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On the Cultures of Exile,Translation and Writing

On the Cultures of Exile,Translation and Writing

Paolo Bartoloni
Copyright Date: 2008
Published by: Purdue University Press
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  • Book Info
    On the Cultures of Exile,Translation and Writing
    Book Description:

    The hypothesis of Paolo Bartoloni's book is based on the belief that a substantial and innovative discussion of the philosophical notions of immanence and potentiality is not only overdue but also necessary to address the social, political, cultural, and ethical aporia confronting us today.

    eISBN: 978-1-61249-027-4
    Subjects: Anthropology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 1-8)

    In a short story by the contemporary Italian author Gianni Celati, "Mio zio scopre l'esistenza delle lingue straniere" ("My Uncle Discovers the Existence of Foreign Languages"; 1985), the protagonist and uncle of the title migrates to France from a small town in northern Italy. He is a bricklayer, who knows of only one language: the one spoken in his village. When he arrives in France, he believes that the local language is merely another dialect, like all the others he has encountered during his journey. As he always has done, the uncle gets by; he marries a French woman and...

  5. Chapter One Translation
    (pp. 9-41)

    Translation is based, as Walter Benjamin intimates in his essay on translation, "Die Aufgabe des Übersetzers" ("The Task of the Translator"; 1923), on an exhilarating paradox and a fundamental metaphysical conundrum. Benjamin's thesis is that translation is possible, indeed necessary, because all languages are connected to one original language (on language and translation in Benjamin see also Andrew Benjamin, "The Absolute"; Jacobs; and Fynsk). Benjamin calls this original language "pure language" ("die reine Sprache"). But perhaps "related" is a better word than "connected" since in Benjamin's thought there is a strong sense of origin and genealogy—of kinship ("Verwandtschaft"). It...

  6. Chapter Two Time
    (pp. 42-79)

    Time slips away, time stops; it goes fast, proceeds erratically, it even stays still. Time keeps changing and yet never changes. We often speak of old time and new time, of present time, past time and future time. And yet, whenever we do this we do not talk about time: we talk about ourselves in time. What ages in time is not time itself but subjectivity. Calendars do not measure the passing of time, but the passing of lives in time. History is the site of this peculiar metonym through which what is measured and saved is, in reality, not...

  7. Chapter Three Exile
    (pp. 80-115)

    In "Politica dell'esilio" ("Politics of Exile") Agamben states that: "Only now that exile is no longer the banning of an individual from the community, but 'of one alone into one,' the condition of negativity and exclusion that exile enunciates appears to turn instead into a state of 'bliss' and lightness" (my translation; "Solo ora che l'esilio non è più il bando di un singolo dalla comunità, ma 'di un solo presso uno' e la condizione di negatività ed esclusione che esso esprime sembra, invece, rovesciarsi in uno stato di 'felicità' ["eudaimonion bios"] e di leggerezza ["kouphisthesetai"]"; "Politica" 25). Agamben introduces...

  8. Chapter Four Writing
    (pp. 116-153)

    Writing simultaneously celebrates and questions the metaphysical foundations of Western thought. It asserts the tangibility of the subject that performs the act of writing but it also exposes the limitations of this very subjectivity. When we talk about writing we speak of a corporality mediated through ideas and inscribed in language. We do not see the author who writes, we only hear and listen to the language resonating on the page. The concrete meeting we experience as readers is with the author's language. It is indeed instructive that recent critical trends in literary study—in particular in the study of...

  9. Conclusion
    (pp. 154-156)

    I find it fitting that Blanchot chose to setL'Attente l'oubliin a hotel room. Of course, many other settings might well complement a narration of suspension and indeterminacy, but the hotel room is particularly apt.

    Giorgio Caproni said that the idea to write the poem "Res amissa" occurred to him in a hotel room in Germany. Caproni was looking for a letter that he knew he had with him, but he could not find it. The philosophical and literary significance of what is near in its remoteness came to him when a very courteous and diligent room attendant tried...

  10. Works Cited
    (pp. 157-162)
  11. Index
    (pp. 163-167)
  12. Back Matter
    (pp. 168-168)