By Shane Weller (auth.)
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Additional resources for Beckett, Literature, and the Ethics of Alterity
It is towards this thought of translation as an anethical practice that this chapter will be directed. The threat and the promise of good translation: Walter Benjamin Any reflection upon recent theories of translation is almost obliged to pass by way of Benjamin's foreword to his translations of Baudelaire. The theory of translation that he elaborates in this foreword relates not 36 Beckett, Literature, and the Ethics of Alterity to the translation and translatability of just any text, but specifically to the translation and translatability of poetic or literary texts (Dichtung).
Literature, he argues, may become the privileged form of this experience of alterity at a particular historical moment. Indeed, the specificity of the modern lies, at least in part, in this privileging of literature. That said, Derrida's gesture towards the historicization of literature as the experience of alterity occurs in the interests of the radically ahistorical truth of what he terms 'writing in general': it is quite possible that literary writing in the modern period is more than one example among others, rather a privileged guiding thread for access to the general structure of textuality [...
Literality of the Hi:ilderlinian kind loosens the attachment of meaning to language to such an extent that it threatens unintelligibility, alterity, madness, meaning's disappearance. It is clear, then, that literal translation threatens nihilism, thought by Hi:ilderlin in his ode 'Bread and Wine' (1802), to which Benjamin alludes, as the meantime (indessen) of a mean time (diirftige Zeit). But, crucially, if literality threatens (droht) nihilism, it also points towards or promises (hindeutet) that which lies beyond nihilism, beyond history, beyond both the history of nihilism and the nihilism of history.
Beckett, Literature, and the Ethics of Alterity by Shane Weller (auth.)