Sketches New and Old

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Author: Mark Twain

In English. Then in French. Then Clawed Back Into a Civilized Language Once More by Patient, Unremunerated Toil.

Even a criminal is entitled to fair play; and certainly when a man who has done no harm has been unjustly treated, he is privileged to do his best to right himself. My attention has just beep called to an article some three years old in a French Magazine entitled, ’Revue des Deux Mondes’ (Review of Some Two Worlds), wherein the writer treats of "Les Humoristes Americaines" (These Humorist Americans). I am one of these humorists American dissected by him, and hence the complaint I am making.

This gentleman’s article is an able one (as articles go, in the French, where they always tangle up everything to that degree that when you start into a sentence you never know whether you are going to come out alive or not). It is a very good article and the writer says all manner of kind and complimentary things about me—for which I am sure thank him with all my heart; but then why should he go and spoil all his praise by one unlucky experiment? What I refer to is this: he says my jumping Frog is a funny story, but still he can’t see why it should ever really convulse any one with laughter—and straightway proceeds to translate it into French in order to prove to his nation that there is nothing so very extravagantly funny about it. Just there is where my complaint originates. He has not translated it at all; he has simply mixed it all up; it is no more like the jumping Frog when he gets through with it than I am like a meridian of longitude. But my mere assertion is not proof; wherefore I print the French version, that all may see that I do not speak falsely; furthermore, in order that even the unlettered may know my injury and give me their compassion, I have been at infinite pains and trouble to retranslate this French version back into English; and to tell the truth I have well-nigh worn myself out at it, having scarcely rested from my work during five days and nights. I cannot speak the French language, but I can translate very well, though not fast, I being selfeducated. I ask the reader to run his eye over the original English version of the jumping Frog, and then read the French or my retranslation, and kindly take notice how the Frenchman has riddled the grammar. I think it is the worst I ever saw; and yet the French are called a polished nation. If I had a boy that put sentences together as they do, I would polish him to some purpose. Without further introduction, the jumping Frog, as I originally wrote it, was as follows [after it will be found the French version —(French version is deleted from this edition)—, and after the latter my retranslation from the French]

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Chicago: Mark Twain, "In English. Then in French. Then Clawed Back Into a Civilized Language Once More by Patient, Unremunerated Toil.," Sketches New and Old, trans. Hapgood, Isabel Florence, 1850-1928 in Sketches New and Old (London: Effingham Wilson, Royal Exchange, 1920), Original Sources, accessed April 21, 2018, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=CR6YANIFE7GX236.

MLA: Twain, Mark. "In English. Then in French. Then Clawed Back Into a Civilized Language Once More by Patient, Unremunerated Toil." Sketches New and Old, translted by Hapgood, Isabel Florence, 1850-1928, in Sketches New and Old, London, Effingham Wilson, Royal Exchange, 1920, Original Sources. 21 Apr. 2018. www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=CR6YANIFE7GX236.

Harvard: Twain, M, 'In English. Then in French. Then Clawed Back Into a Civilized Language Once More by Patient, Unremunerated Toil.' in Sketches New and Old, trans. . cited in 1920, Sketches New and Old, Effingham Wilson, Royal Exchange, London. Original Sources, retrieved 21 April 2018, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=CR6YANIFE7GX236.