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Cotton Nero A.x: The Works of the "Pearl" Poet

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ISBN: 9780615983912 Year: Pages: 54 DOI: 10.21983/P3.0066.1.00 Language: English
Publisher: punctum books
Subject: Languages and Literatures
Added to DOAB on : 2019-06-12 09:24:41
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Manuscript Cotton Nero A.x takes its designation from the unique cataloging system of seventeenth-century British antiquarian Sir Robert Cotton’s library: busts of historical figures atop shelves provided the organizing principle, such that one found this particular codex under the bust of Roman Emperor Nero, on the top shelf, ten volumes over. (Another famous manuscript, containing Beowulf, is called Cotton Vitellius A.xv.) Cotton Nero A.x contains the only versions of the poems we now know as Pearl, Cleanness, Patience, and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, generally agreed to have been composed sometime in the latter half of the fourteenth century—the time of Piers Plowman and Geoffrey Chaucer, though radically different from either. No one knows who the poet was. No one knows if more than one poet wrote some or all of the poems. Together, they present a stunning array of themes, allegories, and images that critics continue to puzzle over: Patience offers a psychologically complex rendering of the Old Testament story of Jonah and the whale; Cleanness explores its homiletic theme in carnal and spiritual terms with complexity, irony, and even humor; Pearl provides a dream allegory that pushes at the distinction between its earthly and heavenly meanings, challenging the very notion of metaphysical transcendence its form seems to point towards. Finally, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, the most secular of the poems, is a sophisticated take on Arthurian legend that unfolds like a psychosexual mystery novel, with no easy solution in sight. All the poems are rendered in a difficult Middle English dialect and intricate alliterative form, which sometimes involves a complex rhyme scheme as well. As poet-medievalists, we bow before the poetic achievement of the works in Cotton Nero A.x in all their multi-faceted richness. This is not a translation, nor an interpretation. It is what might be called a trace. A response. A homework assignment from beyond the grave, for four students who should have known better. A dream we hope to dream.

Men in Aïda

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ISBN: 9789491914041 Year: Pages: 204 DOI: 10.21983/P3.0224.0.00 Language: Greek
Publisher: punctum books
Subject: Languages and Literatures
Added to DOAB on : 2019-03-29 11:21:08
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David J. Melnick published the first book of Men in Aida, a homophonic, but also homoeroticized translation of Homer’s epic Iliad, in December 1983 in an edition of 450 at Tuumba Press. After appearing in many guises and fragments, Book Two was published online in 2002 as part of the Eclipse Archive. Book Three appears for the first time in the present publication, which brings together all three books of one of the most important American avant-garde poems.

Memoir American

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ISBN: 9780615808628 Year: Pages: 70 DOI: 10.21983/P3.0028.1.00 Language: English
Publisher: punctum books
Subject: Languages and Literatures
Added to DOAB on : 2019-06-12 09:24:44
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In the dead letter office, you will find a Memoir American. The texts which comprise it — forms of essay, talk, dialogue — at one time saw themselves as individualists who went somewhere (to small press magazines) on their own. Now they are here, collected with the chance of going nowhere together. As it should be: since they represent the fate of language and translation in the memory of aliens living inside America — like a family going nowhere together, but at home. The philosopher Jacques Derrida and his family are part of this family in the dead letter office, and curiously they are named going nowhere together at home. Along the way, so are the poets Charles Reznikoff and William Carlos Williams and Emmanuel Hocquard and Juliette Valery and Charles Olson, as well as Horace’s Odes in translation. You will find in this Memoir what it means for an alien to search for his family in a book outside the time of its writing. You will find him discovering that translation is a personal story and that poetry might not have a home without it. You will find him wondering: whose voices are these which we hear around us as we write, as Babel turns to rumor through the fact of translation, wherein a book is being made and remade from American to French and back again? You will find him through translation like a Being in the Poetry of the Extraterritorial, an un-owned territory which is neither French nor American but is negotiated by the rumor of a poetry which emerges from both, a future condition (État) which seeks the name it could be but is not.

Hippolytus

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ISBN: 9789081709156 Year: Pages: 168 DOI: 10.21983/P3.0218.1.00 Language: English
Publisher: punctum books
Subject: Languages and Literatures
Added to DOAB on : 2019-03-29 11:21:02
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Euripides wrote two plays called Hippolytus. In this, the second, he dramatized the tragic failure of perfection. This translation comes in two forms; the first presents a simulacrum of the text as it might have appeared in unprocessed form to a reader sometime shortly after Euripides’ death. The second processes the drama into the reduced but much more distinct form of modern print translations.

Repetitions

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ISBN: 9780615851334 Year: Pages: 124 DOI: 10.21983/P3.0039.1.00 Language: English
Publisher: punctum books
Subject: Sports Science
Added to DOAB on : 2019-06-12 09:24:43
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In 1994, after following a character in Peter Handke’s novel Repetition into what is now Slovenia and after traveling in landscapes of Handke’s youth, Žarko Radaković and Scott Abbott published a two-headed text in Belgrade, Ponavljane, now published in English by punctum as Repetitions. The possibility of narration in two voices, complicated by the third voice that is Peter Handke’s own narrator, is the main focus of deliberation while traveling and reading and writing. Repetitions begins with Abbott’s text, a fairly straightforward travel narrative. It ends with Radaković’s account of the same events, much less straightforward, more repetitious, more adventuresome. Two aspects make the double-book unique. First, it represents experiences shared by two authors whose native languages are Serbian and English respectively (German is their only common language). The authors’ perspectives contrast with and supplement one another: Radaković grew up in Tito’s Yugoslavia and Abbott comes from the Mormon American West; Radaković is the translator of most of Peter Handke’s works into Serbo-Croatian and Abbott translated Handke’s provocative A Journey to the Rivers: Justice for Serbia for Viking Press and his play Voyage by Dugout: The Play of the Film of the War for PAJ (Performing Arts Journal); Radaković was a journalist for Deutsche Welle in Cologne and Abbott is a professor of German literature at Utah Valley University; Radaković is the author of several novels and Abbott has published mostly literary-critical work; and so on. Two sets of eyes. Two pens. Two visions of the world.

Beowulf: A Translation

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ISBN: 9780615612652 Year: Pages: 312 DOI: 10.21983/P3.0009.1.00 Language: English
Publisher: punctum books
Subject: Languages and Literatures
Added to DOAB on : 2019-06-12 09:24:46
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Many modern Beowulf translations, while excellent in their own ways, suffer from what Kathleen Biddick might call “melancholy” for an oral and aural way of poetic making. By and large, they tend to preserve certain familiar features of Anglo-Saxon verse as it has been constructed by editors, philologists, and translators: the emphasis on caesura and alliteration, with diction and syntax smoothed out for readability. The problem with, and the paradox of this desired outcome, especially as it concerns Anglo-Saxon poetry, is that we are left with a document that translates an entire organizing principle based on oral transmission (and perhaps composition) into a visual, textual realm of writing and reading. The sense of loss or nostalgia for the old form seems a necessary and ever-present shadow over modern Beowulfs. What happens, however, when a contemporary poet, quite simply, doesn’t bother with any such nostalgia? When the entire organizational apparatus of the poem—instead of being uneasily approximated in modern verse form—is itself translated into a modern organizing principle, i.e., the visual text? This is the approach that poet Thomas Meyer takes; as he writes, [I]nstead of the text’s orality, perhaps perversely I went for the visual. Deciding to use page layout (recto/ verso) as a unit. Every translation I’d read felt impenetrable to me with its block after block of nearly uniform lines. Among other quirky decisions made in order to open up the text, the project wound up being a kind of typological specimen book for long American poems extant circa 1965. Having variously the “look” of Pound’s Cantos, Williams’ Paterson, or Olson or Zukofsky, occasionally late Eliot, even David Jones

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