Monday, January 20, 2014

Von Bagdad nach Stambul

The tale of Genji, with its eerily Proustian anatomisation of social protocol and matters of the heart, is approachable [...] but The Tale of the Heike feels much more antique, a military chronicle cobbled together from a mishmash of adventure yarns, religious cautionary tales, folk legends and portraits of heroism. (S. Sacks, "The age is ours!". London Review of Books. 21 November 2013. p.29) || Einfacher gesagt, ist eine Handlung alles, was in und um eine Konfiguration in einem Text 'passiert', und zwar in chronologischer Sukzession. Nehmen wir als Beispiel einen Roman von Karl May, etwa "Von Bagdad nach Stambul". || Stated more simply, a plot is everything that takes place in and around a configuration in a text, and in chronological succession. Let us take as an example a novel by Karl May, for instance "From Bagdad to Istanbul". (J. Link, Literaturwissenschaftliche Grundbegriffe. Munich. W. Fink Verlag. 1974. transl. mine) || Dem Roßhändler schlug das Herz gegen den Wams. Es drängte ihn, den nichtswürdigen Dickwanst in den Kot zu werfen, und den Fuß auf sein kupfernes Antlitz zu setzen. Doch sein Rechtgefühl, das einer Goldwaage glich, wankte noch [...] (H.v. Kleist, Michael Kohlhaas. 1810. Projekt Gutenberg) || The horse-dealer's heart thumped against his doublet. He felt a strong desire to throw the good-for-nothing, pot-bellied scoundrel into the mud and set his foot on his copper-colored face. But his sense of justice, which was as delicate as a gold-balance, still wavered [...] (Frances H. King. Kohlhaas translation. 1914. Full text) || His most ardent supporters were a group of ageing New York radicals led by Constancia Romilly, the daughter of Jessica Mitford [...] (A. Shatz, "The Life and Death of Juliano Mer-Khamis". London Review of Books. 21 November 2013. pp.7-8) || [At the Geological Society of London] there followed long, often spirited debates on matters such as where to fix the borders of the Devonian period. "Though I don't much care for geology," one visitor to the society's early meetings noted, "I do like to see the fellows fight." (E. Kolbert, "The Lost World". The New Yorker. December 23 & 30, 2013. p.48) || Wird das Telefon abgehoert? Und wenn ja: lohnt sich das? Es ist das Beste, diese Frage am Telefon zu besprechen. || Is the telephone being bugged? And if so: is it worth it? It's best to discuss this issue on the telephone. (M. Frisch, Tagebuch 1966-1971. Frankfurt/Main. Suhrkamp. 1972. p.292. Transl. mine.) || As with French Impressionists who cherished Japanese prints that were nothing more than popular graphics back in Japan, its was a classic case of overvaluing the exotic object in ways that made even third-rate masters seem blessed. (A. Gopnik, "Two Bands". The New Yorker. December 23&30, 2013. p.126) || Die Brueder Goncourt haben sich nicht gescheut: wer mit ihnen speiste, geriet durch ihr Tagebuch in die Oeffentlichkeit. (M. Frisch, Tagebuch 1966-1971. Frankfurt/Main. Suhrkamp. 1972. p.311) || What is constant throughout The Tale of the Heike is its nostalgic, often despairing evocation of a dying culture. Its most famous passage concerns the transient nature of worldly renown: 
The Jetavana Temple bells
ring the passing of all things.
Twinned sal trees, white in full flower,
declare the great man's certain fall.
The arrogant do not long endure:
They are like a dream one night in spring.
The bold and brave perish in the end:
They are as dust before the wind.
(S. Sacks, "The age is ours!" Ibid.) 


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