Sunday, January 27, 2013

How pretty is it, being easy?

A passion of this page, for trans-
lation and its problems, is like
any of the passions, better exem-
plified than argued. Yesterday's
time when we have shared the im-
pression, with great warmth and
attention, that there truly are
definitive glories in alternative
distinctions. Yesterday, an at-
tentive reader could participate,
I think, in Aeneas' own wonder,
by placing himself in the shape
of its expression. We investi-
gate and approach profound ex-
perience with simple implements.

Translation is but the most ob-
vious of exercises of this im-
plicit respect for definition;
and definition, tiresome as it
always is to those who wish to
rush into pleasure - which is 
to say, invention - occasional-
ly seems inadequately inventive.
Oh, I don't know: what was being
celebrated by Vasily Grossman,
right in the middle of a battle
for Stalingrad, if not the defin-
ing of matter?

The entry for last Wednesday has
been edited, to clarify that a
resistance, by reason and by his-
tory, are natural and possibly un-
avoidable, to inaugural remarks
offered by the President on Mon-
day. No one likes to refuse an
embrace, much less one of benign
intent. But a very great strug-
gle is never going to end, mere-
ly to have captivated the cal-
culus of one man; and this page
is unable to accept his transla-
tion, unable to defer to his de-
bauched definition of the matter
in which he so recklessly is dab-
bling. He is discussing the in-
calculably costliest cornerstone
of free government ever won by
any nation, the equal protection 
of its laws, as if it turned upon
the moral worth of its citizens,
patronising writs of equivalency,
and illegitimate speculation into
their affections. It does not. It 
is majestically indifferent. It 
does not turn at all.

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