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Re: Looking for an Oscar Wilde expert

Posted by David FG on February 20, 2005

In Reply to: Looking for an Oscar Wilde expert posted by R. Julius on February 20, 2005

: I'm editing a translation for "The picture of Dorian Gray"/Oscar Wilde, and there are some words/phrases that Wilde uses and may have a different meaning than the usual one. I would like to make sure that they were translated correctly. If any of you are familiar with his writing, I'd truely appreciate your help

: The first one is the word "trivial", such as in the sentence "Those who are faithful know only the trivial side of love: it is the faithless who know love's tragedies. Does it mean simple?

: Wilde describes the main characters' way of talking as "languid". Does this mean tired?

: I have some more questions, but will send them separately. Many thanks!

I am by no means an expert, but I am familiar with the works of my countryman Oscar Wilde, so I will try my best.

'Trivial' I think means 'uncomplicated', 'superficial' rather than 'simple' here.

'Languid' does mean tired, but not, I think in its usual sense. It is closer to the modern usage 'laid back' - as in relaxed, cool, full of ennui. The whole aesthetic movement of the late 19th Century laid great store by being 'languid', just as modern youth does in being 'cool'.

Hope this is of some help, and I am sure others will be better informed than I.

DFG