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Victorian Translators of Verne: Stephen W. White and William Struthers Revealed By Norman Wolcott and Kieran O’Driscoll May 2008.

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Presentation on theme: "Victorian Translators of Verne: Stephen W. White and William Struthers Revealed By Norman Wolcott and Kieran O’Driscoll May 2008."— Presentation transcript:

1 Victorian Translators of Verne: Stephen W. White and William Struthers Revealed By Norman Wolcott and Kieran O’Driscoll May 2008

2 Stephen W. White, William Struthers I. * The Tour of the World in Eighty Days, tr. by Stephen W. White, Philadelphia Evening Telegraph: June 27, July 17, 1874; reprinted (with deletions) by Charles E. Warburton (Bound together with II.) II. A Fancy of Doctor Ox, tr. by Stephen W. White, Philadelphia Evening Telegraph, June 20, 1874: reprinted by Warburton, (Bound together with I.)

3 Stephen W. White, William Struthers III. * A Journey to the Centre of the Earth, tr. by Stephen W. White, Philadelphia Evening Telegraph: Sept. 12, 1874—Oct. 5, 1874, reprinted by Warburton. (Bound together with IV.) IV. A Winter’s Sojourn in the Ice, tr. by William Struthers, Philadelphia Evening Telegraph: Oct. 6, 1874—Oct. 10, 1874, reprinted by Charles E. Warburton. (Bound together with III.) V. *Mysterious Island, Philadelphia Evening Telegraph: 1876, republished Project Gutenberg: 2003 (N. Wolcott and Sidney Kravitz, eds.)

4 Stephen W. White Operated a translation business in Philadelphia near Evening Telegraph office “Phonographer and Translator” who "will furnish on short notice and at reasonable terms, Phonographic reports and Translations of German and French legal and other documents." Translated literally as in a legal document, with no embellishments

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6 Background NAJVS Meeting in Albuquerque—Kieran O’Driscoll’s talk Kieran working on PhD after Towle Needed a 2 nd Translation of 80 Days Suggested Stephen White as available Kieran finds a copy

7 Kieran’s Response "I have been studying sections of the White translation of TM (80 Days) in detail and find it to be generally of a meticulously accurate standard, and as literal as possible, consistent with the natural TL (Target Language) formulation...“ /09/07 White might be entitled to an upgrade from the black ball he received for his Mysterious Island translation.

8 Stephen White’s Occupation Kieran’s 17 October 2007: “…White's occupation is listed on that 1880 Census as 'Secretary - N.C.R.R.'... my hypothesis thus far is that it may refer to the North Carolina Railroad Company” NW—“No, too far from Philadelphia”

9 1910 Census On 11/18/2007 I wrote: Kieran, hold your breath! “In the 1910 census...the address is listed as 70 Broad St. At the right in handwriting beside SWW under occupation is -- "Secy of Northern Central RR” Mystery solved, but where was the RR? Try Wikipedia!

10 Northern Central Railway One of the oldest railroads in the country operating , from Baltimore, MD to York PA and later beyond to Harrisburg PA and north to Lake Ontario. Controlling interest acquired by Pennsylvania RR in 1861 Lincoln rode Railway 3 times Inauguration, Gettysburg, Funeral Cortege Only connection to North during Civil War (no bridge over the Susquehanna)

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12 Northern Central Railway II Passenger service terminated in 1957 and line abandoned after hurricane Agnes PA portion rebuilt for freight, 1985 Abandoned 1996, operated as a dinner train “Liberty Limited” until 2001 when shut down Line from Baltimore to York now a bike trail, Northern Central and York County Heritage Trail

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14 Heritage Bike Trail from Baltimore MD to York PA

15 Kieran’s of 2007/11/09 On White "...his "problem-solving" approach to translating Verne, his straight- forward language transfer of Verne's French without the creative, literary, and non-imitative embellishments of other translators such as Desages, Towle, or Glencross." Then nothing until spring

16 Pay Dirt On 2008/04/14 a google search reveals: "History of the Pennsylvania Railroad Company: with plan of Organization", published by Henry T. Coates, 1895 On Page 52 of Volume II we find the biography of Stephen W. White, and on page 51 we have a full page spread of the photos of four people, one of whom is Stephen W. White.

17 Stephen W White 1895

18 White Biography Born July 16, 1840 in Philadelphia Entered Central High School February, 1854, from Jefferson Grammar School Graduated February, 1858, as Bachelor of Arts at the head of his class Later received the degree of Master of Arts from the High School 1858—1870 Shorthand clerk, bookkeeper, editor of Sunday School paper

19 White Biography II 1870—1873 Private secretary to the banker Jay Cooke, remaining with him until after the bankruptcy of the firm in the Panic of 1873.(18 September 1873). 1873—Sets up translating business 1875— Enters railroad service as Assistant Secretary of the Northern Central Railway, (a position he held until his retirement). Later appointed to numerous boards of sections of the Pennsylvania Railroad.

20 White Biography III Active churchman in the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania Published some excellent translations from the German and the French "His writings are all clean and terse, displaying careful study and methodical arrangement, resultants of his early training in stenography, in which science he is not only an expert but an accomplished devotee (my italics)."

21 Translators of Verne in need of Money Lewis Page Mercier ( ) Stephen W. White ( ) Mrs Agnes Kinloch Kingston ( ) Agnes Dundas Kingston ( ) Mrs Frances Cashel Hoey ( ) How did White acquire his BA, MA (Kieran) and literary skills?

22 Central High School of Philadelphia (Wikipedia) Only high school in US with authority, by Act of Assembly in 1849, to grant academic degrees Curriculum included mathematics, physics, natural science, chemistry, French, German, Latin, Greek, and drawing. Now a magnet school in Philadelphia

23 Notable Alumni of Central HS Ignatius Donnelly (Atlantis myth) Noam Chomsky (linguistics) Bill Cosby (humorist) Frank Stockton (writer) Douglas Feith (Invasion of Iraq) Alexander Woolcott (columnist, author) Jeremiah Wright (Obama’s nemesis)

24 From History of Central HS "I would mention my indebtedness to the study of phonography, which we were taught by Professor Kirkpatrick during the first two terms. He was very successful in the imparting of a thorough knowledge of shorthand, and it has had a very important bearing on the major portion of my business career."—Stephen W. White

25 History of Central HS II “Professor Roesse... I recall now with much pleasure the time spent with him in reading Schiller and Goethe, to say nothing of some of the minor poets. Stephen W. White, of the Thirty-first Class, was a student with me in these private lessons, and was the most apt of any of us in acquiring the German Language."

26 Summary Clearly not a hack writer, he was a literate product of the American public schools capable of comparison and perhaps superior to many of the translators employed by Sampson Low in England. His training in phonography gave him an excellent ear for languages, supplementing his academic achievements. Unfortunately we do not have any indication of his other translations from the German, but at least he has emerged as a real person, and no longer just a footnote in a library catalogue.

27 William Struthers, the Poet (October 14, 1854—1930+) Born October 14, 1854 Grandson of John Struthers, in marble busines Son of John S. Struthers, b. January 1827 John a Railway conductor in Newark, 1860, 34 Bank Clerk, Philadelphia, 1890 age 73 Grandmother a cousin of Harriet Beecher Stowe Father served in Pennsylvania cavalry in war Family lived together encamped in Washington Later wrote poems about camp life

28 Willliam The Poet, Continued Family moved to Baltimore, NJ, then back to Philadelphia Privately educated, an invalid Listed occupation as “Musical Critic” 1890, 45 yr Never functionally “employed” Translated from the French, Italian, and Spanish Could not raise voice above a whisper (1890) Wrote mostly sonnets Lived on until after 1930 Only Victorian poet who might have translated Verne

29 The Poet, Commentary From Magazine of Poetry, 1890 “—In his early years he was a delicate creature, with too slender a hold on life for his father to entrust him with books; and though he managed to weather through the years to manhood, it was with the struggle of an invalid, too powerless even now to raise his voice above a whisper. Yet he is an accomplished scholar and linguist... As a writer of original verse his pleasing poems, sonnets, rondeaus, etc.,have made his name familiar. —J. W., editor

30 Poetry of William Struthers Transcriptions from Art and Nature, 96 p., Philadelphia, London: Drexel Biddle, 1902 Lyric Moods and Tenses, Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott, 1910 Rythmic Soliloquies, Philadelphia: Wm. F. Fell, 1910 (reprinted in part from various periodicals)

31 Walt Whitman, 1901 The paling stars proclaimed another day— He fell asleep when in the century's skies With smiling lips and trustful, dauntless eyes; He. genial still, amidst the chill and gray, He. the Columbus of a vast emprise, Whose realization in the future lay: He. who stepped from the well-worn, narrow way To walk with Poetry in larger guise. The years announce him in a new born age; And fortunate, despite of transient griefs, The ship of his fair fame, past crags and reefs, Sails bravely on. and less and less the rage Of gainsaying winds becomes; while to his phrase The world each day gives ampler heed and praise!

32 William Struthers, Jr the Millionaire William Struthers, son of John Struthers Grew the marble & architectural business Awarded $5 million contract for city work His son William Struthers, Jr. b. June 1848, became a millionaire—cousin of poet Lived in Europe, Retired early, early member of the “Jekyll Island Club”, May 20, 1877; re-elected 1895 Built “Moss Cottage” on Jekyll Island 1896 First person to bring an automobile onto the Island; had to remove it for noise

33 Moss Cottage 1896

34 William Struthers, the Translator? Only 20 yrs old at time of translation Member of famous “Struthers” family Akin to “Kennedy’s” today “Wm Struthers” name would help circulation of paper White’s business would benefit from association with “Struthers” White active in church & community

35 One may question whether the 20 year old invalid was indeed capable of this translation (as I did at first). But unless another William Struthers is found, of the current period, in Philadelphia, (and none seem to appear in the census) with a literary background and knowledge of three languages I believe we must accept the fact that

36 William Struthers, the Poet, has indeed translated Jules Verne !

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