Thursday, September 20, 2007

Rechts links

Those translated excerpts from the German Book Prize shortlist that I mentioned last week have begun to appear at Sign & Sight. Unfortunately not all as yet.

In Cabinet Magazine, the extravagantly-named Leland de la Durantaye goes on a journey to Heidegger's hut at Todtnauberg, explaining many things on the way, such as the problems of translation:
Holzwege proved a disarmingly difficult title to translate, or even understand: Holz means 'wood,' and wege means 'paths.' Thus: 'Paths in the Forest' — but Holzwege are not just any paths. They are paths made not for the forest but the trees; paths for finding and carrying wood (back to your hut), not for getting from point A to B. And when you are on one, you are, proverbially, on the wrong path.
The almost-as-extravagantly-named Patrick ffrench has a fine essay at Parrhesia journal about friendship as understood by Bataille and Blanchot, two writers deeply influenced Heidegger.

Finally, Spurious has a beautiful meditation on forgetting in novels, framed by James Wood's readings of Chekhov and Virginia Woolf:
Into what are we drawn as readers? Into the self-forgetting of the novel, that sets free its central characters and all of its characters, that sets free its plot and lets wander; and finally sets free its narrative voice, that speaks only in the invisibility Mrs Ramsay has been allowed to inhabit. As though her thoughts had turned her inside out like a glove. As though there was a kind of streaming that is more than consciousness - a current that has drawn us drowning beneath the water.

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