“Times have changed, all Anne’s are coming to an end.” Emotions surrounding the new translation of “Anne of Green Gables”

  • “Anne of Green Gables” – this is the title of the latest translation of Lucy Maud Montgomery’s book, which we all know as “Anne of Green Gables”. The closest translation to the original was published by Marginesy
  • The adventures of the red-haired Anne Shirley have been touching and entertaining for years. The translator, Anna Bańkowska, was met with a wave of unfavorable comments; Poles and Poles do not like the changes, for example on behalf of the main character or the title of the novel itself
  • “I killed Ania, I demolished the Green Hill and deprived it of a room on the attic. I am asking for a mild punishment, however, considering that someone had to undertake this ungrateful task at one time” – the translator wrote in the introduction
  • The novel by the Canadian writer LM Montgomery “Anne of Green Gables” was published in 1908. The Polish translation was published in 1911 by Rozalia Bernsteinowa; has been criticized for many years for “infantilization, diminutives and distortions”
  • You can find more such stories on the Onet homepage

In the introduction to the book “Anne z Zielonych Szczytów”, a new translation of a book that for several decades has been preserved in the minds of Polish readers as “Anne of Green Gables”, Anna Bańkowska confesses: “I killed Ania, I demolished the Green Hill and deprived it of a room on the attic. However, I am asking for a light sentence, considering that someone had to undertake this ungrateful task at one time. “

In the introduction to the book, she wrote:

The most important – and as it turns out: one of the most controversial – changes concerns the title itself.

Photo: Marginesy Publishing House

Lucy Maud Montgomery – “Anne of Green Peaks” (cover)

A mistake that dragged on for years

The author of the controversial translation decided to convey the original character of the English title. The original book by Lucy Maud Montgomery is entitled “Anne of Green Gables”, with “gable” meaning “peaks.” It is a concept related to the world of architecture. Houses with characteristic “gable” roofs were part of the dominant style in those parts.

“It was Rozalia Bernsteinowa who translated Green Gables as” Green Hill “. How did it happen? During her work, the translator used the Swedish edition of the book and it was there that such a translation was made. Polish Press Agency.

“The word” gable “in Polish has only one meaning – the peak. Of course, it is not a mountain peak, but a triangular wall connecting two parts of a sloping roof. The liquidation of the hill, which never existed, turned out to be a bull’s eye for some, but for others – something like an image of majesty or even profanation. Expecting such a reaction, at the beginning I offered the publishing house a different title. Ultimately, however, we came to the conclusion that if everything is to be in accordance with the author’s intention, this also applies to the title“- adds Bańkowska.

The mansion of Margaret and David Macneill, the prototype of Green Gables
The mansion of Margaret and David Macneill, the prototype of Green Gables

Foto: Alamy Stock Photo / PAP

The mansion of Margaret and David Macneill, the prototype of Green Gables

As she emphasizes, the journals of Lucy Maud Montgomery herself finally decided the matter.

“The writer, who died in 1942, lamented in them that in many translations of her book the word” gables “had not been translated correctly, although it had a personal meaning for her. She even wrote two poems about her” gable room “. that the will of the author is the most important, and the translator’s duty is to respect it “- emphasizes the translator.

Some Polish readers who express their dissatisfaction in social media cannot accept this solution. Critical voices included, among others in the comments under the posts on the website of the publishing house that publishes a new translation of a popular novel.

The taunts of “Climaxing Ani”

“The title is terrible. What and for whom is this literalness supposed to serve?”, “I don’t even know how to read this title – what is it in? Anne or Eni, Ani …? How?”, “New, does not mean that it is better … The title is terrible … so non-literary “, “Times have changed, all Anne’s are at its peak, why not the one from the green hill”, “For me, Ania will always be from Green Gables”, “She’s not from Green Gables anymore? She was from there all her life and let it stay that way” – we read in the comments.

The author of the translation herself referred to the matter in an interview with “Wysokie Obcasy”. “Aggression, which is present in the nation recently, found its reflection in the discussions around the translation. For example, on the Margins page there are sneers in the style of” A peeking Ania “and accusations against me that I am looking for a” cheap applause. ” whether or not to change the name of the profile on FB to »Tania Poklask«. But the fact is that absolute fans of the book also talk about profanation and swear that I will not take this translation into my hands.“- comments Bańkowska.


Foto: Everett Collection / East News

Megan Follows and Colleen Dewhurst in the 1985 screening of Anne of Green Gables.

Distortions and new names

“I think some people will find it hard to come to terms with the restoration of their original names. After all, Anne Shirley was a Canadian living in certain realities, just like the other main characters, remembered by readers as Maryla, Mateusz and Małgorzata. The latter originally bears the name of Rachel, which could in Poland at the beginning of the 20th century mistakenly suggest her Jewish origin, but why the translator also changed her surname, we will not find out anymore “- admits the author of the latest Polish translation.

“During the work, I also noticed that a lot of sentences were omitted in the first translation. There is also the matter of» valerian drops «, which in the original was an anodine, i.e. a fluid for joint pain, as well as imprecise names of plants, not all of which are known in Europe ; as well as the case of the alleged room on the attic, which in fact was simply on the first floor of the house “- added Bańkowska in an interview with PAP.

O komentarz w sprawie nowego tłumaczenia poprosiliśmy wydawnictwo Marginesy. Do momentu publikacji materiału nie dostaliśmy odpowiedzi. 

Sources: PAP, “High heels”, Facebook

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