Translating Cultures

Vagabond Voices
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We at Vagabond Voices believe that in order to discover the most advanced ideas in literature, one must know what is happening elsewhere. However vast the English-speaking world may be, it is often still thinking through the closed mechanisms of a single language.
    Vagabond Voicesadded a book to the bookshelfTranslating Cultures6 years ago
    Okay it's a play -- but read it anyway -- for the dialogue is brilliantly witty and sad. It's peopled, like many great Russian novels and plays, by an enormous cast of characters. There are would-be philosophers, narcoleptic loveable scroungers and decrepit servants. There are tortuous scenes of unrequited love and a sad-ridiculous speech made to a bookcase! But here's the thing: each and every one of them is utterly memorable, flawed and wonderfully human as they try to cope with the social changes that have crept up on them.
  • Vagabond Voicesadded a book to the bookshelfTranslating Cultures6 years ago
    Hermann Hesse once described this novel wonderfully. It's a bit lengthy but it's worth quoting:

    "What is it that makes this "idiot" so impossible in the world of other people? Why does no one understand him, even though almost all love him in some fashion, almost everyone finds his gentle- ness sympathetic, indeed often exemplary? What distinguishes him, the man of magic, from the others, the ordinary people? Why are they right in rejecting him? Why must they do it, inevitably? Why must things go with him as they did with Jesus, who in the end was abandoned not only by the world but by all his disciples as well?

    "It is because the "idiot's" way of thinking is different from that of the others. Not that he thinks less logically or in a more childlike and associative way than they – that is not it. His way of thought is what I call "magical." This gentle "idiot" completely denies the life, the way of thought and feeling, the world and the reality of other people. His reality is something quite different from theirs. Their reality in his eyes is no more than a shadow, and it is by seeing and demanding a completely new reality that he becomes their enemy."
  • Vagabond Voicesadded a book to the bookshelfTranslating Cultures6 years ago
    The still surface of a sea is soothing and peaceful but conceals unknown forces: the perfect metaphor for this story of love and war and the boundless suffering of innocents.
  • Vagabond Voicesadded a book to the bookshelfTranslating Cultures6 years ago
    A fragmented and suggestive tale of Linnaeus and his fantastically ambitious scientific project: "not only the erosion of the doctrine of the Creation, but even more about the painful loss of the comforting certainty that went with that doctrine, and, most of all, about the unpredictability of the world" - Der Welt
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