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[xmca] Translation as Lipogram
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.
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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