Monday, January 18, 2010

Motteux on Bartleby's

§12. Motteux and his Translation of "Rabelais". X. Writers of Burlesque and Translators. Vol. 9. From Steele and Addison to Pope and Swift. The Cambridge History of English and American Literature: An Encyclopedia in Eighteen Volumes. 1907–21

"If he won the approval of Dryden and Steele, he was deemed worthy the rancour of Pope, who celebrates him as a bore,

Talkers I’ve learned to bear, Motteux I knew,
and, in The Art of Sinking, puts him among the eels, “obscene authors that wrap themselves up in their own mud, but are mighty nimble and pert.” And then, to prove an astonishing adaptability, Motteux turned an honest tradesman, and sold China and Japan wares “cheap for a quick return.” He did not return to the craft of letters, and, after six years of honourable dealing, died a mysterious and shameful death."

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