Tuesday, July 04, 2006

grasp


the cathedral
Originally uploaded by nardell.
I love writing. Or rather, I love reading. I picked up a book a week or so ago, Death in Venice by Thomas Mann, a new translation. Some people skip the intro, but considering that this books was newly translated from its original German, I decided that it was only fair to read the only part that was independently crafted by the translator that put so much work into a piece that is essentially, not his own.

The language is impeccable. So much so that I had to re-read each page at least twice. Picking apart the chosen phrasing made me light and dizzy, like fizzy bubbles sliding around inside my head. The Translator's Preface.

"The second job of art in Thomas Mann is the use of language as a fairly self-contained aesthetic medium to both evoke and distance: no matter what the words may conjure up emotionally, the author's irony keeps he feelings in check, whereby his increasingly complicated syntax establishes a network of bars- but who is in the cage and who is outside? Tadzio? Aschenbach? Or do Mann's sentences work like the beaded lead in a stained-glass window, keeping the colors apart yet holding the overall image together both physically and visually?"

I'm almost afraid to read any further. It is decidedly apparent that this translator was not simply working on assignment, but has a true appreciation for the nuances of the German and English languages, as well as Mann's own writing style.

I anticipate that this will be the kind of book that I would like to have read to me, in bed, before sleep, by a man who cradles me in one arm while giving voice to the words; and places the bookmark as I fall asleep- so we can return to that spot each night until it is done. Perhaps that's why I can't bring myself to continue; improper delivery.

3 comments:

Vasta said...

so yeah, it may sound a little cheesy and corny, but my favorite way to read a book is to read it aloud to someone. if i was around, i'd totally read it to you.

CorporateMonkey said...

that's so awesome. i can never find anyone to read to me. next time you're in dc you owe me a story :)

Vasta said...

hey, maybe more than one! =)

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