The Backside of Tapestry: Notes on the Art of Translation

Alberto Manguel

ESSAY. TINTA DA CHINA, 2023. 136 PAGES

«Every translation is a transposition. In the Middle Ages, the word translatio denoted the movement of a saint's relics from one place to another: translation therefore as displacement, as restoring to the sign its nomadic nature, as uprooting a sacred object from the site where it was located to be placed in another territory-translation as movement, translation as emigration. Like those who transport relics, translators strip the text of its outward appearance and transplant it into the soil of their own language. The new context transforms and preserves the text, covering it with a new skin: translation as metaphor.»

The Text has its own double, in the sense of Doppelgänger, in the sense of «transposing» and making its own way; and this double is Translation. For to translate is exactly to dislocate, from one place to another. In such an enormous field of issues it rambles-not speaking of technique: is there anything that is not translation? is there anything that is not interpretation? is there such a thing as the «original text»? is there such a thing as a work that is by one author?... - this cultured reflection, so rich in exemplary stories related to the life and death of languages; and of classical flavor and slow, dura-ture and solitary reading. In accomplishing it, Alberto Manguel leads the reader into the paths that deviate between two Platonic, inevitable and unthinkable entities: the «Pure Text» and the «Right Translation».

Review Corriere della Sera

«This volume by Alberto Manguel is an enchanting manual of that art of war that is translation. a war of defense or conquest, a page, a book, a region that is erased or lost, a border that is recomposed or frayed.»

 

Claudio Magris, CORRIERE DELLA SERA

Published by: Italy SELLERIO | Portugal: TINTA DA CHINA

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