“An Exhaustive Five-Column Grid’

June 20, 2012 § Leave a comment

A day late to the party I know, but the ever-excellent Melville House blog pointed me to this fascinating open letter from Joan Sellent to his translatee (I feel ordering it that way round puts things in their right places) Edward Albee. Any dialogue about translation is a good one, as it is too often wished away (and apparently now by people like Albee).

For me, it’s also interesting as a kind of jolting reminder to my Lit student sensibilities. I think Lit people have a tendency to wear heavy-lensed spectacles, where we see all of our subjects (writers, books, etc.) as all invested in the same kind of open-to-contexts/interpretations, super ambiguous, pleasure-of-the-text-y stuff that we’re into. And when we’re reminded that they’re not, that they might be into the dastardly logos and other things we thought we threw out…well, I guess it just redoubles our love of literary things, as always stubbornly other, as never pin-downable, as always one step ahead, as always off, slipping away round the corner. So I guess everyone goes home happy after all. Happy reading…


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