In his paper, "Benjamin, Agamben, and the Paradox of Translation," Paolo Bartoloni offers a theoretical discourse on translation that goes beyond the traditional precincts of linguistics and literary theory as well as the disciplines of cultural studies and postcolonial theory. Bartoloni argues that more recently, the discourse on translation has begun to incorporate epistemological concerns, dealing not only with language but also with subjectivity and ethics. At the root of this theoretical articulation of translation are the essays "The Task of the Translator" ("Die Aufgabe des Übersetzers") by Walter Benjamin and other reflections on translation by Martin Heidegger, especially in "Anaximander's Saying" ("Der Spruch des Anaximander") and the Heraclitus Seminar. Bartoloni interrogates Benjamin's reflection on translation by exposing the paradox and the philosophical conundrum of Benjamin's discussion, whose significance, and not only for the reception of translation, remains to be thoroughly conceptualized. Bartoloni provides an interpretation of Benjamin's notion of "pure language" by connecting and contrasting it with Giorgio Agamben's discussion of "voice" and with the Heideggerian notion of language as the "ringing stillness." The result is the sketching of an epistemological and philosophical function for translating that, although including linguistic and literary preoccupations, responds directly and specifically to key ontological and metaphysical issues.
"Benjamin, Agamben, and the Paradox of Translation."
CLCWeb: Comparative Literature and Culture
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