It’s been awhile since i read The Manuscript Found in Saragossa. I almost forgot the weird rush wondering what the hell that book was, wondering why i’d never heard of it before. and how it could be such a sprawling wreck of greatness.
Somehow the news, until i ran across it on Wikipedia:
Rosset and Triaire identified two versions of the novel: one unfinished, of 1804, published in 1805; and the full version of 1810, which appears to have been completely reconceived in comparison to the 1804 version. Whereas the first version has a lighter, more skeptical tone, the second one tends toward a darker, more religious mood. In view of the differences between the two versions, the 1804 and 1810 versions have been published as two separate books; paperback editions were issued in early 2008 by Flammarion.
I’ve forgotten which version Ian Maclean used, but i read someone on Amazon arguing that Elizabeth Abbot’s 1962 (?) English translation was better anyway. Tracking down more people championing Abbott’s translation is probably going to be a dead end.
Also, has anyone ever translated Potocki’s travel writings into English? It’s bad enough that i need to learn Spanish, and have been too lazy to follow through, but French is likely completely beyond me. My suspicions that these writings would be interesting too were confirmed when i stumbled across the blog Limited, Inc. in looking for new leads to pursue. He has several Jan Potocki posts, including Potocki corresponding with Joseph de Maistre and Potocki recording the traditions of the Kalmucks (in 1797!)
Jan Potocki…. a strange man who i understand even less the more that i read these fragments.