Fragmentation Echoes in Modern Translation Theory

Rawad Alhashmi

Abstract


The paradox of the Tower of Babel and the underlying story behind the confusion of tongues are inextricably intertwined with various linguistic differences across the world. The tool of language, regardless of whether it is a gift of God, or a purely human artifact, or whatever one may choose to believe regarding its origins, is a tool that allows us to communicate with each other, thereby opening the door for dialogue with the ‘Other.’ As the myth of Babel began influencing several scholars in the twentieth century, linguistic theories inevitably elicited great interest among many acclaimed scholars, including Franz Kafka (1883–1924), Walter Benjamin (1892–1940) and Jacques Derrida (1930–2004). To that end, the fragmented mode of languages is a fundamental principle in their discourse on the confusion of tongues. In this article, I argue that Kafka’s writing, particularly the notion of the “piecemeal construction” in “The Great Wall of China,”1 has influenced Benjamin’s theory of translation and echoed Derrida’s respective view thereof.

Keywords


Linguistic Fall, Pure Language, Architectural Language, Fragment, Art, Translation Contract

Full Text:

PDF

References


Alhashmi, Rawad. “Image and Truth: Paradigms of Modern Translation Theory.” Language, Literature, and Interdisciplinary Studies, vol. 3, no. 1, 2019, pp. 71–89.

---. “Language Theory Mirrored between Benjamin and Kafka.” Pacific Ancient and Modern Language Association, 10 Nov. 2017, pamla.org/2017/proposals/language-theory-mirrored-between-benjamin-and-kafka-0.

Benjamin, Andrew E, and Peter Osborne. Walter Benjamin's Philosophy: Destruction and Experience. London; New York: Routledge, 1994.

Benjamin, Walter. “Task of the Translator.” Illuminations, edited by Hannah Arendt, translated by Harry Zohn, New York: Schocken, 1986, pp. 69–82.

Barnstone, Willis. The Poetics of Translation: History, Theory, Practice. Yale University Press, 1993. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt32bf2n. Accessed 30 Mar. 2020.

“Masonry Definition and Meaning: Collins English Dictionary.” Masonry Definition and Meaning | Collins English Dictionary, HarperCollins Publishers Ltd, www.collinsdictionary.com/us/dictionary/english/masonry. Accessed 30 Mar. 2020.

Crane, Susan, A. “Of Photographs, Puns, and Presence.” Presence: Philosophy, History and Cultural Theory for the Twenty-First Century. Edited by Ranjan Ghosh and Ethan Kleinberg. Cornell University Press, 2013, pp. 62–78.

Derrida, Jacques, and Lawrence Venuti. “What Is a ‘Relevant’ Translation?” Critical Inquiry, vol. 27, no. 2, 2001, pp. 174–200. JSTOR, JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/1344247.

---. “Des Tours de Babel.” Difference in Translation. Edited by Joseph F. Graham. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1985, pp. 165–207.

---., and Gil. Anidjar. Acts of Religion. Routledge, 2002.

De Man, Paul. The Resistance to Theory. University of Minnesota Press, 1986.

Ghosh, Ranjan, et al. Presence: Philosophy, History and Cultural Theory for the Twenty-First Century. Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press, 2013.

Handelman, Susan A. Fragments of Redemption: Jewish Thought and Literary Theory in Benjamin, Scholem, and Levinas. Bloomington: Indiana UP, 1991.

Jacobs, Carol. In the Language of Walter Benjamin. Baltimore, Johns Hopkins UP, 1999.

---. “The Monstrosity of Translation.” MLN, vol. 90, no. 6, 1975, pp. 755–766. JSTOR, JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/2907018.

Kafka, Franz. “The Great Wall of China” Kafka's The Metamorphosis and Other Writings. Edited by Helmuth Kiesel. Continuum, 2002, pp. 163–174.

Levinas, Emmanuel, and Alphonso Lingis. Totality and Infinity: An Essay on Exteriority. Pittsburgh, Penn. Duquesne University Press, 1994.

Rosenzweig, Franz, and Barbara E. (Barbara Ellen) Galli. Cultural Writings of Franz Rosenzweig. Syracuse University Press, 2000.

Suchoff, David Bruce. Kafka’s Jewish Languages: The Hidden Openness of Tradition. University of Pennsylvania Press, 2012.

Scholem, Gershom Gerhard. Walter Benjamin: The Story of a Friendship. Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society of America, 1981.

Steiner, George. After Babel: Aspects of Anguage and Translation. Oxford Univ. Press, 1998.

Sokel, Walter H. “Language and Truth in the Two Worlds of Franz Kafka.” The German Quarterly, vol. 52, no. 3, 1979, pp. 364–384. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/404873. Accessed 1 Apr. 2020.

Wolin, Richard. Walter Benjamin, an Aesthetic of Redemption. University of California Press, 1994.




DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7575/aiac.ijclts.v.8n.2p.8

Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.




Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

2013-2020 (CC-BY) Australian International Academic Centre PTY.LTD.

International Journal of Comparative Literature and Translation Studies

You may require to add the 'aiac.org.au' domain to your e-mail 'safe list’ If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox'. Otherwise, you may check your 'Spam mail' or 'junk mail' folders.