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If he hadn't been so tired, ... he might have seen at the start that he was setting out on a journey that would change his life forever and chosen to turn back.

Orhan Pamuk


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Saturday the third

when it clicks: Orhan Pamuk is the author who taught me to identify with his narrator! (A lesson which has turned out to be really valuable in general as a way of reading.) This is exactly the story that he's telling about Galip's experience in The Black Book.

posted morning of the third: Respond
➳ More posts about The Black Book

Monday, January 29th

🦋 #tagyourself #itsme

...[A]ny Turk who passionately loves a masterpiece from the West which remains unread by his compatriots begins after a while to believe in all sincerity that not only does he love reading the book, but that he has written it himself.

--The Black Book

posted evening of January 29th: Respond
➳ More posts about Orhan Pamuk

Sunday, January 28th

🦋 Galip / Jelal

I decided to make a second try at reading Pamuk's The Black Book. I'm reading Güneli Gün's translation this time. (Thanks for the recommendation go to Badger of the lamented Orbis Quintus and also to Michael McGaha.)

It's been a long enough time that I have forgotten the text and the story in all but the very broadest strokes, from time to time I am recognizing a passage. I ought to review my notes from last time. I remember finding it difficult to wade through, and am not having that experience now, which can probably be taken (broadly) as evidence in support of Gün's translation being a better one...

I've started trying to read the chapters which are written by Jelal* as if I were in Galip's head, in the course of the story -- I think that is the intent, when for example the narrator says,

Working in the taxi's top light, Galip marked Jelal's column all over with numbers, signs, and letters, but he still didn't get anywhere.
The idea is that the reader should carry this image and others like it into reading the next chapter, which will be a column of Jelal's (viz. "The Kiss"). Is this asking much of the reader? I don't think I noticed this pattern last time I read the book.

Don't quite understand Galip's thinking that Jelal's columns (which he knows are reprints of old columns) would contain a clue abut Rüya's present whereabouts. (If I'm understanding right that that's why he's poring over the column and marking it up.)

In the middle of reading the previous Jelal column ("The Eye", which I think is one of the columns Galip had borrowed out of his cousin's collection of clips), I had the thought that the older relative (forget now which) who in a previous chapter criticized Jelal's columns as too long had a real point, that that could have been edited pretty brutally without losing much of value.


* Prefer this spelling, which Gün is using, to Celâl; Freely's rendering while accurate made me double-take "selal/jelal" every time I ran across it.

posted morning of January 28th: 1 response
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Monday, September 25th, 2017

🦋 Flesh and bones

Flesh and bones, I wear you like an overcoat.
Flesh and bones, you carry me around
like a favorite toy.

posted morning of September 25th, 2017: Respond
➳ More posts about Poetry

Thursday, October 20th, 2016

🦋 koan -ish moment

A friend just now described a blister's shape as "a laconic Nike swoosh" -- and he was quite right, too, that's what it looked like. And I had indeed just had in mind that very image, without having been able to name it, and replied, "I had that exact thought except without the eloquence!" He: "I feel that way when I read books I like" and the scales fall from my eyes!

posted evening of October 20th, 2016: Respond

Sunday, August 4th, 2013

🦋 Hospital Bed

Speaking of Antonio, and thinking as always about identification with the narrator, I just want to note that Antonio's description, at the beginning of chapter 2, of his stay in the hospital reminds me very strongly of my own extended stay as a child after an auto accident -- the circumstances obviously quite different but the feeling of being kept in the bed not fully understanding what's going on around you is instantly recognizable.

I don't remember, however, the three days of surgery: they have disappeared completely, obliterated by the intermittent anesthesia. I don't remember the hallucinations, but I do remember that I had them; I don't remember having fallen out of bed due to the abrupt movements that one of them provoked, and, although I don't remember that they tied me down in the bed to prevent that from happening again, I do remember quite well the violent claustrophobia, the terrible awareness of my vulnerablility.

posted afternoon of August 4th, 2013: Respond
➳ More posts about The Sound of Things Falling

Sunday, August 5th, 2012

🦋 Hearing voices: L2 revisions

This afternoon I finished my first round of revisions/corrections on a translation of Aaron Bady's essay The Autumn of the Patriarch: forgetting to live. Not the first L2 translation I have done but certainly the longest, and I think perhaps as well, I have approached this text with a little more systematic method, more "seriously", than previous ones.

Writing in Spanish is a peculiar, unfamiliar feeling for me, as I've said; but it does not hold a candle to revising material that I have written in Spanish. The denseness of the bifurcations of identity of the speaker that I have to go through to get from "me the translator" writing the words to "me the identification-with-the-author" playing the parts of Bady and of Bady's authorial voice to "me the reader" speaking the words to "me the listener/hearer" digesting the syntax and meaning, is quite remarkable. I am finding the multiple "me" voices in harmony with one another for much of the essay, which makes me think the translation is pretty good -- there are a few parts that seem clumsy and a few parts where I'm totally in the dark as to whether the Spanish rings true -- but I think I need to get in touch with some Spanish speakers to ask...

posted afternoon of August 5th, 2012: Respond
➳ More posts about Language

Friday, August third, 2012

🦋 Peter, dropping names

(This post is a continuation of the earlier Peter's Voice thread -- I am trying among other things to make my reading of La universidad desconocida be Peter's reading, trying to get in his head and read through his eyes and hope to fully realize his character. Hope that anybody's going to be interested in reading about this guy and the books he is reading and translating; but of course this hope has always been intrinsic to the READIN project...)

Walking down Partition Street in the light summer rain and watching the lightning across the river past Rhinebeck. A really impressive storm but it's far enough off, the air's not moving here. You have to strain to make out the thunder. Nice -- I'm glad to fantasize the soundtrack and just watch the show, glad to get a little wet, glad to get home and inside and dry off.

Laura's a little spacey tonight. Dale and them had a gig down at Tierney's, we smoked some grass on the way over there and she really got into it --the intoxication goes very nicely with Megan's chops on the washboard, with Dale singing "Rag Mama Rag," it must be said... a lovely time but all too short as they only had a half-hour set. The other acts? Nothing really that interesting, so here we are back home and Laura's prowling catlike by the bookcase. I'm smiling and asking her what she's reading.

-- Eh, nothing's really grabbed my attention much since Snow.

I grin, and flash on the "Love and Happiness" scene and Al Green singing, and feel the little twinge of uncertainty that's always present around Pamuk, like I'm not really getting it or am getting the wrong thing. (And hm, I should really mention that song to Dale...) -- Want to check out some poetry I've been working on? I found these pretty intense old Chilean poems over at Calixto's blog... and don't mention, or perhaps it goes without saying in this context, these poems from Ávala seem to me like good trip material -- but I've mentioned Chile, and Laura would rather listen to Bolaño. Nice --I open The Unknown University at random and hit on "El dinero"; and it seems to me like this is the perfect poem for today, being as I am in receipt of a check from the Reality Fusion job, feeling confident about our rent for the next few months, even about a shopping trip over to Amazon...

Still not much headway on the literary translation thing. But I remain hopeful; how could I not be, with Laura snuggled against me here on the couch as I read to her.

posted evening of August third, 2012: 7 responses
➳ More posts about This Silent House

Saturday, July 21st, 2012

🦋 Thinking about Identification and Projection - ¡Inténtalo!

Why no flowers:
Señor Josner your sexless poems your notes cry out
They plead for love
For love
Be loved
Then love

que yo escribo
que yo intento
que yo intento escribir
que yo intento escuchar
escuchar
escucharé
escribiré, iré, iría

posted morning of July 21st, 2012: Respond
➳ More posts about Writing Projects

Saturday, July 7th, 2012

🦋 Notas marginales

... His second book was even more successful than the first, professors in North American, and some of the most distinguished ones among the academic world of those long-past days, wrote enthusiastic reviews, wrote books about the books which were commenting on the Fox's books.

And from this moment on, the Fox felt -- with good reason -- that he was content; the years passed by without his publishing anything.

Well, people started talking. "What's up with the Fox?" -- when he showed up right on time for cocktails they would come up to him and be like, You ought to publish something more.

-- But look, I've already published two books.

-- And good ones, too! -- would come the reply -- That's exactly why you should publish another one!

And here the Fox did not say anything, but thought to himself: "What they're really looking for, is for me to publish a lousy book. But because I am the Fox, I'm not going to do it."

And he didn't.

"Fox is the smart one."
The Black Sheep and other fables
Augusto Monterroso

It's the funniest thing -- somehow I had gotten it into my head that the title of Bartleby y compañia was Bartlett y companía -- this despite many times of reading the correct title, and of writing it out, and even of ordering it on Amazon [and it occurs to me now that I have not really read anything, anything that sticks in my memory, about it, just references to the title]... thinking it had something to do with the quotations dude. (And to be sure there are a lot of quotations in the text -- that's not really here nor there though.) This is my introduction to Vila-Matas and it sure is a pleasant one. The idea of "un cuaderno de notas a pie de página que comentaron un texto invisible" is just about exactly what I am wanting to be reading right now -- and here I am experiencing that reverse-projection which I refer to as identification with the text in spades, I feel like the first chapter of the book is written in my voice. Thanks for the impetus, Richard. (And I am going to throw caution to the wind disregarding the hinted warning in Jean de la Bruyère's epigraph. Tal vez soy yo entre los otros a quienes la gloria consistiría en no escribir, pero...)

posted afternoon of July 7th, 2012: Respond
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