Don't be fooled by the title
I’m rebooting my long-dormant newsletter today in order to share an essay I’ve just published at Liberties Journal, a new magazine published by Leon Wieseltier that is one of the most exciting publications around.
The essay is called “Against Translation,” a title inspired by Susan Sontag’s Against Interpretation. It’s often been pointed out that Sontag was not actually against interpretation, so I guess I should point out that I am not actually against translation: it’s something I have been intimately involved in for decades. The subject of how words move between cultures is one I’ve probably thought about as much or more than any other subject. The subject of how words fail to move between cultures, idem.
I’d be happy if you’d give “Against Translation” a read. Here it is. It’s part of a longer book I mean to finish someday in the not-too-distant future, about my generation of Americans, the children of the bicentennial, and the assumptions with which we were raised. One of these was that “everyone” spoke English.
I’m hoping to write a bit more here soon. I’ve been busy with traveling (!) and also with a few other projects. But I miss the aspect of weekly conversation that this newsletter provides.
I hope everyone is doing well. Last year at this time, the first vaccines were just starting to be given out.