The Sphinx of the Ice Realm
The First Complete English Translation, with the Full Text of The Narrative
of Arthur Gordon Pym by Edgar Allan Poe
Translator & Editor: Frederick Paul Walter. Albany, NY: SUNY Press, 2012. 435
pages. some illus.
Hardcover — ISBN-10: 1438442114, ISBN-13: 978-1438442112
Softcover — ISBN-10: 1438442122, ISBN-13: 978-1438442129
In 1864 Jules Verne wrote an essay on Edgar Allan Poe and his works, in the fourth
chapter he covers Poe’s only novel “The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym
of Nantucket.” In this chapter Verne talks about Poe’s ending of the
novel, which left the reader wondering what happened to Pym. Pym dies before giving
the editor (Poe) the final chapters of his story. Verne asks “Who will ever
take it up again? Somebody more daring than I am,….” Thirty-three years
later Verne himself rose to the challenge with the publication of this tale. As
Verne was a fan of Poe’s works, having read only the French translations,
such as Charles Baudelaire’s translation of Pym, it only seemed natural that
he himself would do it. This might be one of the earliest examples of “fanfic”
(fan fiction). The story itself is good, Verne plausibly brings a conclusion to
the story in his own style.
The edition that contains this story is excellent. The translator and editor Frederick
Paul Walter has provided a fresh and complete translation of Verne’s story
and also included is Poe’s original tale, so if one hasn’t read it before
now they have the opportunity. Also included is a fresh translation of chapter 4
of Verne’s essay on a Poe, a piece on translating Verne, recommend readings
and textual notes to satisfy any scholar.
-- Review by Dennis Kytasaari, originally published on Goodreads.com.
review obtained 12 Oct 2012