Tuesday, July 04, 2006
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.