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Re: [xmca] Fwd: Translation as Lipogram

Actually, after I shot my mouth off I went home and looked up the bit on Spet in "The Formal Method". There's only a rather short, but disparaging, note there, though of course in general Bakhtin and his group are against Spet on a number of important points:
a) The absolute distinction between denotation and connotation (this comes up in  Thinking and Speech Chapter Seven too of course.
b) The word as "innerly" structured (as opposed to structured from without).
c) The word as idea, as opposed to the word as part of an absolutely material social environment.
There's also a lot on the Humboldtian view of language as "energeia", which Spet shared.
In "Marxism and the Philosophy of Language", there's quite a bit more on Spet (p. 50, p. 102) and the words "completely inadmissable" are used both times.  Later on, of course, it was completely inadmissable to even mention his name, so I guess this is as close as we can get to the view of Bakhtin and his group.
David Kellogg
Seoul National University of Education

--- On Sat, 6/20/09, Mike Cole <lchcmike@gmail.com> wrote:

From: Mike Cole <lchcmike@gmail.com>
Subject: [xmca] Fwd: Translation as Lipogram
To: "Vladimir Zinchenko" <ZinchRAE@mtu-net.ru>
Cc: "eXtended Mind, Culture,Activity" <xmca@weber.ucsd.edu>
Date: Saturday, June 20, 2009, 7:43 AM

Volodya--- There is a question for you at bottom of this note about
translation that is address to you.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: David Kellogg <vaughndogblack@yahoo.com>
Date: Fri, Jun 19, 2009 at 9:26 PM
Subject: Translation as Lipogram
To: mcole@weber.ucsd.edu, Culture ActivityeXtended Mind <xmca@weber.ucsd.edu

This morning I thought of a another example--that is, another example of a
work of art that both is itself and is an example of itself or a translation
of itself, like Proust's "In Search of Lost Time", which is both a novel
about wasting time and a set of incredibly time wasting long sentences, and
Yeats' poem about memory which is both a poem about memory and an example of
how memories disappear as you go over them.

In 1969, Georges Perec wrote a full length novel (312 pages) called "La
disparition", without using the letter "e" (I think it was eventually
translated into English as "A void". It was about various kinds of losses:
the loss of letters, the loss of wordings, the loss of meanings, the loss
of parents, and of course the loss of European Jewry in the Showa.

It seems to me that a LOT of children's literature is like this: almost
every great work of children's literature is about the loss of parents in
one form or another. Freud famously attributes this to parricidal impulses;
but there is a far more obvious impulse in the child's social situation of
development, namely the irreconcilable contradiction of being ever-dependent
on others for even basic needs and the inability of others to feel what we
feel. The voice between sentences, which answers every question and which
questions every answer, is already dying away, and it is soon not going to
be there at all.

Translation is another example, Achilles. I don't know if there have been
any good studies on this specifically, though of course Volosinov does write
about how it is only in translation and in foreign language learning that a
mature language meets a mature consciousness. It's a second marriage for
both, of course; but a lot of things are better the second time around.

There's a nice poem called "Failing and Falling" by John Gilbert that seems
to me to apply very well to children's literature, translation, foreign
language learning, and all the other literature about lack.

Anything worth doing is worth doing badly. …
I believe Icarus was not failing as he fell,
but just coming to the end of his triumph.

David Kellogg
Seoul National University of Education

PS: Why does Zinchenko think that Spet and Bakhtin have this deep affinity?
There is a great deal in "The Formal Method" that strongly suggests the
contrary. Was that just Medvedev?

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