11 oct. 2011


Few other forms of artistic expression are as hemmed-in as poetry, with its dependence on extremely sophisticated knowledge of a particular linguistic code. It's not just that you need to know the language, but that you have to know it well, in a nuanced way. It's true that you can be deaf to certain foreign traditions in music, or blind to iconographic traditions, but I think those could be learned much more easily than an entire foreign language.

Novels don't present the same problem, unless they are actually dependent on language. A great many are not (particularly).

Don't bother mentioning translation to me. I've heard of it, in fact. That's not really the solution, but simply another way of naming the problem. By the same token, without poetry, the problems of translation become trivial ones.