Saturday, August 3, 2013

Why I Transcribed a New English Translation of the Vampire of the Carpathian Mountains (aka, The Pale Lady) by Alexander Dumas



In 1848 Alexander Dumas published his scary short story "The Vampire of Carpathian Mountains" (also called "The Pale Lady") in his French short story collection One Thousand and One Ghosts. It is a fantastic book that contains some of the best supernatural tales Dumas ever penned. And if you have at least a reading knowledge of the French language, it is well worth the effort of flagging it down on Gutenberg.org or some other site.

Of course if your French needs a bit of a refresher from high school, it becomes a more difficult task. This is especially true of what I believe to be its signature horror tale: "The Vampire of Carpathian Mountains". When I published BlooDeath: The Best Vampire Stories 1800-1849 in 2011, I included an 1848 translation from the London New Monthly Magazine. It was the rag, after all, that printed John Polidori's "The Vampyre" in 1819, which is also contained in my collection and is considered the first vampire short story to originate in the English language. So I figured the New Monthly Magazine knew a thing or two about vampire stories and would give the English translation the attention it rightly deserved.

Only after I published the classic vampire anthology did I realize I was wrong. It was brought to my attention that the original French version by Dumas included a poem that was nowhere to be found in English translation by theNew Monthly Magazine. Not only that, but the ending seemed rushed. I turned paler than a person under the throes of vampirism. I had done what is a no-no for one of my collections--I had published an abridged version of a classic short story and fallen victim the horrible magazine practice of trying to save space on the printed page.

With the aid of a translator in Montreal and a little help from online translators, I went to work. A month later I had in front of me an English translation of the "Vampire of the Carpathian Mountains" in a form that is much closer to what Dumas originally intended. I immediately updated the ebook versions of the collections and they are live now with the non-abridged story. I hope you enjoy it and forgive my faux pas

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