Bernard Hoepffner


              SIXTEEN VARIATIONS on the translation of Thomas Mann’s
Ein Lebensforn, die sich selber bespräche und untersuche, löse eben damit als Form sich auf, und wahre Existenz habe nur das direkt und unbewusst Seiende.
              Doktor Faustus, Gesammelte Werke, Frankfurt a.M., 1974, Band VI, p.155


A form of life that discusses and examines itself thereby dissolves as a form and only direct and unconscious being has true existence.


Something that holds the sum of the activities of plants and animals and at the same time, either examines in details and by disputation, or looks closely into itself, thereby fades out gradually as that in which the essence of a thing consists; and only an existing person or thing (if it is not backward or oblique, if it is without consciousness) has a state of being adjusted or in tune.


The external appearance of any thing pertaining to the union and cooperation of soul with body, if it clears by disquisition as well as tries the truth and falsehood of itself, thereby falls to nothing as an external appearance; and only the person existing who is not crooked or has no mental perception can be possessed of a being agreeing with facts or the nature of things.


The visible aspect of whatever differentiates a living animal (or plant) from dead or non-living matter that investigates itself by argument, by inspection or by manipulation is therefore — as a visible aspect — reduced to its formative elements; and only that which is conceived as existing without deviations in its course and without awareness of its own qualities holds in its hands a mode of existence steadfast in adherence to a principle.


A modality of existence that argues and scans itself thereby passes away as a modality, and only simple and impotent existence has real presence.


A scribbled form, drawn with a pen,
Of my queen, my life, my wife
(Discuss the same in French unto him)
Woman it pretty self.
Nothing can dissolve us,
Change you to a milder form
Words sweetly placed and modestly directed
Gave me my being
To turn true man and leave these rogues.


A fort of expectancy that disembowls and exchanges itself thereby distorts as a fort and only singular and uncontrollable beliefs have tuneful expectancy.


An informality of suffocation that exorcises and radiates itself thereby translates as an informality, and only future and unchaste shades have medicinal birthrights.


A way of bustle that arranges and drills itself thereby disengage as a way and only forthcoming and lavish systems have a faithful lifetime.


Anyone from the unconscious who believes and descends in himself thereby gets into subjectivity and generally into suffocating and egocentric alleys exposed to blind attacks.


A time out of time that is present and contains time thereby is as time and perhaps present and past time are future time.




a)   A point of pain that is poetry thereby falls into the distance, and so much so that the short and solitary blow becomes beheaded time.
b)   Between two forms of life, oneself is the direct form: so unconscious at the point of its true being that existence dissolves.


A discussion of the truth that forms and exists as a direction thereby lives as a truth, and dissolute and existing examination is its only behaviour.


An arrangement of parts taken from the state of functional activity peculiar to organized matter that examines by argument, investigates and scrutinizes itself, thereby becomes a liquid arrangement of parts by immersion; and only that which exists while being neither crooked nor conscious but straight has a mode of existing in accordance with facts.


The aardvark and the aardwolf have had to abandon and abase the aasvogel, they have had thereby to abash the abactinal and abatable abalones who had abated their abaxial abatures.


The lowering rate of desertion that has dumbfounded and demoralized the natives could thereby result in our success; and only abstruse and ludicrous misuse of it would overcome our increased accession.

16 MAY 1986

Construction de 16 variations.

              Le texte de base, duquel ces 16 variations sont déduites, est une citation de Thomas Mann dont le sens est évidemment contraire au résultat total des 16 variations, bien que…
              Chacune de ces variations est ensuite dérivée du texte original, et ceci de deux façons: pour certaines  il a été fait usage d'un dictionnaire — chaque fois différent — en utilisant plusieurs techniques: ou bien les substantifs, adjectifs et verbes ont été remplacés par leur définition dans ces dictionnaires (1,2,3,4,5,6,14), ou bien (7,8,9) par le mot qui les précédait ou les suivait (S,A,V = ± n) (dans le cas de dictionnaires bilingues, le système a été appliqué deux ou trois fois, n étant différent à chaque application; pour d'autres le texte original a été vidé de ses S, A, V, lesquels ont alors été remplacés par les S, A, V, qui avaient été de la même façon préalablement prélevés à d'autres textes (10,11,12,13,15), dans le cas du 12, la structure du texte de Kozovoï a de plus été remplie par les mots de T. Mann pour former un symétrique. 
              Le résultat a alors été soumis à une relecture et retravaillé.

              1)     Chambers Dictionary.
              2)     Johnson's Dictionary.
              3)     Shorter Oxford Dictionary.
              4)     Crabb's English Synonyms.
              5)     Roget's Thesaurus.
              6)     A Shakespeare Glossary (Onions).
              7)     Langenscheidts (Eng.-Germ., Germ.-Eng.).
              8)     Langenscheidts (Eng.-Germ.[+7], Germ.-Eng.[-7]).
              9)     Robert & Collins (Fr.), Garnier (Germ.), Langenscheidts (Eng.).
              10)     Un extrait de Freud.
              11)     Un extrait de Four Quartets.
              12)     Un extrait de Kozovoï.
              13)     La racine des S,A,V, a été utilisée pour former d'autres S,A,V, qui ont ensuite subis une permutation (substantif devenant verbe … etc).
              14)    Concise Oxford Dictionary.
              15)    Texte vidé et remplacé par les premiers mots du Chamber's.
              16)    J'ai oublié.

Bernard Hoepffner

Avant d’être traducteur et écrivain à temps plein, Bernard Hoepffner a été notamment restaurateur d’objets d’Extrême-Orient et agriculteur. Depuis 1988, il traduit vers l’anglais (Jacques Roubaud) mais surtout de l’anglais vers le français, tant des contemporains que des classiques: Robert Burton, Thomas Browne, James Joyce, Gilbert Sorrentino, Robert Coover, Mark Twain, Philip Sidney, Seamus Heaney, Elizabeth Bishop, Lewis Caroll, Walter Raleigh, H.D.