Fates Worse Than Death - Chapter 18 Summary & Analysis

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Vonnegut's favorite dirty joke is told in cockney by his late Russian translator, Rita Rait. An eccentric British millionaire dies and leaves an enormous prize for the wittiest original limerick. When the BBC refuses to broadcast the bawdy winner, Churchill gets it recited, using the empty sound "dah" for any offending syllable. It contains four lines of "dah" followed by "Dah dah dah dah fucking cunt." Rait chirps that as a non-native speaker she can say whatever she pleases, no matter how dirty. Vonnegut, who advocates paying translators the same royalties as authors, addresses a gathering of translators at Columbia University in 1983. His first work to be translated is Player Piano, into German in 1964. The translator, Wulf H. Bergner, is so familiar with American English that he asks no questions, and people say it is a fine rendering. Vonnegut...

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This section contains 433 words
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Buy the Fates Worse Than Death Study Guide
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