Sunday, April 20, 2014

Theme: Translation

  • Although Charles Kenneth Scott Moncrieff’s translation of À la recherche du temps perdu is considered by many journalists and writers to be the best translation of any foreign work into the English language, his choice of Remembrance of Things Past as the general title alarmed the seriously ill Proust and misled generations of readers as to the novelist’s true intent.Read more
  • We are likely to hear a lot more of this woman. Some October, perhaps, from the Nobel Prize committee. She certainly has the stature. Translated into many languages, the winner of multiple major awards, not only is she Russia’s leading dramatist by wide agreement, she is also its leading author of fiction, the mother of contemporary women’s writing in the country.Read more
  • While living in Kyoto, I would ride my motorcycle downtown in the afternoon and work on my translations of César Vallejo’s Poemas humanos in the Yorunomado (“Night Window”) coffee shop. I had determined that a publishable version of this 1989 poem collection would constitute my apprenticeship to poetry. As I struggled to get Vallejo’s complicated Spanish into English, I increasingly had the feeling that I was struggling with a man more than with a text and that the struggle was a matter of my becoming or failing to become a poet.Read more
  • Francisco Antolin and Domingos Cruz, old schoolfriends in Lisbon, were having a drink once when a problem common to them came up in conversation. Namely, getting hold of copies of Portuguese novels in translation they had each recommended to foreign friends. Copies to actually hand to somebody or to bring as presents – true, there is Amazon and the online bookshops but sometimes you want things a little more promptly.Read more
  • The German dramatist Gerhart Hauptmann (1862-1946) wrote his first drama Vor Sonnenaufgang at the age of 27. Hauptmann, though living in the small town of Erkner, a couple of miles southeast from Berlin, was in lively exchange with the newly established Berliner naturalistic group “Durch” (Engl.: “Through” or “By”). He seized their suggestions of a naturalistic literature and wrote in 1889 (also clearly under the influence of Henrik Ibsen) his play Vor Sonnenaufgang, which was first performed at the Freie Bühne Berlin[1] on October 20 the same year. The shocking realism created a scandal in Berlin and shot Hauptmann to fame.Read more
  • Kirill Medvedev’s poems are easy to get into. He explains situations, tells stories about people. You don’t mind listening and want to hear more. He’s contemplative and calm and reasonable, even when he’s making a wakeup call, dissing and dressing down, asking why things can’t be rearranged. The vocabulary isn’t hard. The figurative language is sparse. “I don’t like metaphors,” he says (74). The poems are slim, fat free, figureless. Read more
  • Unlike the Brothers Grimm, who recently metamorphosed from children’s story collectors to godfathers of gore for the fairy-tale series, Grimm, Charles Perrault’s name remains generally unrecognizable. Yet, his stories, first published in 1697 as the Histoires ou Contes du temps passé (Stories or Tales of The Past) are anything but.Read more
  • In what Alain Badiou calls his "hyper-translation" of Plato's Republic, we are taken into the world of Plato's classic dialogue on politics and justice, sped up to the pace of a 21st century New York street corner. Socrates and his sophist interlocutors speak a gritty street talk that is both accessible and familiar, despite the fact they invoke intellectual figures from St. Paul to Jacques Lacan to the mathematician Paul Cohen.Read more
  • Though he was judged “most tragic” in the generation after his death, though more copies and fragments of his plays have survived than of any other tragedian, and though his Orestes became the most widely performed tragedy in Greco-Roman Antiquity, during his lifetime his success was only moderate, and to him his career may have felt more like a failure.Read more
  • I've been reading Thomas de Quincey's 1827 essay, The Last Days of Immanuel Kant, which is really little more than a massively long quotation, in English translation, of Ehregott Andreas Wasianski's 1804 work, Immanuel Kant in seinen letzten Lebensjahren. In fact, Wasianski's entire work is cited, after a few paragraphs of framing from de Quincey, and with a few additional footnotes here and there. I am not really certain why this work is attributed to the author of Confessions of an Opium Eater at all. De Quincey is at most the editor. Read more
  • The lone survivor of traditional Western European ‘scientific’ culture is science. It has survived because it is now the handmaid of technology, without which contemporary civilization would collapse utterly. Anyone who doubts this should try to get a research grant for genuinely “pure” research.Read more
  • What is there? There is God. What else is there? There are the things that God created.The essences of created and possible things have always been. Essences are composed of 'Monads'. The 'Monads' are of such a fineness that they are imperceptible to our senses.Read more
  • When it comes to texts in foreign languages, I find the closest reading I can give them is by translating them into my native idiom. Texts in English can't be translated any further, but I can at least transcribe them: already a sort of translatio, a bringing-over from page to screen. There are few authors who inspire me to undertake such a close reading. I've acknowledged before that James Agee is one of them. Joan Didion is another.Read more
  • It is not my intention to offer the following notes pertaining to one part of the series Narration d’équilibre [Narrative of equilibrium], written by the poet, translator, photographer, encyclopedist, and radio maker Jean Daive (1941), as a meticulous overview of the different themes, lines, and figures traversing such a voluminous oeuvre. Read more
  • From its breast the mountain now shakes its misty khalat. With morning namaz the field, spiked golden, roars. The forest bows and from its May-tresses pours, As from a khalifah's rosary, ruby and garnet.Read more
  • A selection of Philip K. Dick book covers from around the world.Read more
  • It was. It passed. It was, so it passed. In an always irreversible order, because that's the rule in this loser's game.Read more
  • Good day my love, my dear, my other half I hope our children get good grades and laugh. My Junior’s still the king of basketball? Read more
  • Many years ago, when there were still second-hand bookshops in which to skulk, I found a leather-bound volume with ‘BENTLEY’S HORACE’ on its spine. It was only twenty quid, so I dropped into the standard routine for bagging a bargain. Read more
  • Adios Amerika w/ all your star-spangled ideas Turned us into idiots Read more
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