Translation and anachronism
In Camus’ The Plague (La Peste), towards the end of the novel, when Tarrou is dying of the plague, looked over by his friend, Dr Rieux, the following description occurs:
Tarrou drank, then slowly lowered his head on to the pillow.
“It’s a long business,” he murmured.
Rieux clasped his arm but Tarrou, whose head was averted, showed no reaction. Then suddenly, as if some inner dyke had given way without warning, the fever surged back, dyeing his cheeks and forehead. . .
Grammar not being my best subject, I have opted to label this inner dyke an anachronism, when it is probably, properly known as something entirely different.
No matter. Someone will put me right.
It had the affect of stopping me in my tracks. The flow of the narrative ceased. And after the initial amusement I was led to cogitate on the probability of all of us sheltering an inner dyke somewhere within us.
Sometimes it needs an anachronism, or perhaps only someone to stumble over a word, or a spelling mistake for us to come to an awakening consciousness of something quite apart from any intention of the original author.
The text is from a translation by Stuart Gilbert, bless him.