19 Ways of Looking at Wang Wei

19 Ways of Looking at Wang Wei

With More Ways

Book - 2016
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The difficulty (and necessity) of translation is concisely described in Nineteen Ways of Looking at Wang Wei, a close reading of different translations of a single poem from the Tang Dynasty--from a transliteration to Kenneth Rexroth's loose interpretation. As Octavio Paz writes in the afterword, "Eliot Weinberger's commentary on the successive translations of Wang Wei's little poem illustrates, with succinct clarity, not only the evolution of the art of translation in the modern period but at the same time the changes in poetic sensibility."
Publisher: New York, NY : New Directions Books, 2016
ISBN: 9780811226202
0811226204
Characteristics: 88 pages ; 19 cm
Additional Contributors: Paz, Octavio 1914-1998

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eileenlufkin
Aug 11, 2017

Mrissa on Dreamwidth says "What a brief and delightful book. It deconstructs a Chinese poem in detail, from the character level upward. By the time he got to the first decent version, he had shown me enough that I could blurt out loud, “Now, there you go!” There are forays into translation from Chinese into Spanish, German, and French; there are discursions into single prepositions and also bits where Weinberger gets quite sharp with other translators about botany, there is a point at which he makes a dire academic enemy, and more than one member of my household had to look up for absolutely certain whether Eliot Weinberger was a real person or a joke Octavio Paz was having on all of us. It is hilarious, sometimes intentionally so. It grasps a great many important points about translation extremely keenly. There may be a point or two about the philosophy of the original poem that fall by the wayside along the way. But there are only 88 pages in this volume, so it will cost you very little time to find it and judge for yourself."

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