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eBook formatHardcover, (torrent)En
PublisherRoutledge & Kegan Paul Books
File size5 Mb
Pages count94
Book rating3.95 (4 votes)
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Poetry translations are a funny thing. Unlike novels or newspaper articles or logic textbooks, poems tend to emphasize precisely those aspects of language that lie beyond the literal meaning of words. I'm talking rhythm, etymology, phonetics, so on and so forth. All things that eschew simple translation. And what's more, the best translations will presumably result when the translator actually understands that which he or she is translating. Yet as the student of poetry knows only too well, not all texts are fully apprehensible.

Thus, any translator of Stănescu is beset by two major problems. As Oana Avasilichioaei—another poet/translator—has observed, the Romanian writer was extremely attuned to the non-semantic parts of language:
Stănescu handled words with tenderness sharpened on the edge of a knife. For him words were alive; they had all the qualities of life—birth, struggle, breath, joy, tumult, respite, death; they were bodily, carnal. If cut, he often thought, they would bleed. He treated words not as ethereal things, or as ideas that stood for things, but as things in themselves.

Making matters worse, I've also heard that his poetry is notoriously difficult—kind of like an Eastern European Wallace Stevens, I'd imagine. Which means that Petru Popescu and Peter Jay—the two translators of this collection—likely didn’t stand a chance.

All that being said, I didn't find this book terrible. But it read rather like a shadow flickering on the wall of a cave. I only wish I could catch a glimpse of Stănescu out in the sunlight.

Tags: download, nichita stănescu, ebook, epub, the still unborn about the dead

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