Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

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Why does Conrad refer to champagne as "medical comforts"? "Holding a half-pint champagne bottle (medical comforts) . . ." I am translating Heart Of Darkness into Arabic and any help would be really...

Why does Conrad refer to champagne as "medical comforts"? "Holding a half-pint champagne bottle (medical comforts) . . ."

I am translating Heart Of Darkness into Arabic and any help would be really appreciated.

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Lorraine Caplan eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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What a great project! Any time we translate into another language there are metaphors and nuances that do not translate well.  Hence we say "something is lost in translation."

The idea of champagne or any alcoholic beverage being a comfort arose as a euphemism in English. A "euphemism" is a word or expression that allows us to express an idea in a way that we believe is not as embarrassing as an outright statement.  So, for example, one might use the word "bosom" instead of the word "breast," or speak of the "ladies' room" instead of referring to the room that has the toilet we need!  Euphemisms were particularly common in Victorian times, when people thought it somehow offensive to speak of sexual anatomy or bodily functions. But I must say that it is likely that all...

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