Re: Pastures new, and old, now dead.
Before (and I promise) finally closing my personal book on the recent ugly
head of argument (see below) I hope to raise another point of discussion,
which might prove fruitful, and certainly is of interest to me, at any rate..
In 1941 VN wrote: “The first thing I discovered was that the expression "a
literal translation" is more or less nonsense.”
In 1990 he wrote, of literal translation: “rendering, as closely as the
associative and syntactical capacities of another language allow, the exact
contextual meaning of the original. Only this is true translation.”
Anyone is perfectly entitled to change their mind. In fact, it is the duty
of any honest thinker to do so if s/he thinks it right, or the evidence
requires it. Only mules are obstinately stubborn. However, I wonder what would have
been VN’s bedrock belief on the problems of translation?
Reverting to old muttons, re Will; Peter Dale writes:
Sexual innuendo is not something Freud discovered. Down to the second last
century, all men of literate persuasion were nurtured on the salacious bosoms
of Greek and Latin literature, where obscenity is par for the intercourse
between writer and reader.
Indeed. As Koestler remarks in The Act of Creation, 1964, p.148, “the
unconscious was no more invented by Freud than evolution was invented by Darwin”.
Freud did, however, bring sexuality to front stage in the interpretation of
human behaviour, and in pointing the perception of veiled texts. Koestler’s
chapter VII, Thinking Asides, appears to me to have entertaining relevance to
the understanding of creativity, particularly literary creativity of the type
exhibited by VN. Koestler quotes extensively from The Unconscious before
Freud, L.I.Whyte, 1962. Many readers remain unconscious of sexual innuendo in
many revered texts. I suggest, but do not insist, that Henderson, 1975; Adams,
1982; Richlin, 1983; are writing in the train of Freud; Whyte, 1962; Koestler,
Since you insist that Partridge's volume 'Shakespearean Bawdy' might resolve
your doubts, then look at pp.284-6 (3rd edition 1968).
Again, I insist on nothing, but hope to be rational, even-tempered and
good-natured in any discussion. Until my Partridge emerges from the thickets of my
bookshelves, I am most obliged to PD for quoting from his 3rd edition, 1968,
and indicating Partridge’s acknowledgement of corrections supplied to him by
a number of scholars since 1947.
Again, I do not insist, but I continue to believe that, closely read, the
primary sense of the line quoted from All’s Well, iv, III, is that the speaker
is saying that “he” incarnated his desire. The reading otherwise proposed
makes less sense than the lines I quoted from Byron and Hamlet. I do not
insist, but I do repeat that Shade’s apostrophe contains no innuendo.
PD may be satisfied to learn that I have ordered a copy of Booth, 1977. I
trust that this brings to an end this increasingly unpopular point of debate.
All for today, in deference to the prescriptions of other list members.
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