Translation 52. Are all Translation Howlers Accidents?

Posted 17 July 2015 by Brian Steel
Categories: Translation

Tags: , , ,

Charlie Croker’s Lost in Translation. Misadventures in English Abroad  is a new discovery for me (UK, Michael O’Mara Books, 2006). It was followed by Still More … in 2008 AND, apparently, a new collection is due on 1 October 2015: Utterly Lost in Translation: Even More Misadventures in English Abroad. London: Metro Books.

Over a few decades I have come across many Translation howlers involving English abroad (and at home!) and have seen many more on the Internet, and in friends’ emails, but for me this little volume is the fullest and the FUNNIEST.

Laughs are guaranteed in Croker’s editions, especially since his avid readers feed him with their own widely-based travel discoveries. Here is a selection of short examples from his original edition to whet your appetite and leave you marvelling at the infinite possibilities – including perhaps the potential for deliberately composing eye-catching “howlers” in order to attract the attention of foreign visitors and shoppers – or Internet celebrity. In other words, the possible use of deliberate translation errors as an income or ego boost! Most of these specimens selected from Croker’s book seem quite unconscious, but are there any which you feel may not be spontaneous? A closer examination of the book (or the forthcoming edition), which contains pages of longer examples, may reveal other suspects to the professional eye.

France, metal detector scanner:  People with peace-maker do not pass.

Bucharest: The lift is being fixed for the next day. During that time we regret that you will be unbearable.

Korea: Choose twin bed or marriage size; we regret no King Kong size.

Indonesia: Someday laundry service.

Taipei: If there is anything we can do to assist and help you, please do not contact us.

Sri Lanka: Please do not bathe outside the bathtub.

Vietnam: Toilet was cleaned and spayed.

Thailand: Please do not bring solicitors into your room.

Brazil: Visit the hairdresser in the Sub Soil of this Hotel.

London: All fire extinguishers must be examined at least five days before any fire.

French Riviera car event: Competitors will defile themselves on the promenade at 11 a.m., and each car will have 2 drivers who will relieve themselves at each other’s convenience.

Japan, on van: Brain Location Service.

Japan, on medicine bottle: Adults: 1 tablet 3 times a day until passing away.


Japan: Buttered saucepans and fried hormones.

India: Children soup

Macao: Utmost of chicken fried in bother.

Thailand: Chicken gordon blue, pork shops, eggs scrambling.

Egypt: Muscles of marine / Lobster thermos.

Hong Kong: (in cheese list): Roguefart

Signs and instructions:

London: Open 24 hours except 2 a.m. – 8 a.m.

India: Seven days a week and weekends too.

Chinese exercise balls: Instructions: Three types of ball are offered. They are one. two. three.

Kolkata, on fire extinguisher: Cease Fire.

Barcelona Travel agency: Go away.

Mexican disco: Members and non-members only.

Israeli butcher’s shop: I slaughter myself twice daily.

Shanghai Museum: Be careful to butt head on wall.

Chinese Temple: Please take one step forward and crap twice.


Surely you must have laughed out loud at SOME of those!

If so, why not indulge yourself further by buying Charlie Croker’s new collection in October!

Thanks, Charlie. I can’t wait.

Translation 51. Arvind Kumar’s Word Power: English-Hindi

Posted 27 March 2015 by Brian Steel
Categories: Hindi Language

Tags: , , , , , ,

Two and a half years ago, I celebrated my belated discovery of Dr Arvind Kumar’s highly acclaimed 3-volume Penguin English-Hindi / Hindi-English Thesaurus and Dictionary.

Now Arvind Kumar (and his supporting family team) have published the first of a new series of reference works.
Arvind Kumar, Arvind Word Power. ENGLISH-HINDI. (A Dictionary with a Difference),
New Delhi, Arvind Linguistics Private, 2015. ISBN 978-81-924966-2-7 [1350 pages]

Based on the eminent lexicographer’s Thesaurus, this lengthy new work is the first of an innovative series of reference works for those interested in English, or Hindi, or both (in relation to one another). Forthcoming volumes of Arvind Word Power will deal with Hindi-English, English-English, and Hindi-Hindi versions.

In the online introduction to this new work, Kumar states:
” Meanings in English & Hindi
Synonyms in English & Hindi
Linkages to similar & opposite concepts
670,000 words
Arvind Word Power: English-Hindi is a tailor-made tool for all who use English and Hindi. It combines the usefulness of a dictionary, thesaurus and encyclopedia. It helps users to express their ideas, emotions and thoughts – correctly, completely and comfortably.
Arvind Word Power: English-Hindi is useful for those who are well-versed in English but are stuck, at times, for the correct Hindi equivalent of an English word.
It is equally useful for those who are not so well-versed in English and are often unable to understand the meaning or implication of a given English word.”

The following excerpt from the Introduction to this new volume (recently purchased) adds a further clarification for prospective readers:
Arvind Word Power: English-Hindi seamlessly juxtaposes English and Hindi vocabularies and helps the user find the correct Hindi equivalent for English words [… providing] synonyms as well as links to similar and opposite concepts in both English and Hindi side by side[…].”

” The scope of Arvind Word Power: English-Hindi goes beyond any existing bilingual dictionary […] [It] is totally India-centric. Our customs, ceremonies, rites and rituals as well as philosophies, doctrines, legends and folklore are all included to provide a complete understanding of Indian culture […] [It] also includes people, incidents and happenings important to India and Indians. For example: Indian freedom movement agitation […] ”
That heading is followed by 3 lines of 20 associated terms (boycott, hunger strike, khadi, nonviolent movement, etc.) and immediately below that the same heading in Hindi accompanied by 3 lines of equivalent terms in Hindi.

There are no less than 1350 pages of such encyclopedic material to consult. The topics are in English alphabetical order. The next volume, Arvind Word Power: Hindi- English will obviously be in the usual Devanagari order. (I can’t wait!)

Having only had time to skim through this huge book, I am both impressed and excited at its wide coverage and the benefit it will bring to my research on Hindi lexicography and Hindi to English translation. I simply wished to announce its arrival and availability to fellow students and lovers of the Hindi and English languages. I may add further comments in a few months.

A pertinent financial observation.
Indian commodity prices are quite low for people from many other economies (West, East, as well as North and South – in Australasia).
Indian book prices are especially low for us. On the other hand, because of the distance involved, Airmail postage (or, more likely, Courier service) from India is fairly high. However, IMHO, the combined low Indian book price plus the Courier price – for a 2-kilogram blockbuster – still makes it an attractive proposition. 1350 pages of knowledge for about $35.

Translation 50. Michel Houellebecq. Soumission. Background to the Triple Publication of his latest Novel

Posted 15 February 2015 by Brian Steel
Categories: Translation

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Soumission, published by Flammarion, 7 January 2015. (250,000 copies printed)
Sottomissione, published by Bompiani, 15 January 2015.
(Translator: V.Vega) 200,000 sales claimed in first week.
Unterwerfung, published by DUMONT Buchverlag, 16 January 2015.
(2 translators: Norma Cassau and Bernd Wilczek) (250,000 copies printed)
An English translation, Submission, is announced for September 2015.

Having read and enjoyed this latest (futuristic) novel by bestselling and perennially polemical French author Michel Houellebecq, I understand why hundreds of thousands of readers of the French original and the German and Italian translations have purchased the novel in the past month. In view of the flood of vigorous media attention (literary and journalistic) devoted to the novel, inevitably magnified by the tragic coincidence of the publication date with the Charlie Hebdo massacre, and also in view of the distant date given for the English translation, I have selected a small range of articles (mainly in English) which chronicle the novel’s first month of sales. (In view of the embarras du choix, I have tried to avoid the work of hacks and “churnalists” (journalists who do not consider a careful and fair reading of the novel as a sine qua non for robust reporting on literary works of this kind).

The articles are all linked for direct reading, but, for those who do not have time, I have added short quotations in order to present many of the aspects of Houellebecq’s work which have been discussed by critics and other commentators.

Background reading on Michel Houellebecq and Soumission

For background information on Houellebecq’s life, ideas and previous work, see The Fall 2010 issue of The Paris Review for the interview, ‘Michel Houellebecq. The Art of Fiction, No. 206’, by Susannah Hunnewell.
A few snippets.
“Michel Houellebecq was born on the French island of La Réunion, near Madagascar, in 1958. As his official Web site states, his bohemian parents, an anesthesiologist and a mountain guide, “soon lost all interest in his existence.” He has no pictures of himself as a child. After a brief stay with his maternal grandparents in Algeria, he was raised from the age of six by his paternal grandmother in northern France.”
The Elementary Particles is also the novel that made critics focus on your biography because the characters seem to have many points in common with you. But it seems you find it irritating, that people reduce everything to biography. ”
“Yes, it’s annoying because it denies what is the essential trait of fiction writing, namely, that the characters develop by themselves. In other words, you start with a few real facts and then you let the thing roll with its own momentum. And the further along you get, the more likely you are to leave reality behind altogether. You can’t tell your own story in fact. You can use elements of it ̶ but don’t imagine that you can control what a character is going to do a hundred pages later. The only thing you can do is, for example, give the character your literary tastes.”
“What about your critics? Can you just sum up briefly what you hold against the French press?”
“First of all, they hate me more than I hate them. What I do reproach them for isn’t bad reviews. It is that they talk about things having nothing to do with my books my mother or my tax exile ̶ and that they caricature me so that I’ve become a symbol of so many unpleasant things ̶ cynicism, nihilism, misogyny. People have stopped reading my books because they’ve already got their idea about me. To some degree of course, that’s true for everyone. After two or three novels, a writer can’t expect to be read. The critics have made up their minds.”
“Like the comedian, you compulsively take the politically sensitive subjects of the moment and then are irreverent to the point of insult. And it’s funny. It makes you laugh out of shock.”
“You laugh because the insult claims merely to state the obvious. This may be unusual in literature but it isn’t in private life.”
“I want to be loved despite my faults. It isn’t exactly true that I’m a provocateur. A real provocateur is someone who says things he doesn’t think, just to shock. I try to say what I think. And when I sense that what I think is going to cause displeasure, I rush to say it with real enthusiasm. And deep down, I want to be loved despite that.”
On Soumission, see the 2 January 2015 Paris Review Interview by Sylvain Bourmeau (translated by Lorin Stein): Scare Tactics: Michel Houellebecq Defends His Controversial New Book.
“I don’t think we are witnessing a French suicide. I think we are seeing practically the opposite. Europe is committing suicide and, in the middle of Europe, France is struggling desperately to survive. It is almost the only country that is fighting to survive, the only country whose demographics allow it to survive.”
” My book describes the destruction of the philosophy handed down by the Enlightenment, which no longer makes sense to anyone, or to very few people. Catholicism, by contrast, is doing rather well. I would maintain that an alliance between Catholics and Muslims is possible. We’ve seen it happen before, it could happen again.”

The Tragedy of Book Launch Day, 7 January 2015

Given Houellebecq’s fame and reputation as well as the advance publicity from the publishers of the three versions of Soumission, and the intense media interest which had already been in evidence for two weeks, huge sales had been expected and were prepared for by the publication of about 250,000 copies in each of the three countries. Normally, therefore, the Charlie Hebdo coverage (a caricature of Michel Houellebecq and a caustic remark on the Cover and satirical remarks on the novel) would have been a tiny part of the media contributions (with a modest but influential audience). However, the massacre at the Charlie Hebdo offices on the morning of 7 January and the shockwaves around Europe and other parts of the world dealt Houellebecq a devastating blow (and a close personal one as well, since one of his friends had been executed by the terrorists).

One of the journalists present at the fateful Charlie Hebdo staff meeting that morning was Philippe Lançon. This journalist, along with many others, had published a satirical and teasing (but good-natured Gallic) review of Soumission in the left-wing newspaper Libération in the pre-publication days.
“Ceci est un roman, plutôt comique : comme toujours avec Houellebecq, mais peut-être plus encore qu’à l’ordinaire, l’humour est la politesse ̶ ou l’impolitesse, comme on voudra ̶ du désespoir. Avec un goût de potache froid. Soumission n’est donc ni un essai sur Huysmans, ni un discours sur la montée de l’islam en France et en Europe, ni un rapport sur l’université déclinante, […] même si ces sujets de causerie occupent le livre, le font dériver avec une légèreté, une perversité et une ambiguïté assez efficaces pour permettre à tous de faire ce dont chacun raffole dès qu’il s’agit de Houellebecq : répandre son avis sur lui à propos de n’importe quoi.”
[… to allow readers to do what they are longing to do whenever Houellebecq’s name crops up: to spread their opinions about him on absolutely any topic.]

” Son style est là: neutralité féroce, phrases nettes, coups de pattes, sens du dialogue et de ’absurde, dégagements philosophiques, italiques à l’ironie sociologique, points virgule à la presque Flaubert.”
(See also John Vinocur’s useful comment below.)

Five days later, Lançon, who also works for the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, was present at the massacre and was extremely lucky to survive, albeit with serious injuries. On 13 January, he dictated his account of the atrocity from his hospital bed.
“Journaliste à Libération et chroniqueur à Charlie Hebdo, Philippe Lançon a réchappé au massacre, mercredi 7 janvier. Blessé, il entame une longue guérison. ”
“Chers amis de Charlie et Libération, […]

[He reflects on why he is a writer, and gives an idea of the lively but friendly debates with his colleagues, some now murdered.]
“… j’y pensais en regardant le corps le plus proche, celui de mon ami et ce jour-là voisin de tablée Bernard Maris, qui n’a jamais laissé ses fonctions limiter l’expression de ses enthousiasmes et de ses curiosités. Il venait de parler du roman de Michel Houellebecq, que nous aimons, et je l’avais engueulé… pour ce qu’il avait écrit du traitement de Libération. Puis nous nous étions aussitôt réconciliés sur les passages de Soumission qui, bien entendu, nous avaient fait rire. […] Et nous étions tous là parce que nous étions libres, ou voulions l’être le plus possible, parce qu’on voulait rire et nous affronter sur tout, à propos de tout, une petite équipe homérique et carnassière, et c’est justement cela que les hommes en noir, ces sinistres ninjas, ont voulu tuer. ”
Selected reviews of Soumission in English (with sample quotations)

John Vinocur, The Wall Street Journal (USA), 5 January
‘A Novel Approach to France’s Future, and Present’
“In Soumission, the author goes after French lethargy, observing through the eyes of a 44-year-old professor the country’s contempt for its existing political parties. Their rejection in 2022 leads to a coalition, headed by the Muslim Fraternity party, against Marine Le Pen’s nativists; the election of a slick Muslim president; and, soon enough, his soft-sell version of Shariah law.”
“My goodness. The sky is falling. Heart rates quicken.
At least Libération’s literary critic, Philippe Lançon [see above], appearing in the same edition as his boss, took a deep breath. In his review of Soumission he said the writer handled his “rather comic” novel “[w]ith a lightness of touch, perversity, and ambiguity sufficiently effective to allow everybody to do what they love to when it comes to Houellebecq: state their opinion on him regardless. Encouraging discussion is, after all, a social virtue of a good novelist.”
“The fact is, the Houellebecq hullabaloo demonstrates the distance in France ̶ perhaps greater than in any other European democracy ̶ between the political correctness of the left, the bigotry and discrimination of the extreme right, and any kind of reasonable discussion of how France can be accommodated (not just vice versa) by its six to eight million Arab Muslims.”

Naben Ruthnum, National Post (Canada), 4 February.
“Michel Houellebecq ̶ the French novelist caricatured on the January 7th cover of Charlie Hebdo as a drunken, smoking Nostradamus ̶ wrote a novel doomed, both by its capsule summary and the author’s notorious reputation, to be viewed by those who haven’t read it as a racist, fear-mongering text.” [italics added]
“In interviews spanning his long career, Houellebecq has referred to nationalists as “primates,” a sentiment that rings through the pages of Soumission: the “identitaires,” (nativist, France-for-French nationalists) are buffoons or aristocratically rich schemers […]”
Soumission’s narrator, François, is a middle-aged academic, and the book begins as a slow reflection on his most significant relationship: that with the subject of his long-finished dissertation, J.K. Huysmans. This friendship, with the long-dead, decadent author of Against Nature and a whole series of novels detailing, among other things, the turn of their author toward Catholicism, suggest both the isolated, disengaged loneliness of François, and the narrative that will come to unfold for him: like Huysmans, his is a story of conversion.”
Steven Poole, The Guardian, 9 January
Soumission by Michel Houellebecq: Much more than a satire on Islamism’
“But is France’s most celebrated controversialist offering a splenetic vision of the Muslim threat to Europe or a spineless “submission” to gradual Islamic takeover? Actually, neither. It’s much more interesting than that.”

“Those riffling impatiently through the opening for controversy will be disappointed, as we are introduced slowly to the narrator, François, a middle-aged literary academic who teaches at the Sorbonne. He is an expert on Huysmans, the cultish 19th-century anatomist of decadence, and he sleeps hungrily with his students. But he is bored. The narration is enjoyably sardonic, a pungent mixture of deadpan jokes about sexual politics and close reading.”

Gaby Wood, Daily Telegraph, 15 January
‘Michel Houellebecq’s Soumission: More prescient than provocative’
“The narrator of Soumission (or “Submission”), François, continues the tradition of the Houellebecquian hero made infamous by previous novels such as Atomised and Platform. He’s solipsistic, disillusioned, excruciatingly cruel. The rhythm of his sentences is almost incantatory in its distaste for life, and his comic timing is irresistibly gloomy […]”

“François is dismissive of everything […]”
“He teaches 19th-century French literature at the Sorbonne and his specialism is JK Huysmans, a writer who changed tack halfway through his career – from naturalism to decadence, then from decadence to monasticism. Huysmans’s most famous work might as well be the title of all of Houellebecq’s: A rebours (“Against the Grain”).”
Gilles Rozier, Haaretz (Israel) 22 January
“The French language has even been enriched thanks to a new adjective, “houellebecquian” – a privilege granted to few authors, some French, such as Rabelais and Balzac […].
“But it seems that this adjective refers to the awakening from illusions in an ultra-liberal world, which celebrates the victory of money as the object of desire, and presents consumerism as an answer to frustration of whatever kind. The houellebecqian novel describes a world from which love is absent, where the males are reduced to satisfying their urges via prostitution […]”
Soumission is a houellebecqian novel in every sense of the term. All of the author’s preferred topics are here: a person suffering from ennui, a criticism of liberalism, of the god of wealth, of the objectification of women.”
David Sexton, The Spectator, 17 January
‘The Really Shocking Thing about Michel Houellebecq’s Soumission: He rather likes Islam’
Soumission will be published in translation here by Heinemann, but not until the autumn at the earliest. A pity ̶ it’s electrifying; no recent English-language novel compares. Early on François explains why Huysmans, as a representative of literature, the major art of the West, matters to him so much:
“Only literature can give you this sensation of contact with another human mind, with the whole of this mind, its weaknesses and grandeurs, its limitations, its pettinesses, its fixed ideas, its beliefs; with all that moves it, interests it, excites it or repels it… A book that one loves is above all a book whose author one loves…
There it is, j’adore Michel, myself.”

Anthony Daniels, New Criterion, February 2015

France’s “Submission”–Submission–8075/

“Houellebecq is a writer with a single underlying theme: the emptiness of human existence in a consumer society devoid of religious belief, political project, or cultural continuity in which, moreover, thanks to material abundance and social security, there is no real struggle for existence that might give meaning to the life of millions. Such a society will not allow you to go hungry or to live in the abject poverty that would once have been the reward of idleness, whether voluntary or involuntary. This, in Houellebecq’s vision of the world, lends an inspissated pointlessness to all human activity, which becomes nothing more than a scramble for unnecessary consumer goods that confer no happiness or (at best) a distraction from that very emptiness.”

“The very success of the Enlightenment project is the root of its failure. Having eliminated myth and magic from human life, it has crushed belief even in itself out of society.”

Christopher de Bellaigue, The Guardian, 6 February
‘Soumission by Michel Houellebecq. Review – France in 2022’
“Houellebecq is France’s best-known writer internationally, his stock-in-trade being satires on various distortions in contemporary life seen through bibulous, chauvinistic, highly sexed men – men like François, the Sorbonne literature professor whose flirtation with the new Islamic regime is the main narrative thread in Soumission.”
“Here, from Europe’s premier literary misanthrope, is an enthralling, stunningly pessimistic view of human nature, which argues that when ideologies are being weighed it is the perks that tip the scales […].”

“Houellebecq’s plot seems totally unrealisable, and yet there is truth in his moral tableau.”
On 12 January the outspoken independent commentator Mark Steyn reminded us on his website that he had suggested a similar general 2020s scenario for France in 2006

“I saw someone on Twitter ̶ was it Mehdi Hasan? ̶ fretting that this sounded like a mere literary gloss on a Mark Steyn polemic. He doesn’t know the half of it. From page 119 of my 2006 book, America Alone:
“Picture a French election circa 2020: the Islamic Republican Coalition wins the most seats in the National Assembly. The Chiraquiste crowd give a fatalistic shrug and M de Villepin starts including crowd-pleasing suras from the Koran at his poetry recitals. But would Jean-Marie Le Pen or (by then) his daughter take it so well?”

Reviews of the Italian and German translations: Sottomissione and Unterwerfung.
If full translations are needed, this is surely an excellent chance to check the present quality of Google Translate and Microsoft Translate (BING).
(More on that subject in my next Translation blog, perhaps.)

Davide Barile, Cronache Internazionale, 7 February.
Michel Houellebecq, ‘Sottomissione’
Nessuna islamofobia nel nuovo romanzo di Houellebecq, che invece si interroga sui destini di una Francia (ed un’Europa) incapace di gestire la propria libertà.
(Google Translate)
No Islamophobia in the new novel by Houellebecq, who instead is pondering the destinies of France (and Europe), unable to manage their own freedom.

“In conclusione, col suo nuovo romanzo Houellebecq denuncia in realtà la mancanza di prospettive della cultura europea e, se l’immagine che ci dà dell’islam può essere opinabile per la superficialità che a tratti la caratterizza, non si può certo dire che essa sia negativa.”

(Google Translate, with light Post Editing of Machine Translation: PEMT)
In conclusion, with his new novel, Houellebecq is really complaining about the lack of prospects of European culture and, although the image of Islam that is presented may be debatable for the superficiality that sometimes characterizes it, you certainly cannot say that it is negative.

Christoph Vormweg, Deutschlandfunk, 18 January.
‘Rezension von Unterwerfung
An interesting 2,000 word essay. (2 excerpts, with a hybrid English version from Google Translate, Microsoft Translate, and some personal PEMT)

“Provozieren ist und bleibt Michel Houellebecqs liebster Sport. Er pfeift auf jede Form der “political correctness”. Aber um es gleich vorweg zu sagen: Sein Roman “Unterwerfung” schildert zwar die Machtübernahme eines muslimischen Präsidenten in Frankreich. Doch verbirgt sich hinter seiner aufstörenden Zukunftsvision keine Attacke gegen die islamische Religion oder ihre Gläubigen. Mit keiner Zeile liefert Michel Houellebecq den extremen Rechten antiislamische Argumente oder gar Parolen. Der Goncourt-Preisträger von 2010 imaginiert lediglich, wie sich ein solcher Wandel in Frankreich vollziehen könnte. Und deshalb ist der Roman “Unterwerfung” vor allem eine herbe Abrechnung mit der heute herrschenden politischen Kaste – Fernsehmedien inklusive.”

Provocation is and remains Michel Houellebecq’s favorite sport. He does not care about any form of “political correctness”. But to come straight to the point: Although his novel Submission describes the takeover of power by a Muslim President in France, behind his startling vision of the future there is no hidden attack against the Islamic religion and its adherents. In no line does Michel Houellebecq provide the extreme right with anti-Islamic arguments or even slogans. The Goncourt Prize winner in 2010 imagined just how such a change could take place in France. And that is why the novel Submission is mainly a bitter reckoning with the prevailing political caste – TV media included.
“Literatur ist nicht die Wirklichkeit. Aber sie erlaubt es, Versuchsanordnungen mit Blick auf die Zukunft durchzuspielen. Michel Houellebecq bleibt in diesem Sinne ein Aufstörer, ein Querdenker. Und das ist gut so.”

Literature is not reality. But it makes it possible to play with experimental arrangements with a view to the future. Michel Houellebecq is in this sense a troublemaker [? stirrer], a lateral thinker. And that’s a good thing.

Translation 49. French loanwords in English. Pronunciation Guide for Hindi speakers. Introduction

Posted 23 December 2014 by Brian Steel
Categories: Hindi Language

Tags: , , , ,

The bi- and trilingual abilities of Indians are well-known and greatly admired or envied, especially by monolinguals. Another established fact is that those who are proficient in Hindi and English also tend to use (or understand) a large number of English loanwords even when speaking, writing, or listening to Hindi. (The rise of Hinglish, although obviously related, is a separate issue.)

Although these English loanwords in Hindi (my latest count is 3,000) are adapted to the phonology of Hindi and the Devanagari script, their English origin is still quite clear in a majority of cases. That in itself I find quite remarkable  ̶  perhaps unique. (As instant proof, listen to any news bulletin in Hindi.) (For more examples, see here.

English is also the depository of loanwords from many languages, including, for almost 1,000 years, French, which has had a major influence in the development of the English lexicon. Bilingual speakers of Hindi and English will be well aware of many of these French borrowings but I wonder to what extent they transfer these French borrowings into their use of Hindi. Having tested the phonetic adaptability of many French loanwords into Hindi, I have found the results to be almost as satisfactory as the English loanwords. Therefore, where relevant, they could be inserted into bilingual English and Hindi dictionaries. (The same applies, of course, to the vast number of English loanwords in Hindi, but that is not relevant to my point here.)

The rest of this introductory article is an attempt to show how a romanised transliteration of French loanwords can help Hindi speakers to pronounce the words in the (more or less) French way that they are pronounced in contemporary English, whether they are using them in their English or in their Hindi.

Possible further articles may enlarge on these preliminary findings and underline the usefulness of transliterating more of the French borrowings in teaching materials for courses on English as a second Language for speakers of Hindi.

French loanwords are present in large numbers in English dictionaries, but they are particularly noticeable in those areas in which France has excelled, like diplomacy, politics and military affairs, the arts, sports, fashion and perfumes, gastronomy (and kweezeen – cuisine) and oenology. Some brief specific and other general lists follow.

This is merely a Daybyoo for this topic. début डेब्यू

bauNzhoor! [zh reflects more accurately the ‘s‘ sound of the English words vision and treasure] Bonjour बॉन्जूर

auNshauNTe! Enchanté! ऑनशॉन्टे

bauN vwaayaazh! [w is the ‘soft’ pronunciation variant of Hindi v.] Bon voyage! बॉन व्वायाज

bauN shaaNs! Bonne chance! बॉन शौंस


Preliminary examples

Eating and drinking

kweezeeN, cuisine

noovail kweezeen, nouvelle cuisine [A bit passé, thank goodness!]

bauN aapayTee, Bon appétit.

kafé, café

raisTaurauN, restaurant

keesh, quiche

kaanaape, canapé

krooDiTe, crudité

paaTay duh fwaa gras, pâté de foie gras

pyooray, purée

raaTaaTooee, ratatouille

vaaN aurDeenair, vin ordinaire

pruhmyay Kroo, premier cru

krem duh mauNth, crème de menthe

Fashion (faishaN)

aa laa mauD, à la mode

Daykaulte, décolleté (and DaykaulTazh)

kaursaajh, corsage [very different from kaurTaizh – cortège]

laaNzhuhree, lingerie

o duh kaloN, eau de Cologne

oT kooTyoor, haute couture

preTaa paurte, prêt-à-porter (ready-to-wear)


baalay, ballet

paa duh dur, pas de deux

Diplomacy and politics

auNsyaaN rayzheem, ancien régime

aunTauNT kaurDeeyal, Entente Cordiale

Deereezheezma, dirigisme

DeereezheesT, dirigiste

faurs maazhur, force majeure


aazhauN prauvaukaTur, agent provocateur

aide duh kauM, aide-de-camp

aispree duh kaur, esprit de corps

aur duh kaumbaa, hors de combat

kaurDauN saaneeTair, cordon sanitaire

koo daytaa, coup d’état

koo duh graas, coup de grâce


ayshalauN, échelon


baiT nwaar, bête noire

boorzhwaa, bourgeois

boorzhwaazee, bourgeoisie

Doobla auNTaunDra, double-entendre

kauNfeeDauN (m), confidant

kaunfeedaunT (f), confidante

maynaazh aa Trwaa, ménage à trois

pyais duh rayzeestauNs, pièce de résistance

shay Durvra, chef-d’oeuvre


aamoor praupra, amour-propre

ahplaum, aplomb

DeesTray, distrait

naaeevtay, naiveté

panaash, panache

saNg frwaa, sangfroid

zhwaa Duh veevra, joie de vivre


aypay, épée

kauNkoor daylegauNs, concours d’élégance


Dayzhaa vyoo, déjà vu

Duh Tro, de trop [superfluous]

kree Duh kur, cri de coeur

raizauN DaiTra, raison d’être


auNTruhprunur, entrepreneur

Nouns in -é

aymeegray, émigré

feeauNsay, fiancé, m, and fiancée, f.

prauTayzhay, protégé

rayzyoomay, résumé

Adjectives in -é

blaazay, blasé

deesTaNgay, distingué

reeskay, risqué

ruhTroosay, retroussé (turned up – esp. nose)


plyoo saa shaaNzh (plyoo se laa maiM shoz). Plus ça change, (plus c’est la même chose.) (Nothing really changes.)

aapre mwaa luh Daylyoozh. Après moi, le déluge. (Who cares what happens when I go?)

auNee swaa kee maal ee pauNs. Honi soit qui mal y pense. (Evil be to he who thinks evil of it. [The motto of the British Order of the Garter.]

veev laa DeefayrauNs! Vive la différence! [Long may the difference continue to exist!]

reeyaaN na vaa plyoo. Rien ne va plus. (No more bets!)


o ruhvwaar.


Translation 48. Bizarre Adaptation of Octavio Paz’s El Cántaro Roto

Posted 30 September 2014 by Brian Steel
Categories: 1

Tags: , , , ,

One of the best known poems of world famous Mexican poet and Nobel Prize laureate Octavio Paz is an epic of 1170 words, El Cántaro Roto (The Broken Pot). It is a complex and passionate evocation of Mexican history and landscape.

Useful References:

An English translation, followed by the full poem in Spanish and a quotation from Octavio Paz:

A You Tube rendering:


The Paz epic begins:

La mirada interior se despliega y un mundo de vértigo y llama nace bajo la frente del que sueña: soles azules, verdes remolinos, picos de luz que abren astros como granadas,
tornasol solitario, ojo de oro girando en el centro de una explanada calcinada,
bosques de cristal de sonido, bosques de ecos y respuestas y ondas, diálogo de transparencias,
¡viento, galope de agua entre los muros interminables de una garganta de azabache,
caballo, cometa, cohete que se clava justo en el corazón de la noche, plumas, surtidores,
plumas, súbito florecer de las antorchas, velas, alas, invasión de lo blanco,
pájaros de las islas cantando bajo la frente del que sueña!

Abrí los ojos, los alcé hasta el cielo y vi cómo la noche se cubría de estrellas.
¡Islas vivas, brazaletes de islas llameantes, piedras ardiendo, respirando, racimos de piedras vivas,
cuánta fuente, qué claridades, qué cabelleras sobre una espalda oscura,
cuánto río allá arriba, y ese sonar remoto de agua junto al fuego, de luz contra la sombra!
Harpas, jardines de harpas.

Pero a mi lado no había nadie.
Sólo el llano: cactus, huizaches, piedras enormes que estallan bajo el sol.
No cantaba el grillo,
había un vago olor a cal y semillas quemadas,
las calles del poblado eran arroyos secos
y el aire se habría roto en mil pedazos si alguien hubiese gritado: ¿quién vive?
Cerros pelados, volcán frío, piedra y jadeo bajo tanto esplendor, sequía, sabor de polvo,
rumor de pies descalzos sobre el polvo, ¡y el pirú en medio del llano como un surtidor petrificado!

Dime, sequía, dime, tierra quemada, tierra de huesos remolidos, dime, luna agónica,
¿no hay agua, hay sólo sangre, sólo hay polvo, sólo pisadas de pies desnudos sobre la espina,
sólo andrajos y comida de insectos y sopor bajo el mediodía impío como un cacique de oro?
¿No hay relinchos de caballos a la orilla del río, entre las grandes piedras redondas y relucientes,
en el remanso, bajo la luz verde de las hojas y los gritos de los hombres y las mujeres bahándose al alba?
El dios-maíz, el dios-flor, el dios-agua, el dios-sangre, la Virgen,
¿todos se han muerto, se han ido, cántaros rotos al borde de la fuente cegada?
¿Sólo está vivo el sapo,
sólo reluce y brilla en la noche de México el sapo verduzco,
sólo el cacique gordo de Cempoala es inmortal?


As this first third of the poem shows visibly and audibly, it is a brilliant and characteristic Paz creation.


One of musical composer Eric Whitacre’s famous choral pieces is called Cloudburst. He cites Octavio Paz’s ‘El Cántaro Roto’, as the inspiration for his composition. However, his work contains only 109 words of the Paz poem, including the 39 words in bold type above, plus these wonderfully sonorous words from another poem by Paz (Agua nocturna):
ojos de agua de sombra,
ojos de agua de pozo,
ojos de agua de sueño

To which, for his Cloudburst theme, Whitacre has added:

La lluvia, and La lluvia despierta.

In choral circles, this piece has been widely acclaimed as a mass choral piece.

Whitacre’s full lyrics are as follows:

♪ La lluvia… ♪ ♪ Ojos de sombra de agua ♪ ♪ ojos de agua de pozo ♪ ♪ ojos de agua de sueño. ♪ ♪ Soles azules, verdes remolinos, ♪ ♪ picos de luz que abren ♪ ♪ astros como granadas. ♪ ♪ Dime, tierra quemada, ¿no hay agua? ♪ ♪ ¿Sólo sangre, sólo polvo? ♪ ♪ ¿Sólo pisadas desnudas sobre la espina? ♪ ♪ La lluvia despierta… ♪ Hay que dormir con los ojos abiertos, hay que soñar con las manos, soñemos sueños activos de ríos buscando su cauce, sueños de sol soñando sus mundos. ♪ Hay que soñar… soñar… ♪ ♪ Hay que cantar hasta que el canto eche raíces, ♪ ♪ tronco, ramas, pájaros, astros… ♪ ♪ hay que desenterrar la palabra perdida, ♪ ♪ recordar lo que dicen la sangre ♪ ♪ y la marea, la tierra y el cuerpo, ♪ ♪ volver al punto de partida ♪


Question: What do you think of the adaptation?

Mrs Julia Owen’s Biography. 1. Her self-published books

Posted 31 August 2014 by Brian Steel
Categories: Julia Owen

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

The belated discovery in mid-August 2014 of my long-lost copies of two self-published books by Mrs Owen has provided welcome new material about the intriguing but flimsy biography of the famous bee sting lady. I originally bought these books from Mrs Owen in 1978 and they had been mislaid for 22 years. Re-reading them 36 years later reveals much that I ignored at the time, while staying in one of her rented houses with my daughter, Maribel, a very plucky patient who notched up six months worth of bee stings. (Why not check her blog? It’s more uplifting than mine. gatewaytoblindness is the name.)

Apart from their relevance to my family biography, the hitherto mislaid books would have provided interesting background information for my investigative articles in 2008, 2011 and 2012. They had proved unobtainable on the Internet because a mean-minded beekeeper bookseller, with copies of the books for sale, presumably imagined, erroneously, that I am totally opposed to ALL bee venom therapies. As these two projected articles will underline once again, most of Mrs Owen’s career was devoted to successfully treating patients with arthritis, rheumatism and skin diseases. It was only in her final short, desperate period (?1974-) that she resorted to exaggerated claims of curing Retinitis Pigmentosa, which achieved the publicity she craved but which also brought about her spectacular downfall in early 1979 following the BBC TV exposé (detailed in one of my previous blogs).

The second article will attempt to set out those known biographical details about “Julia Owen” and the many other aspects which are still unclear, and for which, perhaps, some readers may be able to furnish vital further clues.  (Mrs. Julia Owen’s Biography. 2. The known and the unknown)

1. Clamouring at the Citadel

Self-published by Ms Owen in 1963 in Bromley, Kent, UK. Possibly with the help of a ghost-writer.

The short introduction offers important information and is reproduced here in full.

“For years I dreamed of a medicated bee venom clinic in England, but at the time this book opens I had neither money nor bees to bring this long cherished desire to fruition. Nevertheless, the idea haunted me till the urge to found a clinic became irresistible, and I determined to set forth on the hazardous errand of which I tell.

 “I had money and to spare for my project, tied up in valuable treasures and jewellery I left in Austria and Hungary when before the war I came to Britain. If I could get these here, my dream would come true. The odds were heavily weighted against success, but I meant to try, because I wanted this country, the only one where I have been able to treat the sick without interference, to be the first to benefit by my cure, and I had not then encountered the medical profession’s stubborn opposition to learning and adopting my method.

 “The task of finding, amassing and transferring my scattered possessions out of one country, into another and finally to England that they might be translated into the cash I needed to achieve my aim, seemed at times, impossible, but thanks to the courageous daring and ingenuity of a band of very noble helpers, culled from nearly every walk of life, but mainly from the Czech and Hungarian peasant population, who never forsook me in my hour of danger and need, even at great risk to themselves, I accomplished the mission, and was able to build bee chambers and establish a clinic in Bromley, Kent, financed by the funds I raised on my treasures, plus the currency I managed to bring in.

 “Without my special bees however, chambers and clinic were useless and I was helpless, as I cannot work alone, for bees, extolled by Shakespeare and beloved of thousands, the thousands upon thousands whose health and, happiness they have restored, are the wonder agents of my cures. I do not of course, refer to ordinary garden bees, which are dangerous, as is evidenced by the annual toll of lives from their stings, but to the bees I specially breed, hygienically rear, carefully select, and medicate through their diet according to the disease I intend to treat.

 “When I left Austria, fearing the conflagration looming ominously over Europe, I entrusted my precious bees to the tender care of an old professor friend of the family. The journey to recover them will be told in my next book. Suffice it to say here therefore, that some of the stories now set down, that is those which refer to the period after I brought my bees over, are not in strict chronological sequence, but may perhaps provide interesting and amusing reading, since they are true experiences I have had.

 “For those who do not even know my name nor my way of treating with medicated bee venom, it would perhaps be expedient to explain there is no hocus pocus about my method. It is as logical as the doctors’ syringe and injection, but for the diseases it can alleviate, much more successful, as is borne out by the number of medical men, their families and their rejects suffering from these ills they cannot cure, who find their way to me, begging for my aid. They come to me themselves but fear of reprisals at the hands of the General Medical Council here and similar bodies in other countries, keeps the doctors from sending patients to me. Sufferers who do come too late, that is before the advanced stage where bone, muscle and tissue have been destroyed by the disease or some of the modern drugs and treatments, go away restored to health and happiness, to the health and happiness which the doctors do not know how to give, can enjoy themselves, but are not allowed to learn to share with others.

 “The title of this book, Clamouring At The Citadel, has been chosen because it aptly depicts the plight of the rheumatics and arthritics everywhere today. They plead for relief and a cure, the cure the doctors do not know, and shout aloud through the press they do not know. Six and a half million of these sufferers in this country alone, not to mention the teeming millions of other lands, clamour at the walls of the impregnable citadel of the medical profession, where safe within its keep the men of medicine are guided by the accusing finger, and quake beneath the threatening fist, of the General Medical Council. They must lie low, shut their eyes and ears, shun my treatment and my patients, and cannot study or use it to help the tortured to whom it could bring new hope and usefulness. I am convinced that were the Lord Jesus Christ to come back to earth again, they would write Him off a quack, and forbid Him to touch their patients or perform His miracles as of yore.

 “Medicated bee venom is most successful in the crippling and painful rheumatic and arthritic diseases, some skin and eye complaints closely related to them, and their allied ills of gout, lumbago, sciatica, fibrositis, as well as asthma, neuritis and other nervous disorders. [Bold type added]

“So my beloved bees I had to have, and I went for them.

“When all was ready to commence treating the afflicted, it would have served no purpose whatever to sit peacefully waiting for them to arrive, since the people of this country hardly knew my name. Although my form of treatment had been practised by the medical members of my family for many years in Europe prior to my carrying it on and further perfecting it, I was almost unheard of here, save to the very few who knew of my work on the Continent, and I needed to let the public know I was waiting to cure them. Publicity is an elusive will o’ the wisp very hard to ensnare. It seemed to me therefore, the only way to catch it, and indeed to merit it, would be to treat free some who were prominently before the public eye, in exchange for their chances and efforts in spreading the gospel of medicated bee venom. The poor of compassion I treated frequently gratis, but of the rest, I was compelled to assess their publicity possibilities on occasions, and waive the cost of their cures.

“The idea worked well in many instances, and though I have met and dealt with rogues as well as angels, their living testimony to the work and efficacy of my bees soon set the news arolling, and like a snowball gathering size and weight in rolling, it brought the sick to my door. From one to another hopeless reject of the medical profession it went, till from the far corners of the earth they came seeking alleviation, complete cure, and the return to the normal life they yearned for.

“A small book I recently published, for the benefit and guidance of those whose disease or purse will not permit them to come to Bromley for treatment, entitled, Treat Yourself for Your Rheumatic or Arthritic Disease, has also played its part in alleviating their pain, and has shown that victims of these diseases can do something to help themselves to a happier and less agonising existence.

But the picture could be changed to much brighter hues and so I toil on in the hope, perhaps the vain hope who knows, that there will come a day before it is too late, when someone may hear the cry of crippled and tortured mankind, uncommonly thick though the walls of the citadel be.”


The first chapter of Clamouring at the Citadel, ‘Dodging Dodges’, takes up over half of the book (152 pages) and deals in very great detail with the highly dramatic six months Julia spent in 1947 roaming Austria, Hungary and Czechoslovakia in search of the many valuable possessions she had left behind when she fled the area in 1939. The money was destined to finance her proposed bee venom treatment clinic in London. This is an astonishing narrative, describing ingenuity, danger and many narrow escapes from authorities, each minutely described. The narration rivals the scenario for a 1940s thriller. Between February and August 1947, amid the austerities of post-war Europe, Julia claims to have retrieved countless valuables, including, jewellery, Meissen china, tapestries, and no less than 470 paintings by Hungarian artists “Professor Vidder” and Istvan Nagy, which she had presciently bought up (and hidden) before her 1939 flight to UK. She claims that many of these paintings were sold in Prague, to Americans, and the dollars transferred to her UK bank.

Having failed to discover any of her family in Austria, Julia went round collecting all these valuables from hiding places in Hungary (where she had owned a mountain villa, to which a faithful maid had transferred many of these precious belongings). From here, Julia smuggled them bit by bit across the river into Czechoslovakia (“54 hazardous river crossings”), sold some pieces for cash and, finally, armed with a safe conduct pass from President Eduardo Benes of Czechoslovakia (a friend from the past), took seven huge trunks by rail to Prague, where she was reunited with her anxious husband, “Albert” (?Owen?). She solved his shortage of foreign currency by selling a brooch for 5,500 pounds sterling for their expenses. In the Czech capital, with a 28-day visa achieved with the President’s help, she and her husband were guests of the President and his wife for a few days before Julia set about the daunting solo task of selling as many of her possessions as she could before flying back to the UK unaccompanied, with a large number of dollars concealed very painstakingly in a full length plaster cast on one leg. On arrival in England, she claims to have sought and obtained an interview with the legendary Sir Stafford Cripps, the dour Chancellor of the Exchequer, who refused her request for permission to import currency. So she made other arrangements.

In the remaining seven short chapters (pp 153-247), Julia gives an account of some of her experiences in treating patients for arthritis, etc. She gives monotonously detailed and very angry accounts of her difficult patients, especially whose who tried to deceive or cheat her. There is, unfortunately, nothing positive in these pages to add to her biography.

2. Doctors without Shame, 1965 (self-published)

This is basically a boring over-detailed chronicle of Julia’s frequent bad experiences with medical practitioners and organisations.

As with the previous volume there are few dates, places or names mentioned.

Of most interest for biographers:


“I have devoted much of my life, and the whole of the past sixteen years, to the development and application of a unique form of treatment which, as my readers will learn. is mainly for the various forms of arthritis and many types of skin diseases which so far have defeated orthodox medicine.

My object has never been profit or honours for myself. Indeed, as a result of the expenses involved in research and in much treatment which I have given for nothing, I am, financially, considerably poorer than I was.

Similarly, my primary purpose in writing this book is neither to pillory individual members of the medical profession nor to receive public acclaim for myself.

I desire public awareness of my work and the benefits which it can bring: and, through that, relief and new hope to an ever increasing number of sufferers from those complaints which are within my particular province.

These stories which follow are about doctors who, often despite my every discouragement, have sought – and often obtained – my medicated bee venom treatment. They should prove more than anything else can, the truth of my claims. The doctors would not come to me for treatment for their arthritis, skin diseases and other ailments if the remedies were in their own hands. Equally, they would not come to me unless they knew, in advance, by reason of their own specialist knowledge, that I could help.

Whatever profits there may be from the sale of this book are of no concern to me except in so far as they may assist to alleviate the suffering of those whom my method alone an help and also to ensure that my work is continued after my retirement or death.

I hope to achieve this purpose in the following way. All proceeds from the sale of this book will go into a special account. I shall deduct only my publishing and administrative expenses.

The net profits, if sufficient, will be devoted to the acquisition of a suitable property which I shall convert into a clinic. There I will treat, for a period of two years, completely free of charge, as many patients as possible – depending upon the funds available from the sale of this book. The more books sold the greater the number of patients who can be treated. I am hoping that the clinic will be staffed by nurses who need my treatment for themselves or their relatives or valued friends.

During this period of two years, my private residence, ” Sunkist Vienna “, would be open to receive doctors, of any nationality, who wish to study my methods. Up to fourteen rooms can be put at their disposal. I would ask only that they acknowledge that they have come to learn from me, and that they learn in order to help others. In this way, it could be ensured that my knowledge and methods would survive to the inestimable benefit of countless thousands.

At the end of two years, my intention is to retire. I shall then present the clinic to the nation. If there is no one able and willing to continue its use as a bee venom clinic, the Government may devote it to whatever purpose they deem fit.

I should, perhaps, make clear that this is not intended as an appeal for subscriptions or gifts. On no account will either be welcome or accepted. My proposal concerns the use of the profits from the sale of this book at its published price.

This is my last throw. I have laboured long on behalf of the sick. I have done all in my power to bring my medicated bee venom treatment to the notice and within the means of those whose only hope is in my treatment. This cause is surely worthy of your support.

I began writing this book in January, 1964. Since then I have many times anxiously re-read and revised the stories which follow. While so doing, the thought often crossed my mind: will my readers believe what I have written? Will they not think it too fantastic to be true? They may reflect that, if these stories are untrue, I take a very serious risk in publishing them so widely. And yet, that may still not be sufficient to carry conviction. After all, the medical profession has always stood very high in the public estimation. Its members have been assumed to have been actuated primarily by a sense of vocation; the relief of others’ suffering was their concern, and not the furtherance of their own material rewards. Furthermore, their standards of conduct were believed to be in accordance with these high ideals; not for them the cynical pursuit of self-interest, in disregard of the national interest, which is alleged to characterise certain manual workers’ organisations.”


 Also: The Foreword (pp. 9-12), and this advertisement on the last pages of the book:


1, Westbury Road, (Near Widmore Green),  BROMLEY, KENT. RAVENSBOURNE 2313.


 “Medicated bee venom whilst primarily sought after for the cure and alleviation of the rheumatic and arthritic diseases, particularly the very painful ones known as osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, has proved singularly successful in curing several other diseases as well.

These include certain forms of blindness, deafness and skin disorders arising from and with these illnesses, such as weeping eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis and urticaria. It is also extremely efficacious with retinitis pigmentosa, diabetes in patients who have not received insulin, muscular dystrophy, asthma and thyroid deficiency. [a very early mention of RP]

Members of Julia Owen’s family were among the earliest medical men to evolve, improve and use medicated bee venom therapy, which has long interested research workers on the Continent of Europe. Having studied and assimilated the findings of her forebears, she decided at a very early age to devote her entire life to the practice of this treatment, till today her clinic at Bromley, Kent, is the result of the forty odd years of further research she has carried out. To her come patients from all parts of the globe, often cases abandoned as hopelessly incurable, weary of being wheeled from hospital to spa, and from spa to costlier clinics elsewhere, till in a quiet suburban street in Bromley, they find relief from painful torment and a cure for their ills.

Medicated bee venom treatment is not obtainable under the National Health Service. Its fame and reputation bring people from every walk of life, Members of Parliament, barristers, businessmen, scientists, artisans and even arthritic and rheumatic doctors and nurses often from thousands of miles away. Case histories are meticulously recorded and testify to the amazing cures of the clinic.

Briefly, bee venom therapy is the application of medicated stings, but not those of ordinary garden bees, for they are dangerous and account for a number of deaths each year. The bees used in the JULIA OWEN CLINIC are of special strains, hygienically bred, carefully selected and medicated via their diet to the medical requirements of each patient and disease. Furthermore, they are perfectly safe.

Those who visit the clinic whose complaints are considered curable by medicated bee venom must first have radiological examination, then blood and urine tests are made to determine the kind of medication necessary, and only after this, the standard routine of any scientifically run clinic, is the precise medicated bee venom treatment prescribed.”


There is little else of new biographical importance in this second volume, except:

‘Full Circle’, pp. 13-26, about Julia’s medical studies in Vienna and her dislike for her disapproving mother, “a glorified medical snob” and her intention to abandon her studies to do further research on bee venom therapy, particularly relating to arthritis.

‘The Airborne Char’ (pp. 225-240), which gives her version of an aborted 1960 deal over treatment clinics in Canada with a Canadian doctor, Dr Joseph Staine. (There are also two independent Canadian newspaper reports of this fiasco, which I shall list in the Bibliography accompanying the second of these 2 biographical articles.)

One further source

During my 3-month stay in Bromley in 1978, Mrs Owen asked me to read part of a draft manuscript of a new biographical book which she was preparing.

From my written notes, these points may be of interest.

From the Foreword:

“For 52 years I have been treating successfully ailments for which doctors can do little or nothing – among them arthritis, asthma, skin diseases and certain types of deafness and blindness, although from pressure of work, I am now concentrating only on deaf and blind cases. One of my greatest successes is with Retinitis Pigmentosa, a form of blindness which top eye specialists the world over have categorically pronounced untreatable.”

“Medicated bee venom, a form of therapy which the medical members of my Austrian family evolved and developed over 6 [sic] generations and which I, in turn, greatly improved and now use with miraculous effect.”


She studied medicine in Vienna but gave up 5 months before qualifying [c 1925?] because she “disagreed with the treatment of arthritis i.e. with gold injections and injecting freshly boiled milk, which nearly sent the patient insane. I had no desire to belong to such a profession.”


“No harm is done by the bee treatment. Stings are absolutely safe. The bees are of special strains, hygienically bred, carefully selected and medically dieted to suit each person’s ailment. After feeding the bees with necessary medicaments, I pinch them behind the head so they are not quite dead but not suffering. I then apply them to the patient.”

“I must explain that I have to test new patients for several weeks, sometimes months, before I know which glands need feeding and how many different medicaments will be necessary and how long it is likely to take.”

“Many incurable illnesses are caused by malfunctioning glands and hard drugs (cortisone, steroids, butozolodene, etc.) damage the glands and induce new diseases.”


In reply to a suggestion that she publish her formula:

“… Bee stings which are herbally medicated definitely have excellent therapeutic effects with horrnonal and glandular systems of the body. Pituitary and adrenal glands are affected and I assess the effect of my treatment day to day by testing the urine, observing temperature reaction, appearance of oedema, change in colour of the skin and swelling, which all point to glandular effect. In other words, it points to the way the glands are working: slow, medium or fast. It is, in fact, a very finely controlled and sensitive therapy.”


“I do have the most rewarding successes with Retinitis Pigmentosa in all cases where the doctors have not tried to inject at the back of the eyes or carried out tissue insertions.”


“When will they realise that Retinitis Pigmentosa is nothing to do with the eyes? In fact, I find that most eye complaints I can treat so successfully are caused by different gland behaviour because the body is sick.”


(Part 2 is to follow soon.)

Recent Revelations by Charles Moore

Posted 30 July 2014 by Brian Steel
Categories: Politics

Tags: , , , , ,

If you are at all interested in any or all of the topics listed below, I recommend Charles Moore’s recent column in my favourite magazine, The Spectator.

UK Parliament: Routine culling of documents
Forecasts by egregious climate change doomsayers
The benefits of an Eton and Oxbridge education for writers