Saturday, November 15, 2008

Chesterton in parallel / en paralelo

I thought it would be interesting to try something, just to reveal how widespread the Chesterton community is. GKC has followers from many lands, and not all of them are English speaking... so hungry indeed they are for his work that there are translations (and, I am told, good translations) of many of his works. One of the largest (if not the largest) followings is the one whose language is Spanish. Here's just a taste, treating a topic of cosmopolitan interest:

Chesterton en paralelo
De su El Hombre Común, 96-97
Traduccíon de Ana María Díaz

Seria una linda fantasía que el estilo arquitectónico del tren variara de acuerdo con el país que cruza o visita.
La Estación de Ferrocarril de Pennsylvania, en Nueva York, es una noble y seria muestra de arquitectura y, en realidad, es una especie de saludo a la gran ciudad de Filadelfia, hacia la cual están dirigidos los portales. Muy bien pudo suceder que lo que se hizo por la estación se hubiera hecho por la locomotora de vapor; y que el diseño y el color del vehículo cambiara de acuerdo con el luger hacia dónde se dirigia; a las antiguas ciudades francesas o a las llanuras de los pieles rojas; a las nieves de Alaska o a los naranjales de Florida. En realidad, me parece que hubiera habido macho más simbolismo poético, en cien formas distintas, probablemente guardado par ritos y dedicado a los dioses o santos patronos, si la locomotora de vapor hubiera sido inventada por los antiguos griegos o por los cristianos de la Edad Media y no por los filisteos de la época victoriana.

Chesterton in parallel
From his The Common Man, 110

It would be a pleasing fancy if the architectural style of the train varied according to the country it was crossing or visiting. The Pennsylvania Railway Station in New York is a noble and serious piece of architecture; and it is really a sort of salute to the great city of Philadelphia towards which its gates are set. It might quite well have fallen out that what was done for the station could be done for the steam-engine; and the very design and colour of the vehicle vary according to whether it was going to the old French cities or the Red Indian plains; to the snows of Alaska or the orange-groves of Florida. Indeed I think there would have been much poetic symbolism in a hundred forms, probably guarded by rituals and dedicated to gods or patron saints, if it had so happened that the steam-engine was discovered by ancient Greeks or medieval Christians, and not by the Philistines of the Victorian time.


  1. Hi Dr. Thursday,

    In Spain, there is a new edition of "Lo que esta mal en el mundo" (What's Wrong With the World), and several other titles like "El Hombre Eterno" (The Everlasting Man).

    Thanks to Dale's connections, I was able to obtain a copy of the last Spanish language edition of "The Outline of Sanity" (El perfil de la cordura) from 1952 (Buenos Aires).

    Unfortunately, it has been tough to find a publisher interested in a new edition of this work.

    I have received word from French author Philippe Maxence, author of "L'Univers de Chesterton," that a French language version of "The Outline of Sanity" will be released shortly.

    Lo que esta mal en el mundo

    L'Univers de Chesterton

  2. Wonderful! Thanks, Richard. I myself have a small handful of Spanish titles, and I know that Dale Ahlquist has a very compact "collection" of GKC in Spanish.

    If anyone happens to stumble across such foreign-language editions, please do let us know, so we can report them in a future installment of our "guide".


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