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Anxious gatekeeping

Analogous to nervous cluelessness is something we might call “anxious gatekeeping.”   This is desire to police the borders of poetry, or of...

Friday, December 12, 2014

The Translation Book

There is a section of my translation book that will talk about melopeia. Basically, prosody meets translation.

Then there is will be a section about logopeia. The idea here, what happens to it in translation. How the prevalence of non-logopedic translation affects our perception of language.

The idea starts with Appiah ("Thick Translation.") He suggests a translation that would useful in the teaching of literature. That is a very basic idea, too basic, in some sense. But once we examine it, we realize that many standard practices of translation are not useful for the teaching of literature. For example, a translation of a very verbal poet like Quevedo or Vallejo that almost completely erases the verbalness, the languageness of the original. Call it what you want.

Even people very much into poetry do not perceive language as language. Logopeia is often a mystery to them.

There are those two sections, then, and the book will be more or less one seamless argument (with myself.) The idea is to see what an academically adequate translation would look like, and what a poetically adequate translation would look like, if we took both academia and poetry seriously enough.

The two ideals (academic and poetic) are not as far away as one might think, although they are not identical either. The first is

--translation useful in the teaching of literature

--translation that works as poetry for the reader of poetry, without any excuses

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