Thursday, January 19, 2006

NYT: fact or fiction

From a discussion of the factuality of Elie Wiesel's Night:
In the previous translation, published in 1960, the narrator tells a fellow prisoner that he is "not quite 15." But the scene takes place in 1944. Mr. Wiesel, born on Sept. 30, 1928, would have already been 15, going on 16. In the new edition, when asked his age, he replies, "15."

"At no point did this change the meaning and the fact of anything in the book," Ms. Wiesel said. "When I worked on the book, I kidded Elie and told him, 'I don't think you can add.' "

Such arguably insignificant details have at times been seized upon by critics, however. In his 1999 book, "Imagining the Holocaust," Daniel R. Schwarz, a professor of English and a Stephen H. Weiss Presidential Fellow at Cornell University, wrote, "Is not this age discrepancy one reason why we ought to think of 'Night' as a novel as well as a memoir?"
Does Schwarz think we're idiots? Is there a there there but this article is wildly inadequate? I ask because I read this note on the flap about the WaPo's ombudsman's disgraceful showing the last few days. According to Atrios and LacDogFeu, the WaPo's claim that the blog had to be shut down due to hateful and profane comments is absurd, and at the very least one gets no idea from the NYT's note what the issue even is.


Post a Comment

<< Home