Translation, interpretation, metaphor, word choice, feeling. Judgement. Justice. Responsibility. There’s a lot going on in Rivky Mondal’s chapter on Roger Fry’s translations of Mallarmé. A paper that appears to be focussed on the niceties of Fry’s translational choices and the various reactions to them raises myriad large-scale issues, perhaps because translation itself is such a powerful trope as well as activity. Think about it: translation is a mug’s game. An original text sits before a reader who wishes to commute it into different language and yet retain the essence of the original.
The first thing to note about Sonita Sarker’s essay is that it offers a necessary challenge to and reorientation of the various definitions of responsible reading that appear throughout this volume. Responsible reading can and should take on any number of meanings, even contradictory meanings, in the chapters that appear here. But what responsible reading should never suggest is a “mandatory curriculum” that becomes a burden that the reader “does not ask to carry but becomes hers to bear.”
This week, in a series of blog takeovers, we’re looking at Modernism, Theory, and Responsible Reading with posts from the collection’s contributors. Guest post by Kathryn Carney In “Absolutely Small: Anarchism and the Aesthetics of Affirmation,” Roger Rothman draws on Immanuel Kant’s aesthetic thought and Gustav Landauer’s Weimar vein of utopian anarchism to argue for importing anarchist politics… Read More »
Kathryn Carney’s “theory-as-prosthesis” is a critical-phenomenological model constructed on the discontinuities of being in relation with another, whether that be a person, a text, or a field-level debate. The prosthesis is adopted as a metaphor in an obverse sense, not as a well-fitted supplement but rather as a figure of variability that remains “both a part of and distinct from the body, as each aspect—the body and the prosthetic, the actual and the virtual, the spatial and the temporal—interpenetrates the other without altogether integrating” (Carney #).
Fabio Akcelrud Durão’s essay “Responsible Reading of Theory” engages with a number of large and fundamental questions regarding the identity, purpose, and future of theory. The answers that it offers are so rich and complex that a responsible reading of the entirety of that essay would require a monograph. For that reason, this response will focus on just the first paragraph of the first of the essay’s three sections and consider how that paragraph defines the relationship between theory and literature.
Robert Baines starts his essay with a vivid analytical presentation of the last five decades of research in the field of Joyce Studies, emphasizing the context and stakes of the shift from (a) post-structuralist criticism to (b) a focus on “Joyce’s engagements with the history, politics, and culture of his age” (Baines xx), and later to (c) genetic criticism. Baines’ account of the last 50 years of criticism and his suggestions for extended forms of dialogue between supposedly divergent critical/ theoretical orientations can easily be transposed, mutatis mutandis, to Beckett studies.
Guest post by Sabine Meyer Sometimes, someone that has been incredibly important to you, that has penetrated your very way of thinking and being becomes an indispensable thread of your own fabric, sneaking back into your life, again and again, reminding you of the role they play in your never-ending evolution. To me, Lili Ilse… Read More »
Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about confinement.
How many steps from my desk to the fridge? (seven) How many from the fridge to the bathroom? (twelve) How many times per day do I track this route?
In October 1954, Samuel Beckett too was thinking of confinement. He was reading a letter from German prisoner Karl-Franz Lembke, who had translated, rehearsed and staged Beckett’s debut play, Waiting for Godot, behind bars. Beckett was clearly moved, as we can see in his response: