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After Babel: Aspects of Language and…
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After Babel: Aspects of Language and Translation (original 1975; edition 1998)

by George Steiner (Author)

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535728,481 (3.73)16
Member:NovaNexus
Title:After Babel: Aspects of Language and Translation
Authors:George Steiner (Author)
Info:Oxford University Press (1998), Edition: 3, 560 pages
Collections:Your library, Kindle
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Tags:Philosophy, Language

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After Babel: Aspects of Language and Translation by George Steiner (1975)

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    My Unwritten Books by George Steiner (vpfluke)
    vpfluke: Exquisite use and understanding of language.
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Showing 5 of 5
For those who do Translation Studies, are translators, or are doing anything comparative in their post-secondary education, this book is a must-read. It gives a detailed, comprehensive history of the practice of translation, beginning with its roots in biblical studies. Steiner never quite looses sight of the spiritual aspects of translation, in the religious and post-Hegelian sense of the word. He writes an especially adept analysis of Walter Benjamin's "The Task of the Translator" that clarifies Benjamin's somewhat murky text, making it accessible and, moreover, *useful* for the translator-scholar.

I recommend getting the most recent edition, and not buying a used copy of an older addition, as the introductions to the new editions generally amend and add information to the original text which was written in the '70s, I believe.

All in all, this book should be on the shelf of anyone interested in "world literature"--i.e. literature in translation--because it is essential that we question the efficacy of translation, its necessity, its drawbacks, and the ways it enriches our understanding of language, society and art. ( )
  anna_hiller | Jun 22, 2016 |
Another one that I gave up on at a fairly early stage. ( )
  MarthaJeanne | Jan 30, 2014 |
All speech is an act of translation. We need to transmit the ideas in our head to another person, and so must translate the thought into words. This act of translation forms the fundamental basis for how people interrelate. But what if the two people do not speak the same language? The translation has to be translated again in order to get the recipient to understand. It is these two translations that interest George Steiner in After Babel.

This book is not for the timid. He looks at the history of translation, the fundamental basic of language, and how and why translations succeed or fail. He incorporates Chomskyan linguistics and an in-depth interpretation of the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis (that the structure of a language affects the way the language-speaker conceptualizes the world). Since he sees translation as inherently artistic, he does not spend a lot of time trying to break down its mechanics. The language in this book is a bit stilted, but Steiner gets his points across. If you’re not a student of linguistics, some of his assertions can be challenging (at least I thought it was). I wish I had more to say, but all in all, I thought he did an excellent job of encapsulating the field. A dense but informative book. ( )
2 vote NielsenGW | Jun 9, 2013 |
For those who do Translation Studies, are translators, or are doing anything comparative in their post-secondary education, this book is a must-read. It gives a detailed, comprehensive history of the practice of translation, beginning with its roots in biblical studies. Steiner never quite looses sight of the spiritual aspects of translation, in the religious and post-Hegelian sense of the word. He writes an especially adept analysis of Walter Benjamin's "The Task of the Translator" that clarifies Benjamin's somewhat murky text, making it accessible and, moreover, *useful* for the translator-scholar.

I recommend getting the most recent edition, and not buying a used copy of an older addition, as the introductions to the new editions generally amend and add information to the original text which was written in the '70s, I believe.

All in all, this book should be on the shelf of anyone interested in "world literature"--i.e. literature in translation--because it is essential that we question the efficacy of translation, its necessity, its drawbacks, and the ways it enriches our understanding of language, society and art. ( )
  voncookie | Dec 24, 2007 |
Showing 5 of 5
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0192880934, Paperback)

When it first appeared in 1975, After Babel created a sensation, quickly establishing itself as both a controversial and seminal study of literary theory. In the original edition, Steiner provided readers with the first systematic investigation since the eighteenth century of the phenomenology and processes of translation both inside and between languages. Taking issue with the principal emphasis of modern linguistics, he finds the root of the "Babel problem" in our deep instinct for privacy and territory, noting that every people has in its language a unique body of shared secrecy. With this provocative thesis he analyzes every aspect of translation from fundamental conditions of interpretation to the most intricate of linguistic constructions.
For the long-awaited second edition, Steiner entirely revised the text, added new and expanded notes, and wrote a new preface setting the work in the present context of hermeneutics, poetics, and translation studies. This new edition brings the bibliography up to the present with substantially updated references, including much Russian and Eastern European material. Like the towering figures of Derrida, Lacan, and Foucault, Steiner's work is central to current literary thought. After Babel, Third Edition is essential reading for anyone hoping to understand the debates raging in the academy today.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:36 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

George Steiner's essential tome on linguistics, hailed by the New York Times as a "dazzling inquiry into the possibility of translation" In his classic work, literary critic and scholar George Steiner tackles what he considers the Babel "problem": Why, over the course of history, have humans developed thousands of different languages when the social, material, and economic advantages of a single tongue are obvious? Steiner argues that different cultures' desires for privacy and exclusivity led to each developing its own language. Translation, he believes, is at the very heart of human communication, and thus at the heart of human nature. From our everyday perception of the world around us, to creativity and the uninhibited imagination, to the often inexplicable poignancy of poetry, we are constantly translating-even from our native language.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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