« EelmineJätka »
I HAVE heard many a time learned and sensible people complain of the want of a book for teaching, as an art, the youth of this country the higher, as well as the intermediate, kind of French composition. I thought, too, that a work, containing extracts from those authors whose names stand highest in English literature, to be turned into French, could not fail to be eminently useful, if properly executed.
Such a selection I have undertaken, and now offer to the public.
Many conditions were required to make a work of this sort one of thoroughly practical utility.
In the first place, some help was required to enable young persons to translate too difficult passages. In the help given, in the shape of renderings, I felt that the French ought to be, not only genuine and good, but at least as pure and elegant, in a literary point of view, as the English to which it was to correspond. To that end, and to make the work still more worthy of the confidence of the public, I secured the valuable services of several of the most celebrated French writers, whose assistance I cannot but acknowledge in the highest terms—in other words, I consulted the best modern French translations, whenever an English work, from which I had taken
extracts, had been translated. These literary celebrities, from whom I have thus obtained so serviceable a co-operation, are :—the late M. Charles Nodier, MM. Villemain and Aignan (of the Institute of France), MM. Léon de Wailly, Benjamin Laroche, Defauconpret, Amédée Pichot, and others.
I may add, however, and, I hope, without incurring the reproach of vanity, that I have had occasionally to alter some of the renderings of these gentlemen,-not to amend the style, as will be readily supposed, but to make the translation fit the text, in cases where they had obviously mistaken the meaning of the English.
In the second place, not satisfied with presenting, as has been done hitherto, a mere rendering of difficulties at the foot of each page, in a routine-like way, and just as if pupils should not even be supposed to think, I have addressed myself to the understanding of the student, and given a number of notes raisonnées, explanatory, suggestive, grammatical, critical, and literary. My chief aim in this has been, to stimulate his intelligence, exercise his reasoning faculties, and improve his taste,--to teach him, in short, practically, the art of writing, so far as French is concerned.
In the third place, in order to show to the student what liberty may and must be allowed in translating, and also what variety of expression the French language admits of, I have, in many instances, given several renderings of the same phrase or expression. This is the plan which was adopted by the late M. Tarver, French master at Eton College, in his Phraseological Dictionary of the English and French Languages ; and I think it not only