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Colin Carlile and Don Quijote

Lo que sigue es seguramente incomprensible para cualquier persona no enrollada con la competencia desorejada para conseguir la Fuente de Neutrones por Espalación. No pienso dedicar ni un minuto en hablar de la naturaleza de esa gran instalación cientí­fica ni en cantar sus ventajas par quien consiga su emplazamiento; pero no puedo dejar de publicar este post dedicado a mi querido contrincante Colin Carlile.

The proof of the pudding is in the eating is a well known quotation mentioned by Colin as the final touch of ESS-Lund answer to the Zinsli questionaire.

It is quite difficult to understand te meaning of that refrain in this context but several possibilities arise. It may mean that it is time to forget about niceties and hand waving and decide the location of the fountain once and for all. That saying may add to this meaning the suggestion that Sweden has already cooked enough puddings as to be a reliable pudding maker. Or, in terms of idioms, it seems to be equivalent to seeing is believing or actions speak louder than words. In that sense I canot but agree with my friend Colin in that the different possible candidatures have to be examined in situ. Any decission based on any a priori reasoning is certainly ruled out by the expression.

But agreeing with Colin is no fun. Therefore let us shy away from meaning and let us concentrate in literery criticism. What we have here is a problem of reverse engineering. It would be indeed quite interesting to first know the Cervantes original wording, then fix reliably how it was translated and, finally, how we could translate it back to spanish. This exercise wiil be a modest contribution to the study of the well documented influence of Don Quijote ´s translation on english literature.

But the exercise cannot be carried to fruiton because Colin Carlile does not provide the exact reference. Shame for the rigourous scientist in him! However this first difficulty can be easily be overcome by going to Bartletts quotations. There we learn that Cervantes supposedly wrote this particular refrain in chapater xxiv of the second part of his main work. Well, no such quotation or phrase is present in the translation I was able to get hold of. And I cannot belive that it disappeared from a particularly late translation while existing in a previous one.

When we go back to the spanish text of this particular chapter it is quite impossible to gess what could have possibly been the original phrase. So we seem to be at a loss in terms of literary erudition and I do think it is Colin ´s job to clarify it. Certainly it is not mine.

However I can add something to continue the converasation. In the spanish text there is though an expression which seems to me quite to the point and was translated as: patience and suffle. So dear Colin be patient and let us go on with our little game of hide and seek

“Paciencia y barajar”, esa maravillosa expresión castellana, sí­ que está en El Quijote y representa muy bien la que yo creo es la mejor estrategia del recién llegado ante el maestro. Me recuerda a aquella pelí­cula de quizá Norman Jewison que quizá fue iniciada por Sam Pekcinpah y que creo se llamaba Cincinatti Kid. En ella el jugador de poker que viene pegando reta al viejo campeón. Espero que no recuerden el final.


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