In the Web: Sept14

 

141006_r25550-1200_580-0> > Masha Gessen su Lyudmila Ulitskaya: The Weight of Words, «The New Yorker».

About three-quarters of the way through Lyudmila Ulitskaya’s latest novel, “The Big Green Tent,” set in the Soviet Union after the Second World War, a character named Mikha stays up all night reading. In the morning, when he arrives at work late, overemotional from the night of reading and from the discovery that his colleagues have covered for him, Mikha is compelled to share his reading with an older co-worker…

 

 

giovannibellini_stjeromereadinginthecountryside1> > Damion Searls su San Girolamo, nel Giorno internazionale della traduzione: Translation and Virginity, «The Paris Review».

As important a theological polemicist as he was a translator, he fired off letter after letter, volume after volume, from his library in Palestine, written in elegant classical Latin studded with choice insults. To someone who questioned his translations, he countered: “What men like you call fidelity in transcription, the learnèd term pestilent minuteness”…

 

 

sir_thomas_wyatt_by_hans_holbein_the_younger> > W.S. Merwin su Sir Thomas Wyatt e l’arte della traduzione: W. S. Merwin on Sir Thomas Wyatt, «The Paris Review».

Translation has taken many forms, but we still go on talking about it as if all these forms were the same thing, when in fact they’re not. Anything from a pony to what is called a free version or an adaptation—they’re all called translations. The word translating, and the work of translating, is extremely vague and misleading. You don’t know what to expect…

 

 

gordon_2-100914_580-0> > Peter E. Gordon sui “taccuini neri” di Martin Heidegger: Heidegger in Black, «The New York Review of Books».

In the autumn of 1931, the philosopher Martin Heidegger began to record his thoughts in small diaries that he called the schwarze Hefte, or “black notebooks.” By the early 1970s he had filled no fewer than thirty-four volumes with his handwritten reflections. Their name describes their black oilcloth covering, but one could be forgiven for thinking it described their content. They will cast a dark shadow over Heidegger’s legacy…

 

244486ab> > Charles McGrath ricorda il poeta e traduttore scozzese Alastair Reid: Postscript: Alastair Reid (1926-2014), «The New Yorker».

To his admiring younger colleagues he was a living connection to a vast, glittering literary web. If you shook hands with Alastair, we imagined, you touched the hand that had steered Borges by the elbow, that had slapped the back of Gabo, tossed back shots with Neruda, and, if you included Graves, that had shook the hand that shook the hand of Thomas Hardy…

 

 

essex> > Marina Warner sull’accademia in Inghilterra: Diary, «London Review of Books».

Creative writing is a controversial subject, and many who teach it don’t defend it as a proper discipline. I am not one of them, but I can see the problems. How would you mark Wuthering Heights? (‘Emily, I think you need to reorganise the chronology.’) Or assess Gertrude Stein? (‘Have you heard of commas?’) I try to bring in Renaissance ideas of imitatio, and teach by example, of past masters and mistresses…

 

 

Daumier_Footnotes__jpg_600x713_q85> > Tim Parks sui rimandi bibliografici nell’era di internet: References, Please, «The New York Review of Books».

In the age of the Internet, do we really need footnotes to reference quotations we have made in the text? For a book to be taken seriously, does it have to take us right to the yellowing page of some crumbling edition guarded in the depths of an austere library, if the material could equally well be found through a Google search? Has an element of fetishism perhaps crept into what was once a necessary academic practice?…

 

Cecil_Alden_jpg_600x583_q85> > Charles Simic sui piaceri del vino in New Hampshire e l’arrivo dell’autunno: A Granite State Miracle, «The New York Review of Books».

I remember a story about President Nixon habitually guzzling rare vintage Bordeaux during state dinners without sharing it with his guests, having it poured into his glass by a trusted servant from a bottle wrapped in a white napkin to conceal the label. A part of me understands his reluctance to share. As Jesus said, “Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet.” But when it comes to wine I can’t follow our Lord’s advice…

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