Peter Harvey has discovered two spacious rooms, lightly high in the Alhambra.
“Room of the beds” is the literal translation of “Sala de las camas,” which must lead not a few visitors to giggle and wonder what the difference is between a “room of the beds” and a bedroom. Traditional use in English for such spaces, often assumed by orientalists with imperialist agendas, pace Edward Said, to be regal knocking-shops, favours the evocative “chamber of repose,” although you’d still have to drop “real,” royal, in this layout.
How did the hall acquire its name? I don’t think Washington Irving bothered about it, although he rather liked the view of the Vega from the tower-top. But a brief trawl fails to discover it in pre-mid-19th century Spanish. So were its name and function in fact dreamed up by an English-speaking tourist or a French army captain, translated poorly into Spanish once they realised there was money to be made and then back again? Is all human communication in fact an out-of-hand game of Chinese whispers? Etc etc.
- Bread made of Catalan woman
Someone once told the English that “tapas bar” was Spanish for “exotic chav drinking hole”. El Sabio in Winchester has taken Alfonso, our royal name, in vain and concocted a quasi-Spanish menu that proves nothing more than that they are perfectly suited to running an English-style tapas bar. Pan de Catalana (which they believe is made with …
- He would an elegy compose / On maggots squeez’d out of his nose
Samuel Butler on a writer of doggerel.
- Rhyme vs reason
Restif de la Bretonne goes one step beyond Shakespeare and says that poetry is the language of Gods and beasts, and that reason speaks in prose.
- In which the Catalan authorities ask me to do something in Spanish rather than English
Actually, I’d better not go into the details, but it’s all most curious.
Until you recall that the vast majority of “English teachers” employed by the Generalitat are beginners (and not just in English), and that the considerable local population of infra-employed English mother-tonguers (I hope that’s not rude) are in practice ineligible to join their