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Boethius: The Poems from "On the Consolation of Philosophy"
Series No.: SM Glassgold
ISBN: 1-55713-109-0, Pages: 235
American Literature, Poetry
A Sun & Moon title.
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As the subtitle suggests, in Boethius Peter Glassgold has translated a work out of one antique language into another--or others, many "Englishes," revealing in his wake the various derivations, twistings and turnings of language. As with Hwat! A Little Old English Anthology of American Modernist Poetry, wherein Glassgold translated modern and contemporary American poetry into Old English, this new work dares to take language in new--and ancient--directions.
Glassgold says he thinks of these translations as Benjaminic (as in the Walter Benjamin essay "The Task of the Translator") insofar as Benjamin evokes a pure text, or a pure language that exists somewhere in between the original and its translations. His kabbalistic/Neoplatonist ideal of language as such finds distant philosophical echoes in Boethius, the last of the classic Neoplatonists, while the notion of pure language being found in intertextual space finds a kind of graphic expression in Glassgold's historical linguistic collaging. The translator likes to think of his translations "as if the Latin words were viewed through a deep pool, and down at the bottom, distorted by layers of verbal currents and aural foreshortenings, lies the Latin."
What Zukovsky strives for in his sound-translations of Catullus, so Glassgold in his way does for Boethius: restoring poetry to its densely layered meanings.
This incredibly original work will be the topic of linguistic and translation discussions for years to come.