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The Trajectory of Cricket as a Metaphor for National History:

Cricket has been transformed after the advent of the IPL. Strangely enough, the history of cricket in India runs a close parallel with the Nation itself.
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The Reluctant Fundamentalist
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Ship of Theseus
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Home > Contents > Article: Jorge Luis Borges
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Literary and Literal Translation: The Library of Babel by Jorge Luis Borges
 
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Borgesí story The Library of Babel has been translated many times from the original Spanish into English, but never literally. When the literary and literal versions offered here are compared certain strange features emerge, and it looks as if its previous translators have had to take extraordinary liberties simply because any literal translation would be much too strange. It would be superfluous to detail the differences between the literary and the literal in the two versions here. But the important point to note is that while a literal translation would attempt to replace every single word with its closest English equivalent, the liberties taken by literary version would be constrained by idiom; and the translator has asked for it to be noted that "the literary version has been written for readers of William Empson."

It is not clear who Borgesí intended readers were; and his earlier stories, among which The Library of Babel is one of the strangest, make very many intellectual demands upon the reader. It was their recognition that The Library of Babel made would make severe demands upon both English and American readers, perhaps, that prompted translators in the past to all opt for free and idiomatic translations; and sometimes with Borgesí explicit approval one must note. If this was so even in Borges' own time it would be even more so now, when doubtful new translations of his fictions, by Andrew Hurley, have been uniformly praised in the American press.

The most important aspects of our story are that the inhabitants the Library of Babel are all librarians, and that what we read there is a first person account written by one of them. The Library of Babel seems a metaphor for the universe. But saying so subjects the word 'metaphor' to some unusual strain.   "The universe (which others call The Library) is composed of an indefinite number, perhaps infinite, of hexagonal galleries, with great shafts for ventilation in the middle, enclosed by very low railings." That is how the narrator begins, and he already seems a creature who is not of our world at all. So it may be that we can best follow him, and the apparent intent of the original, by taking his words literally. The literary version set beside the literal rendering here will, one hopes, prompt the reader to do so in some telling way.

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For Translations with preface: The Library of Babel: pdf

 

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Courtesy: fcom.us.es
Courtesy: www.mbird.com

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