); "Nadzieja, jaką rozbudził w sobie jadąc tu, powoli rozwiewała się" (The hope that had awakened in him on the way there dissipated); etc. On the other hand, perhaps the sentence could indicate that in the charged silence of this metaphorical stage, his contempt is "blowing/scattering about," like leaves in wind, for example.

    The overall figurative quality of the passage makes it a bit tough to parse, since it's just representing an abstract mental state of Kelvin's. The "silence" is imagined to be on the figurative "stage" of himself, around which these unseen spectators (not sure who/what they are supposed to represent) are gathered. The contempt is present "in" or "amid" the silence (...milczenia, w którym...), as the sole emotion he is experiencing apart from this "emptiness."
     

    Ben Jamin

    Senior Member
    Polish
    Not a native speaker, but I've done some translating from Pol to Eng, so I'll try to parse this sentence.

    "Pustce tej asystował ze wszech stron tłum niewidzialnych widzów, amfiteatralnie wezbrany wokół milczenia, w którym rozwiewała się ironiczna wzgarda dla Sartoriusa i Misji."

    Polish inflections allow for flexible word order, but we can rearrange to try to make the grammar more clear:

    "Tłum niewidzialnych widzów asystował za wszech stron tej pustce, wezbrany amfiteatralnie wokół milczenia, w którym ironiczna wzgarda dla Sartorius i Misji rozwiewała się."

    Literally, "A crowd of unseen spectators were present on all sides of this emptiness, rising/swelling up in a circle around the silence, in which an ironic contempt for Sartorius and the Mission was blowing about/dissipating."

    For "rozwiewała się," I feel like perhaps more context is needed. I have read this novel, in English, but many years ago, so my memory of the details is not fresh. Is this at a point where Kelvin's contempt lessens/dissipates? Because in figurative contexts, this phrase usually signals the fading or dissolving of an emotion: "Groza rozwiewała się" (My fear was beginning to fade); "Nadzieja, jaką rozbudził w sobie jadąc tu, powoli rozwiewała się" (The hope that had awakened in him on the way there dissipated); etc. On the other hand, perhaps the sentence could indicate that in the charged silence of this metaphorical stage, his contempt is "blowing/scattering about," like leaves in wind, for example.

    The overall figurative quality of the passage makes it a bit tough to parse, since it's just representing an abstract mental state of Kelvin's. The "silence" is imagined to be on the figurative "stage" of himself, around which these unseen spectators (not sure who/what they are supposed to represent) are gathered. The contempt is present "in" or "amid" the silence (...milczenia, w którym...), as the sole emotion he is experiencing apart from this "emptiness."
    Ad you can see in other posts about Solaris Lem uses a very individual language, and his verbs are often used in a opposite meaning than the expected standard one. This is valid mostly for verbs with the prefix roz-, which is ambiguous in Polish, and has different meaning in different verbs.
     

    zzjing

    Member
    Chinese - Mandarin
    Not a native speaker, but I've done some translating from Pol to Eng, so I'll try to parse this sentence.

    "Pustce tej asystował ze wszech stron tłum niewidzialnych widzów, amfiteatralnie wezbrany wokół milczenia, w którym rozwiewała się ironiczna wzgarda dla Sartoriusa i Misji."

    Polish inflections allow for flexible word order, but we can rearrange to try to make the grammar more clear:

    "Tłum niewidzialnych widzów asystował za wszech stron tej pustce, wezbrany amfiteatralnie wokół milczenia, w którym ironiczna wzgarda dla Sartorius i Misji rozwiewała się."

    Literally, "A crowd of unseen spectators were present on all sides of this emptiness, rising/swelling up in a circle around the silence, in which an ironic contempt for Sartorius and the Mission was blowing about/dissipating."

    For "rozwiewała się," I feel like perhaps more context is needed. I have read this novel, in English, but many years ago, so my memory of the details is not fresh. Is this at a point where Kelvin's contempt lessens/dissipates? Because in figurative contexts, this phrase usually signals the fading or dissolving of an emotion: "Groza rozwiewała się" (My fear was beginning to fade); "Nadzieja, jaką rozbudził w sobie jadąc tu, powoli rozwiewała się" (The hope that had awakened in him on the way there dissipated); etc. On the other hand, perhaps the sentence could indicate that in the charged silence of this metaphorical stage, his contempt is "blowing/scattering about," like leaves in wind, for example.

    The overall figurative quality of the passage makes it a bit tough to parse, since it's just representing an abstract mental state of Kelvin's. The "silence" is imagined to be on the figurative "stage" of himself, around which these unseen spectators (not sure who/what they are supposed to represent) are gathered. The contempt is present "in" or "amid" the silence (...milczenia, w którym...), as the sole emotion he is experiencing apart from this "emptiness."
    Thank you for the detailed reply. It's most helpful.

    From the context, it seems to me that Kelvin's contempt was not dissipating. He was not thinking about the Mission as instructed by Sartorius, but about Harey instead.
     
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