• Emily Apter

    The Translation Zone
    2: The Human in the Humanities
    ·         Emily Apter’s aim: to look specifically at the role of the racial etymon (or root) in Spitzer's concept of philology, testing a hypothesis that this etymon regulates the shifting status of the human in the humanities, from philology to philosophy, and from philosophy to the genetics of language.
    ·         Reasons why the "human" acquires new significance:
    1.      Because it speaks to an intellectual surrounding that is dominated by the genome project, and the ethical dilemmas of breakthroughs in cloning, reproductive technology, and biological engineering. 
    2.      Because the human serves the name of that which would precede geographical divisions and political issues.
    3.      Because the human represents a possible alternative to the subject.
    ·         Leo Spitzer represents the force of the Logos in a biological, species-driven vision of the human in his essay titled "Ratio>Race".
    ·         The interpretation of the word ratio in Spitzer's essay "Ratio>Race" goes as such: the intellect passes from the nature of things to the idea of them, from the content to the container of thought. The word species also evolves to 'example, form, idea (or ratio)', so reason meets racism halfway in their common equivalent, species.
    ·         What is interesting in Peter Sloterdijk's argument in his lecture "Rules for a Human Park: Response to Heidegger's "Letter on Humanism"" is the way he associates the tradition of philological humanism in a genetic model of the human.  
    ·         Spitzer predicts philology's future as relevant to genetics when he states his own definition of philology as on that "deals with the all-too-human, with the interrelated and the intertwined aspects of human affairs". His association of philology with the human mind anticipates connections being established between biological evolution and linguistic diversification.
    ·         Two problematics that emerge from Spitzer's legacy:
    1.      Race will continue to disturb philological ideas of ratio.
    2.      The etymon, as the smallest unit of linguistic aliveness, may renew its vital connection to the history of humanism in an era of digital languages.
    3: Global Translatio: The "Invention" of Comparative Literature, Istanbul, 1933
    ·         "Comp-lit-ization" of national literatures: the rush to globalize the literary canon in recent years.
    ·         According to Apter, comparative literature lacks a specific country of origin or a single national identity; therefore it necessitates working toward a non-nationally defined spectrum.
    ·         Franco Moretti suggests "distant reading" that he defines as a condition of knowledge that allows you to focus on units of the text itself, such as devices, themes, or tropes. He also advocates the dispensing of close readings and relying on secondhand material.
    ·         Auerbach à Said à Mufti
    ·         Erich Auerbach becomes a point of reference for Edward Said who translated his essay “Philology and Weltliteratur” and how criticizes his approach for being mystified by the explosion of the new language after WW2.
    ·         Amir Mufti, in his essay “Auerbach in Istanbul: Edward Said, Secular Criticism, and the Question of Minority Culture”, uses the Auerbachian Said as a point of departure for rethinking comparative literature in a postcolonial world by firmly grounding it in the experience of the minority.
    ·         Unlike Spitzer, Auerbach was uninterested in the potential for an enlarged vision of World Literature presented by visions of exile.
    ·         Spitzer and Auerbach: both were engaged with philology, translation, and Western humanism. But there were evident differences between them:
    1.      Spitzer adopted a linguistic cosmopolitanism, while Auerbach focused on poetics of narrative realism.
    2.      Spitzer allowed Turkey to shape his formation of a field of modern humanism, while Auerbach resisted Turkey.
    ·         Victor Klemper and Hugo Friedrich exemplify manifestations of cultural and linguistic imperialism and philology tainted by nationalism.
    ·         Spitzer forges a paradigm of translation studii with links to translation imperii in disrespecting narrowly interpreted East-West dichotomies.
    4: Saidian Humanism
    ·         Apter’s endeavor: why did said hold on to humanist precepts and interpretive practices?
    ·         Said (Spitzer and Auerbach’s correlative): Welt- Humanism
    ·         Said’s Auerbach:
    1.      A figure of secular criticism in exile
    2.      A defender of literary worldliness
    3.      An explicator of Dante
    ·         In Orientalism, humanism and empire are revealed in mutual compact, but there are other humanisms that survive the compromise with imperialism:
    1.      Emancipatory humanism
    2.      Ethics of coexistence
    3.      Figural paradigms of ontogenesis (the development of an individual) in world-historical forms of culture
    4.      The ideal translatio as portal to a universal language
    ·         Said’s Humanism:
    1.      Provides a way of dealing with the “God problem” of Christian and Islamic tradition.
    2.      Emerges as a place at which a number of theoretical moves occur:
    a)      Worldly translatio merges with secular criticism
    b)      Secular criticism accustoms the ideal of a sacred unity of culture from its foundation in theology
    3.      Provides a vision of cultural coexistence.
    ·         He was influenced by Auerbach’s philological approach where states that it pays “extraordinary attention to the minute, local details of other cultures and languages.”
    ·         What Apter soon realizes in reading Said is his lack of attention at how Auerbach’s writings are, in fact, Eurocentric.
    ·         Aamir Mufti analyses the ways in which Saidian secular criticism comes out of a worlded humanism that associates Said with Auerbach in exile.
    ·         Said was committed to the future of humanism as a world system, that it is now the authority of humanism to define critical secularism.
    5: Nothing Is Translatable:
    ·         Alain Badiou’s notions of singularity and poetic universalism.
    ·         Badiou’s willingness to recognize the limits of cultural translation encouraged Apter to rethink translation studies from the standpoint of the presumption that “nothing is translatable”.
    ·         The translation zone is established on the basis of philological relation.
    ·         Badiou doesn’t believe in comparative literature.
    ·         Translation fails to transmit the genius of a source text.
    ·         Great poems manage to achieve universal significance (poetic universalism)
    ·         Badiou compares the works of Mallarme and Labid ben Rabi’a, seeing how both used similar ideas in their works.
    ·         Hollward shares the notion of singularity with Badiou.
    ·         To Hollward, to write is to detach and become isolated.
    6: “Untranslatable” Algeria: The Politics Of Linguicide
    ·         Algerian writers and artists who have contracted language fear at home-the fear of speaking in Arabic, Berber or French, fear of accusations of blasphemy and apostasy.
    ·         The assassinations of intellectual let to the untranslatability of Algeria.
    ·         Western media emphasized the blackout in Algeria.  The Algerian writers asserted a complementary whiteout.
    ·         “The literary Maghreb has yet to be invented.”
    ·         Algeria’s low visibility in the global market of translation resulted in it being a literature-less place.
    ·         The problem of translation market and the untranslatability of certain national literature are linked to cultural industry.
    ·         Cultural industry must shift emphasis from influence of mass and popular culture to the conditions of cultural globalization.
    ·         Globalizing the canon.
    ·         The labels and subcategories given to certain writers, who are universally acclaimed, could help them launch in a global market, but it will attach them to a stereotype.
    ·         The linguistic superpowers call the shots.
    ·         The text has to be translatable if the author is targeting the international market.
    ·         Algerian local politics, censorship and its multilingual culture, are factors in its untranslatability.
    7: Plurilingual Dogma: Translation By Numbers
    ·         The term linguistic essentialism was set by Baron Wilhelm von Humbokdt.
    ·         He believed “ in language as a connection between nature and idea, and as the means b which man is identified as human,”
    ·         Eugene Jolas, a theorist of American immigrant English.
    ·         According to him, a new language is developing in the United States because of the immigrants; he calls it the Atlantic, or Crucible language.
    ·         America ceases to be a static nation-maker and becomes instead the active gerundive “amerigrating”, an expression of linguistic migration.
    Sara Al Ajmi & Yasmine Al Holy