New PDF release: Refractions of Violence

By Martin Jay

A brand new number of essays through the the world over well-known cultural critic and highbrow historian Martin Jay that revolves round the subject matters of violence and visuality, with essays at the Holocaust and digital fact, non secular violence, the artwork global, and the Unicorn Killer, between quite a lot of different issues.

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But, as Gadamer reminds us, this doubling in language equally opens up the distance that we can take from ourselves insofar as language belongs to all thinking. The neediness opened up in this differential element of language­ that is, the necessity and failure of language to return to itself-which defines all language is, according to Holderlin, experienced in its most compressed form in the language of tragedy. " 10 It is this longing that speaks in every effort at translation. And of course, this relation of language to ruin, rupture, and longing says much about who we are.

The experience of translation clearly belongs to the special anxiety of always being only on the way to language, never quite there, of, as Canetti recalls, the imminence having one's tongue cut off. The passage from Canetti that I have in mind and find pertinent is from his autobiogra­ phy, The Tongue Set Free: My earliest memory is dipped in red. I come out of a door . . the floor in front of me is red, and to the left a staircase goes down, equally red . . A door opens, and a smiling man steps forth .

It is precisely when a language is asked most pointedly to define itself by answering the question of what can and cannot be said that the inner limits of that language begin to become apparent. In translation, as in the poem, language is thrown back on itself and pushed to its own barriers. Here, at its own limits, language most affirms and asserts itself, insisting on remaining itself. But it is nonetheless equally the point at which every language as such must run aground. In Gadamer's words: "Thinking sets to work [and here that means: language comes to word] at the point where translation, that is the illusion of the option of some transport of a thought, meets its ruin" (HW, 1 1 6).

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