Found in translation

Interesante artículo de Michael Cunningham que descubro en el NY Times de hoy. Lo escribe poniendo en solfa la tesis del autor como demiurgo que escribe para sí mismo. Aquí está. Me gusta.

Algunas citas:

Here’s a secret. Many novelists, if they are pressed and if they are being honest, will admit that the finished book is a rather rough translation of the book they’d intended to write. It’s one of the heartbreaks of writing fiction. You have, for months or years, been walking around with the idea of a novel in your mind, and in your mind it’s transcendent, it’s brilliantly comic and howlingly tragic, it contains everything you know, and everything you can imagine, about human life on the planet earth. It is vast and mysterious and awe-inspiring. It is a cathedral made of fire.

But even if the book in question turns out fairly well, it’s never the book that you’d hoped to write. It’s smaller than the book you’d hoped to write. It is an object, a collection of sentences, and it does not remotely resemble a cathedral made of fire.

It feels, in short, like a rather inept translation of a mythical great work.

The translator, then, is simply moving the book another step along the translation continuum. The translator is translating a translation.

There are a lot of other stories out there, and by now, in the 21st century, there’s been such an accumulation of literature that few of us will live long enough to read all the great stories and novels, never mind the pretty good ones. Not to mention the fact that we, as readers, are busy.

We have large and difficult lives. We have, variously, jobs to do, spouses and children to attend to, errands to run, friends to see; we need to keep up with current events; we have gophers in our gardens; we are taking extension courses in French or wine tasting or art appreciation; we are looking for evidence that our lovers are cheating on us; we are wondering why in the world we agreed to have 40 people over on Saturday night; we are worried about money and global warming; we are TiVo-ing five or six of our favorite TV shows.

What the writer is saying, essentially, is this: Make room in all that for this. Stop what you’re doing and read this. It had better be apparent, from the opening line, that we’re offering readers something worth their while.

One of the consolations of writing books is the seemingly unquenchable conviction that the next book will be better, will be bigger and bolder and more comprehensive and truer to the lives we live. We exist in a condition of hope, we love the beauty and truth that come to us, and we do our best to tamp down our doubts and disappointments.


2 Respuestas a “Found in translation

  1. Asi es la vida, tal y como describe el Sr Cunningham que ocurre a la hora de escribir un libro. Pensamos en un proyecto de vida, este es enorme y maravilloso pero según nos adentramos en el, se va transformando y de lo que ibamos a hacer
    un castillo, se convierte en una simple choza que para nada se parece al proyecto inicial.

  2. No tengo tan claro q se replatee si el autor escribe para sí mismo, algunos lo hacen, otros no. Yo lo entiendo más como la eterna insatisfacción con lo escrito pq, a mí me pasa, por la noche, en la quietud de mi almohada, se me ocurrieron unas metáforas fastuosas y todas las palabras parecían enconntrarse con una fluidez maravillosa y… luego, a la maniana, te sientas al teclado y ese párrafo no es tan bonito, ni tan sonoro, ni tan innovador como el q te persiguió en tu duermevela… y piensas, por favor, no digas que fue un suenio…


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