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Existentialism

New PDF release: Beckett, Literature, and the Ethics of Alterity

By Shane Weller (auth.)

ISBN-10: 0230506062

ISBN-13: 9780230506060

ISBN-10: 1349544787

ISBN-13: 9781349544783

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Additional resources for Beckett, Literature, and the Ethics of Alterity

Example text

Genesis 11: 1-9) 1 Translation and Difference Dispatching Benjamin 'Translation proper': the interlingual and its others Is it ever ethical to translate? In other wordsBut already, as though it refused to await any decision concerning its relation to the ethical, translation of a kind is taking place here. For one definition of translation- one translation of the word 'translation' -is precisely: in other words. According to Roman Jakobson, however, in his seminal 1959 essay 'On Linguistic Aspects of Translation', such a dispatching of words into other words is merely an instance of intralingual translation ('an interpretation of verbal signs by means of other signs of the same language'), and, as another way of saying the same thing in the same language, intralingual translation is, like intersemiotic translation ('an interpretation of verbal signs by means of signs of nonverbal sign systems'), to be distinguished from interlingual translation, or 'translation proper': 'an interpretation of verbal signs by means of other verbal signs' Qakobson 1987, 429).

Yet in a singularly impressive manner, it at least points the way [hindeutet] to this region: the predestined, hitherto inaccessible realm of reconciliation and fulfillment of languages' (Benjamin 1996, 257). While all historically existent languages differ from each other in their way of meaning (Art des Meinens), what each of them as a whole means is 'one and the same thing' (eines und zwar dasselbe), Translation and Difference 39 namely the pure language itself. And this pure language 'no longer means or expresses anything [nichts mehr meint und nichts mehr ausdriickt] but is, as expressionless and creative Word, that which is meant by all languages' (Benjamin 1996, 261).

Much later, after destructions of a kind even Benjamin would have been hard-pressed to imagine, Adorno will write of a reconciliation in which difference is preserved as a kind of non-antagonistic indifference: 'Reconcilement [Versohnung] would release the nonidentical, would rid it of coercion, including spiritualized coercion; it would open the road to the multiplicity of different things and strip dialectics of its power over them. Reconcilement would be the thought of the many as no 40 Beckett, Literature, and the Ethics of Alterity longer inimical, a thought that is anathema to subjective reason' (Adorno 1973, 6).

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Beckett, Literature, and the Ethics of Alterity by Shane Weller (auth.)


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