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Books you HAVE to read in their original language?
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You are currently reading a thread in /lit/ - Literature

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Books you HAVE to read in their original language?
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journey to the west and three kindoms
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>>7614156
Who cares
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>>7614156

Just poetry. Nothing else.
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>>7614159
Best tool to learn?
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Anything by mallarme, especially the divagations.
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>>7614170
my DICK :)
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all books, but especially religious texts which you are wrong about no matter how you read them
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>>7614170
Sorry, native speaker
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Nonsensical question, if you haven't read a book in its original language then you haven't read that book at all but there is no book that you HAVE to read.
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dream of red chamber
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Dante
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>>7614156
my diary desu
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>>7614211
its actually quite interesting to read translation to the old testament and how they struggle with the ambiguity
the old testament tend to be forced to some understanding which as result lose a lot of the ambiguity that embedded in it.
a prime example would be even from the start that the word "wind" and "spirit" are shared in Hebrew(רוח, "ruach").
Also the root ברא("barah", base form of verb), loosely translated to "create" in English, ambiguous as what its difference between creation and something else(you have the root יצר, "yatszar" which more commonly used). general understanding tend to be creation out of nothing but I don't think its as clear in itself on purpose.
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>>7614156
Everything by Joyce
Everything by Gass
Everything by Pound
Basically, authors that make use of melopoeia.
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>>7614156

Untranslated books.

:^)
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Tao te Ching
Herakleitos
Anaximander
The Gospel of Thomas

you at least need an understanding of the underlying translation issues to navigate those - so maybe anything with short, cryptic statements.
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>>7614156
Better meme potential if it looks photoshopped desu
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The Quran.
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>>7614442
>you at least need an understanding of the underlying translation issues to navigate those
That's also true of the Daodejing in Chinese, desu.
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>>7614163
Why poetry? If poetry is untranslatable than so is prose.
>>7614396
you can translate melopoeia. you can even translate the mythopoeia even though most snobs will regard your translation too liberal.
Also, who's Gass?
>>7614406
That.
>>7614984
I have a rhymed Soviet era translation of the Quran and it is much than all the other translations I've seen and, I'd presume, much better than the original as well. They nicely emphasized the prophet as the social reformer he was, with all the cryptic parables and, well, since the other dude was talking about the fascist pissra pound, mythopoeia getting much more in-your-face. You get the book together with an interpretation and this is why if you're planning to read the quran I'd suggest to read first the tajik/uzbek/kazakh/kirghiz translations and then the original text.
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The Translations of Greek works, and English books
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>>7615196
>Why poetry? If poetry is untranslatable than so is prose.
Don't be pedantic. It's clear that he used "poetry" as an umbrella term.
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All of them
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>>7615209
if he used poetry as an umbrella term for rhetoric and literature he's a complete fool.
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>>7614377
isn't ruach aramaic? it's used in every jewish vernacular and the vernaculars commonly avoid herbrew verbiage since hebrew was considered roo holy for everyday usage by talmudists.
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>>7614377
but, indeed, the bible should be never translated by the jewish tradition.
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bunch of ex-yu region books, don't think many of them are translated, the ones i know for sure that are, are

ivo andric - the bridge on drina
danilo kis - encyclopedia of the dead
mesa selimovic - dervish and the death

haven't read neither of them in english so dunno bout the translation but the originals are really some incredible books.
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>>7614156
The savage detectives
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>>7615230
Fellow slav here; I'm very sure that a lot of Yugo literature was translated for us. We have Milorad Pavić and half the plays in local theatres are plays written either by the Russians, or by the Austrians, or the Yugoslavs (if not by Shakespeare.).
>the bridge on drine
you sure mean the *Köprü on the Drina.
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>>7615217
I not sure about the etymology or about the talmudic discussion but I remember that within the bible its understood as such.
Also in the 12th to 13th century I believe there was active disscusion onn the translation and in the end a more literal aramic translation preserved of unkuls
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>>7614163
say that to Grande Sertão: Veredas
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>>7615215
Poetry doesn't translate because rhyme and meter are impossible to preserve.

Are you really so dumb u didn't understand that?
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>>7615634
fucking this
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>>7615646
there are some "legit" poetry translations, but they are basically different poems with the same theme/techniques
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>>7614156
Anything written by an albanian, french, english-speaking or italian writer.
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I read Hemmingway's for who the bell tolls in the orriginal
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>>7614156
Anything written by Céline, Baudelaire, La Fontaine or Rimbaud.
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Hungarian stuff.
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>>7614156
>books you don't have to read in their original language
>
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>>7615769
>Albanian
Any Albanian literature worth recommending?
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>>7614170
Human Japanese.
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Lolita
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As a rule, all prose poetry. So Melville, Joyce, etc
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>>7617849
kek
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>>7614156
All of them.
>not being omni-lingual
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>>7614156
Celine I guess
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The Stranger.
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>>7618359
Yeah, isn't there a wine tasting scene in the French version? Why the fuck was that cut for the English version
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>>7615634
It's not like a non-native speaker could possibly learn Portuguese to such a point that he is able to understand GS:V. Besides, I remember reading some excerpts of an English translation and it was quite decent, so I don't think anyone would bother reading GS:V in Portuguese if they aren't already a native speaker psh senpaiília.
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I'll make a serious reply.

First of all, poetry cannot really be read in translation. You can't say, for instance, that you have read Homer in English. You can say that you have read Chapman's Homer or Pope's Homer, but not Homer. Homer wrote in Greek, and his music can only be heard in Greek. In general, this holds true for the vast majority of poets, although authors like Whitman and Fernando Pessoa's Alvaro de Campos are easier to translate, for their writing is much nearer to prose than that of the average poet. Even so, they still should be read in the original. That's why it is most important for the lover of poetry to be able, if not to speak, at least to read in a few languages other than his mother tongue. You don't have to be a polyglot - although most poets are -, but you have to be able to read, even if this means making an effort. I don't know Italian, for instance, but still I have a bilingual edition of Dante which I use to read him in the original, which is easily achieveable with a little bit of effort, since my first language is Portuguese. I also memorize poems in language which I don't know: I have memorized many Occitan verses, for instance.

As for prose, it really varies, although the rule is that, if a novel is worth reading at all, then reading a translation of it will also be a worthwhile experience. In the case of a novel like Finnegans Wake, however, this obviously doesn't apply, for here the language is so important that it is basically as fundamental to the comprehension of the book as in the case of poetry. In the vast majority of cases, and in the whole of the classical tradition of the novel - Don Quijote, Jonathan Swift, Stendhal, Balzac, Tolstoy - the rule applies, and they can most certainly be read in translation. Example: Hemingway was a great fan of Dostoevsky, but he never knew Russian; George Steiner even wrote a whole book about Tolstoy and Dostoevsky, and also knew no Russian.

The question you have to ask is: what will I gain, from the original, by reading this translation?

In the case of poetry, the answer usually is: the basic stuff, and nothing else. So, if you read Chapman, you will understand the basic story of the Iliad, the way Homer narrates the events (he's very impartial), and so on. All the rest, all the essential, aesthetic stuff, comes from Chapman himself.

In the case of prose, the answer usually is: a lot. And this is because prose relies on language much less than poetry, so that even if you read a translation you will still gain a deep understand of the psychology of the characters, of the ideas of the author, of the way he builds his narrative, and all of the other things which we tend to think as essential.
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Infinite jest. The prose is too rich. Wallace himself said he tried to read it in another language and it was shit. He knew the english language better than anyone, and thats the language its meant to be read in.
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>>7618456
Of course it can be read in the translation. Much of the essential will still remain intact, even though some of it will have been lost. It's not poetry.


>He knew the english language better than anyone

Better than Seamus Heaney? Come on...
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I don't get the point of reading in the native language if you are not a native speaker. I mean you will never have the full cultural or linguistic knowledge to get it. Why not read a translation by someone who is a scholar of the works and has an actual appreciation of the culture? Chances are it will be truer to the original intent than what you can glean by half assedly learning the language yourself.
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>>7614156

The single most literal example of what OP is referring to is the Quran. I was initially dismayed that no one had pointed this out, but I was spelling the word "not-right". I didn't even have to go far down the thread to check.

Christianity is just too old to have a singular, unbroken literary tradition, much less others. Which of course makes it more interesting. But if what you have in a mind is a boring, literal Wahabbi tyranny of humanity, with a tradition less than 1500 years old, then the Quran is your book. Its proper reading and internalization are literally what OP's prompt demands. Everything else is a deprecation. Nothing else will do. You absolutely and positively must learn arabic, for the genuine article.

What a terrible world Islam demands. How richly it will deserve its own end, if not by Christendom, then by the inevitability of time.
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>>7618456
>He knew the english language better than anyone
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>>7614156
la comedia
works by leopardi
poe and lovecraft
don pabols by quevedo
(i don't know about joyce cuz i just read the dubliners)
Thread replies: 57
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