translation


This is the privilege coveted by every society, whatever its beliefs, its political system or its level of civilization; a privilege to which it attaches its leisure, its pleasure, its peace of mind and its freedom; the possibility of unhitching, which consists … in grasping, during the brief intervals in which our species can bring itself to interrupt its hive-like activity, the essence of what it was and continues to be, below the threshold of thought and over and above society: in the contemplation of a mineral more beautiful than all our creations; in the scent that can be smelt at the heart of a lily and is more imbued with more learning than all our books; or in a brief glance, heavy with patience, serenity and mutual forgiveness, that, through some involuntary understanding, one can sometimes exchange with a cat.

From Claude Lévi-Strauss. Tristes Tropique [1955]. John Weightman and Doreen Weightman, trans. New York: 1974, pp. 414-415.

How can we stop fashioning the discipline of film studies into a mirror of postcolonial world geopolitics? Can the neocolonial logic of film studies be corrected by going back to that perennial epistemological question, “Can we ever know the Other as the truly Other?” The problem here is not that this question is too complicated to be sufficiently answered by any response; that is, the problem is not the impossibility of the answer but the formulation of this particular question itself. By construing the Other as the sole bearer of difference, ths seemingly sincere question does nothing but conceal the fundamentally problematic nature of identity of the self.

The so-called imperialist misrepresentation or appropriation of the Other is an oxymoron. The Other cannot be misrepresented, since it is always already a misrepresentation. Imperialism starts to show its effect not when it domesticates the Other but the moment it posits the difference of the Other against the identity of the self. This fundamental imperialism of the self/Other dichotomy can never be corrected by the hermeneutics of the Other or cross-cultural exchange; on the contrary, the latter reinforces the imperialist logic under the guise of liberal humanism, or what Spivak calls ‘neocolonial anticolonialism.’”

Mitsuhiro Yoshimoto, “The Difficulty of Being Radical: The Discipline of Film Studies and the Postcolonial World Order” in Masao Miyoshi and H.D. Harootunian (eds.) Japan in the World (Durham, N.C.: 1993), p. 353.

…. Organology is a genuine auxiliary science of chemistry….

Excerpt of entry 90 from Novalis’ Notes for a Romantic Encyclopaedia. David W. Wood, trans. (Albany: 2007.)

[There is] … a need to see things broadly and to consider them above all in their total effect. It is by no means out of place here to remind my readers that all those painters whose vision is synthesizing and abbreviative have been accused of barbarousness — M. Corot, for example, whose initial concern is always to trace the principal lines of a landscape — its bony structure, its physiognomy, so to speak. Likewise Monsieur G. brings an instinctive emphasis to his marking of the salient or luminous points of an object (which may be salient or luminous from the dramatic point of view) or of its principle characteristics, sometimes even with a degree of exaggeration which aides the human memory; and thus, under the spur of so forceful a prompting, the spectator’s imagination receives a clear-cut image of the impression produced by the external world upon the mind of Monsieur G. The spectator becomes the translator so to speak, of a translation which is always clear and thrilling.

Charles Baudelaire, “The Painter of Modern Life” (1863). In Charles Baudelaire, The Painter of Modern Life and Other Essays. Jonathan Mayne, trans. (London: Phaidon, 2006), p. 15.