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BOSTON REVIEW – Costică Brădățan despre Herta Müller

Profesorul Costică Brădățan. Fotografie & Copyright: Arizona State University

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Cristina and her Double: Selected Essays
Herta Müller, translated from the German by Geoffrey Mulligan
Portobello Books (cloth)

Language is like air. You realize how important it is only when it is messed up. Then it can kill you. Those working for totalitarian regimes know this better than anyone else: messing with language can be an efficient means of political control.

Such regimes don’t always need to lock people up; sometimes it is enough to invade and occupy their minds through language. In Nineteen Eighty-Four George Orwell spells this out brilliantly, but you can’t fully comprehend what this linguistic occupation means unless you’ve had the misfortune to be its victim. Then you come to realize how, once the regime has penetrated your language, it can do pretty much whatever it pleases with you. You are not yourself anymore; you are under political hijack. “You could open and shut your mouth for hours, talk without saying anything.”

It may have been this misfortune that left Herta Müller, whom I just quoted, so attentive to language, to its power and political dimension, but also to its vulnerability. Born and raised in Romania under Communism, the 2009 Nobelist in literature has had a long interest in totalitarianism’s linguistic aggression. Perhaps that is why she grants speech a special ontological status. In The Hunger Angel (2009), language is something alive, a creature that mingles with the other characters in the story. The narrator-hero notices that Russian is “a language that’s caught a cold.” He perceives language as a bully of sorts: “There are words that do whatever they want with me.” In The Appointment (1997) language alone has the power to induce a change in the real world: “Some things aren’t bad until you start talking about them.”

Müller’s interest in the relationship between language and politics is not, however, pursued to its fullest extent in her novels, but in her essays, as her new volume Cristina and her Double testifies. The pieces in this collection are profoundly autobiographical; in that respect they are essays in the true, Montaignesque sense of the word. “If my mind could gain a firm footing,” Montaigne writes, “I would not make essays, I would make decisions, but it is always in apprenticeship and on trial.” If I could settle accounts with the past, Müller might say, I would be writing about other things, but the past keeps haunting me to such an extent that I’ve become an enigma to myself. To move on I need to go back.

• • •

After graduating from college, Müller was for years harassed by the Romanian secret police, the infamous Securitate. When she refused to become an informant, they orchestrated a campaign against her. She was subject to arbitrary interrogations, death threats, surveillance, and false rumors meant to discredit her, including the rumor that she was an informant. At its core this campaign was not about bruises, broken limbs, and shattered windows, but about things unseen. The regime’s violence was primarily mental, not physical. The battlefield here is not your body, but your mind and the language you speak; against such a regime you defend yourself not in the street, but in your head. It is Müller’s great achievement in this book, as elsewhere, to depict the individual’s confrontation with the totalitarian system as a fight over words, discourses (official or dissident), life stories (big or small), historical accounts, grand narratives, history textbooks, and archives. For totalitarianism, above all, is a linguistic project.

To help erase religion from public discourse, the country’s linguistic engineers renamed Christmas-tree angels ‘year-end winged creatures.’

Even the most brutal episodes of Müller’s confrontation with the secret police are language-centered. She was investigated, to start with, because she was suspected of having made “pronouncements against the state.” In line with such an accusation, the interrogator would not use torture instruments against her, but words. “During the turbulent phases of the interrogations he called me a piece of shit, a piece of filth, a parasite, a bitch. When he was calmer, a whore or an enemy.” At the next stage there come the death threats. Yet that’s still bearable. “They are part of the only way of life one has, because one can have no other.” Facing death threats can make you stronger: “You defy fear, deep in your soul,” Müller says. Indeed, a death threat is a form of recognition: you are treated as an enemy, acknowledged as something the regime needs to take into account. Worse are the slanders that the regime fabricates and circulates to annihilate you socially. As Müller finds out, “slander robs you of your soul. You are completely surrounded.” This tactic does not offer you any trace of recognition—you are treated as negligible, as trash.

Such slander campaigns could make the secret police in totalitarian regimes look like literary workshops. For what they do is create characters; they make people up and release them into the world. When, years after the collapse of communism, Müller gained access to her secret police file, she discovered that in the archives she was not one, but two distinct people. “One is called Cristina, an enemy of the state, who must be taken on.” Except for the name, this character looked familiar to Müller, a version of herself as reconstructed by the regime’s spies and scribes. The second character was pure fiction. To compromise the real one, the secret police created a fake Müller, Cristina’s “double.” This literary product had all “the ingredients that would be most damaging to me—hardened Communist, ruthless agent, party member.” Working for the Party—or for its “Shield and Sword,” as the secret police was endearingly called—was often seen as a dirty job, something that could rob you of social respectability. Apparently the inner Party knew this better than anyone else.

• • •

Although they claim to be purely rational forms of political organization—“scientific socialism” was the term in the Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc—totalitarian systems often make use of irrational assumptions. One of them is the magical belief in the power of language to change things. In primitive cultures, for instance, people believed that you could bring something into being by the sheer act of naming it, just as you could change something by renaming it. The world was an enchanted place for these people; you could act on it and master it though spells, chants and incantations.

Communist totalitarianism operated with similar beliefs. When Müller’s first book was published in Romania, the censors removed, among other things, the word “suitcase” whenever it occurred. “Suitcase” hardly seems a politically charged word. Yet at the time, the early 1980s, the German minority was leaving Romania en masse and the regime wanted to keep quiet about it. In the censors’ minds, if you said “suitcase,” you meant “packing,” which meant “leaving,” which meant “leaving for good,” which meant that the country was not a socialist paradise that nobody would leave of his own accord. The irrational assumption was that if suitcases were not mentioned, people would not think of emigration. As in magical thinking, that which is not named does not exist.

This was the case not only in Romania, but in socialist states in general. East Germany provides Müller amusing examples—“word monsters,” she calls them, which “become unintentionally funny.” For instance, as part of a plan to erase religion from public discourse, the country’s linguistic engineers renamed Christmas-tree angels “year-end winged creatures.” Similarly, the language and imagery of death were thought to undermine the sense of endless happiness that citizens no doubt experienced in the GDR. Something had to be done. Instead of “coffin,” officials proposed “earth furniture.” In the same manner, the office in charge of arranging celebrations and funerals for the Party’s bigwigs was renamed “The Department of Joy and Sorrow,” which sounds remarkably, if not deliberately, poetic.

If the system’s power comes from its ability to affect people’s minds though language, resistance should come from language as well.

Behind all these efforts was the belief that language can change the real world. If religious terms are removed from language, people will stop having religious feelings; if the vocabulary of death is properly engineered, people will stop being afraid of dying. We may smile today, but in the long run such polices did produce a change, if not the intended one. The change was not in people’s attitudes toward death or the afterworld, but in their ability to make sense of what was going on. Since language plays such an important part in the construction of the self, when the state subjects you to constant acts of linguistic aggression, whether you realize it or not, your sense of who you are and of your place in the world are seriously affected. Your language is not just something you use, but an essential part of what you are. For this reason any political disruption of the way language is normally used can in the long run cripple you mentally, socially, and existentially. When you are unable to think clearly you cannot act coherently. Such an outcome is precisely what a totalitarian system wants: a population perpetually caught in a state of civic paralysis.

What can a writer do under such circumstances? She can create a space, within language, that the regime cannot invade or occupy. If the system’s power comes from its ability to affect people’s minds though language, any resistance should come from language as well. The regime may use magical thinking for its own purposes, but the writer can oppose it through an enchantment of her own. Müller’s style is often described as magical realism. In the village depicted in her first book, Nadirs (1982),people call things using a language of their own. We make the acquaintance of “the mayor, called judge in the village,” of the “alcoholics, called boozers in the village” and of “non-alcoholics and non-smokers who are feebleminded, which is called respectable in the village,” of “the barber shop, called the barber’s parlor in the village” and of “the cooperative store,” which is “called the emporium in the village.” The village has a life that can be grasped only if we use the proper language:

In the winter the plants suffer from frost, called freeze-to-death in the village, in the spring from sogginess, called rot-to-death in the village, in the summer from heat, called scorch-to-death in the village.

The language of this far-away place has remained unaffected by any political intrusion; the official parlance cannot enter the village. This autonomy, which must have been called linguistic freedom in the village, offers Müller a glimpse of hope: in her work, a writer could imitate these villagers and preserve a certain degree of independence from the system’s pressures. It is self-defense though writing. It may not be much, but sometimes it is enough to make her life, and others’ lives, livable.

• • •

Müller was born and grew up in a German-speaking village. She learned Romanian when she was fourteen, after she moved to the closest major city, Timişoara. It was not easy at first. Romanian, she says, “treated me like pocket money. No sooner had something in the shop caught my eye than my money was not enough to pay for it.” Whatever she meant to say “had to be paid for with the corresponding words and there were many I didn’t know, and the few I did know didn’t occur to me in time.” As she became fluent in Romanian, however, Müller developed for it that enchanted, unconditional love of which non-natives are sometimes capable when they discover a new language. Ever since, her passion for Romanian has shaped her formation as a writer. Even though she does not use it for literary purposes, the language “always accompanies me as I write, because it has grown into my own seeing.”

Romanian is a Romance language, but it has continuously borrowed from others: old Slavonic, Turkish, Hungarian, and German, to name a few. The result is a multilayered language, where the speaker can employ different regions of the vocabulary to make her statement appear at the same time serious and ironic, friendly and threatening, mocking and genuine. The philosopher E. M. Cioran could get drunk on the savage beauty of this language; it had, he said, a “barbarian genius.” What the teenaged Müller experienced in Timişoara, then, was a gradual seduction, with the new language circling her mind closer and closer. Romanian was “sensual, impudent and surprisingly beautiful.”

If the teenaged Müller was enchanted by the odd, barbarian beauty of Romanian, the adult writer is struck by its implicit politics. She discovers its “daredevil imagery” and notices how its “words came across as inconspicuous, but concealed an unerring political stance.” It is a stance of survival amidst recurring historical disasters—invasions, foreign occupations, dictatorships. Life is too short and these disasters too big to face in a more heroic fashion, but poking some fun at them, crafting a good political joke, could amount to a political attitude. The Communist regime snuck into the country amidst the Russian tanks at the end of World War II. Romanians didn’t rebel, but they called cockroaches “Russians” and developed an industry of political jokes in which the Soviet Union figured prominently. Somehow that helped them survive, if precariously. Through their language, Romanians tiptoe their way through history.

In the Romania of the 1980s, it was rumored that political jokes were disseminated by the secret police as a way to ease social tension

Of particular interest to Müller is the endless capacity of this language to generate curses. She delights in studying the wide assortment of Romanian curses, the mechanisms whereby they are produced, and the political attitudes they embody. As in most languages, sexual imagery plays an important part. In Romanian, she notices, “When people are angry they say get fucked in the ear, the nose, the head.” When someone “interfered in matters that didn’t concern them the Rumanians said: ‘Sorrow fucks you.’” What fascinates Müller above all is the inoffensive, good-natured side of the whole process. Romanian cursing could be a form of conviviality:

At a company meeting a woman said in a rage; ‘What the devil, my prick, do you want?’ After the woman had calmed down she apologized for the word ‘devil.’ The people in the room laughed. Then the woman asked, offended: ‘Why, my cunt, are you laughing?’

Müller is enthralled; she cannot get enough of this linguistic feast. The way Romanian curses can accommodate opposing elements, mix vulgarity and beauty, and navigate between offense and good-naturedness, earns her unconditional admiration: “I have always envied this language for its vitality,” she says. Indeed, Romanian cursing turned out to be addictive. When she left the country, Müller managed to smuggle it out among the few belongings she was allowed to take with her: “Even now when I curse I speak Rumanian, because German has not curses so picturesque. The words are all there in German, but they aren’t up to the job.” Similarly, long after he moved to France and adopted the country’s language, Cioran would still resort to Romanian for curses. French was of no help to him in that regard, even though by then he had become a very good writer in that language.

But there is a downside to all that cursing, and it’s not just the offense it may cause among the more sensitive. The problem is in the complacency it breeds. “That’s why people in this dictatorship don’t rebel,” Müller says. People curse the government and the Party, the Securitate and the City Hall, the poor roads and the traffic police, they curse the Russians and the Americans. And then they feel they’ve done enough politics for the day, and it is time to move on. When cursing becomes such an elaborate art, the political stance that it presupposes exhausts itself in performance, and not much is left to feed real protest.

In the Romania of the 1980s, during the most oppressive phase of Ceausescu’s regime, it was rumored that political jokes, which mushroomed in those years, were in fact created and disseminated by the secret police as a way to ease social tension. A well-told joke, like a well-told curse, could give people such a sense of satisfaction that they would feel as though they had done their share of resistance. Such was the rumor, but perhaps even this rumor was fabricated in the secret police’s labs. For, again, totalitarianism is a linguistic project.

• • •

When Müller retrieved her secret police file, she discovered not only that the agents had fashioned a “double” for her, but also what a fascinating subject she and her literary work had been to them. For sure, those people had a passion for literature: her file was almost a thousand pages long. At the same time, before Müller got the Nobel Prize, she presented almost no interest to the Romanian literary establishment. In a massive “critical history of Romanian literature” published in 2008, her name is not even mentioned. What kind of place is that, where the secret police enthuse about a future Nobelist, while literary scholars ignore her? That is Central-Eastern Europe, where the absurd was born and thrives, and where such figures as Cioran, Franz Kafka, Eugene Ionesco, Milan Kundera, and Jaroslav Hašek found inexhaustible inspiration. The place where almost nothing seems to happen in real life, even as a lot happens in literature and in people’s minds.

It is the same place where people have survived for centuries through crafty cursing and the art of the political joke. They’ve made jokes, bought time, and practiced patience. Jokes like this one, which I remember from a distant, yet recurring, past. A French, a German, and a Russian are talking about what they drive. “Well,” says the French, “when we travel domestically, we use our Renault cars—abroad we take the Peugeot.” “We do something similar,” says the German. “Within the country we drive the Volkswagen, but when we go abroad we use the Mercedes.” The Russian keeps quiet, making the other two more and more curious. “When we are in Russia,” he says eventually, “we drive our Lada cars. Abroad we always go with our tanks.”


Copyright: Costică Brădățan

  • Ontelus DG

    Anul trecut, pauza de peste o jumătate de an pe acest blog a început cu un text semnat de același autor. Anul acesta este special, puțin probabil să urmeze o pauză. Textul reprodus în original mustește de idei, dar și de prejudecăți. Dar cine nu vădește locuri comune, mentale, lingvistice, comportamentale?… De la sociologul francez Gabriel Tarde, cel din ,,Les lois de l’imitation”, preluat de către E. Lovinescu pentru celebra sa teorie a sincronismului din ,,Istoria civilizației române moderne”, știm că imitația este o constantă a omului, ilustrare a și mai generalei și universalei legi a repetiției. Două idei mi-au reținut atenția. Mai întâi, importanța obiectivă a limbii în totalitarism. Dacă în democrație logocrația, dominația limbii a fost înlocuită de videocrație, dictatura imaginii, în establishment-ul politic și academic, mai ales, limba are în continuare o putere magică, anumite cuvinte stigmatizând pe vecie pe aceia care au nesăbuința să le utilizeze. Apoi, impactul blestemelor rostite în limba română, forme pasive de rezistență, împreună cu bancurile, în predecembrism. Într-adevăr, în folclorul literar, în cantemiriana ,,Istorie ieroglifică” sau la Arghezi, pentru a da câteva exemple, blestemul constituie o supapă existențială și o probă indicibilă de metaforizare a discursului, dar și a percepției lumii.

  • mulţumesc frumos pentru text (nu cred că puteam avea acces la el din România)

  • @Ontelus DG
    Anul acesta este atat de special incat chiar simt nevoia sa fac o p[auza — o vacanta ceva mai lunga decat anul trecut. Va anunt la timpul potrivit.

  • Foarte buna aceasta recenzie a dlui Bradatan, axata pe triada limbaj, gandire, atitudine, -- o triada exterm de sensibila, in care, prin perturbarea deliberata, programatica a primei componente, si anume limba, sunt complet deraiate, bulversate si compromise si celelate doua. Gandirea, miscandu-se prin cuvinte dezinvestite de sens, devine ea insasi plata, artificioasa, recurenta, captiva in propria gaunosenie. Cu tensiunile si pulsiunile atitudinale defulate prin inventivitatea si truculenta injuraturilor, cu gandirea parazitata de cuvinte surogat si de grija de-a evita lexeme interzise ori cu sens deturnat, motivatiile nu se coaguleaza usor, proiectele se leaga greu sau deloc.

    Foarte amar, dat fiind ca e atat de romanesc, e si faptul ca, in totalitarism, opera literara -- oricat de subversiva ea, era citita cu maxim interes, inteleasa in tot potentialul si-n toate straturile si nuantele ei, ba si savurata, dar nu de cititorii rutinati si cu atat mai putin de profesionisti ai lecturarii, ci de cinicii serviciilor, expertii in formatarea si resetarea mintilor oamenilor. Si mai aiurea e ca situatia persista si dupa ’89. E o situatie de un umor negru desavarsit, e un “profund noian de negru”, sa intelegi ca, de fapt, cel putin pana la primirea premiului Nobel, in Romania, cititorul tau ideal nu a fost colegul si prietenul tau, literatul, si cu atat mai putin marele critic, de la care ai fi asteptat recunoastere dar care nici nu macar te-a mentionat in marea lui istorie critica a literaturii romane, ci unul dintre ofiterii serviciilor care te-au amenintat cu moartea, te-au cenzurat si te-au mai si discreditat prin campanii de calomniere diabolic orchestrate.

  • InimaRea

    NoName/DP: Apropo de “cititorul ideal”, l-as numi -- mai curind -- “cititorul murdar”. Bradatan aminteste de inchipuita forta magica a cuvintului, in stravechea omenire. Interesanta, speculatia sa! Dar, in cazul “cititorului ideal” (la dv, “murdar”, la mine) era inchipuita o forta diversionista a cuvintului: se cauta interpretarea cea mai primejdioasa. In acest sens, exemplul suitcase este naucitor, mai ales daca tradus “gemantan” -- care-i, clar, pentru lungi calatorii ori defintiva plecare (Ramii sanatoasa, cucoana/Ca-mi iau geamantanul si plec -- Balada chiriasului grabit).
    Nu trebuie sa ne-nchipuim ca securistii dadeau aceste interpretari fastidioase ci colaboratorii lor din edituri, specializati in detectarea “sopirlelor”. Cenzura era schizo fiindca “citea cu acul” -- ca la corectura. Evident, cu cit mai bogata limba autorului, cu-atit mai amenintator textul.
    Aici, e de inteles fascinatia pe care romana a exercitat-o asupra nemtoaicei adolescente, doar e o mindrie pentru noi vorbirea cu doua intelesuri (“cu dus-si-ntors”).
    Cumva, securistul zelos era ca Bula -- obsedatul de organul genital feminin, care spunea: Mie, puteti sa-mi aratati si-o locomotiva, ca tot la p… ma gindesc.

  • @) Dorin Tudoran

    Primisem textul de la Costica acum doua zile si ma gindeam sa-l postez pe pagina mea de FB, insa ai facut foarte bine ca l-ai preluat, o sa postez linkul catre tine. Mereu l-am citit cu placere pe CB. In alta oridne, am fost ieri la Ipotesti, pina acum il vazusem numai iarna, de doua ori in prezenta ta. Cred ca ar trebui sa-l descoperi si tu in anotimpul cald. Sigur, daca nu vei fi fost deja!

  • Ontelus DG

    Ca dizidență față de omniprezentul Alzheimer, mi-am amintit de exaltarea cu care Cioran se raporta la blestemul eminescian din ,,Rugăciunea unui dac”, o groaznică autoprofeție realizată:

    ,,Gonit de toată lumea prin anii mei să trec,
    Pân’ ce-oi simți că ochiu-mi de lacrime e sec,
    Că-n orice om din lume un dușman mi se naște,
    C-ajung pe mine însumi a nu mă mai cunoaște,
    Că chinul și durerea simțirea-mi a-mpietrit-o,
    Că pot să-mi blestem mama, pe care am iubit-o --
    Când ura cea mai crudă mi s-a părea amor…
    Poate-oi uita durerea-mi și voi putea sa mor.

    Străin și făr’ de lege de voi muri -- atunce
    Nevrednicu-mi cadavru în uliță l-arunce,
    Ș-aceluia, Părinte, să-i dai coroană scumpă,
    Ce-o să amuțe cânii, ca inima-mi s-o rumpă,
    Iar celui ce cu pietre mă va izbi în față,
    Îndură-te, stăpâne, și dă-i pe veci viață!

    Astfel numai, Părinte, eu pot să-ți mulțumesc
    Că tu mi-ai dat în lume norocul să trăiesc.
    Să cer a tale daruri, genunchi și frunte nu plec,
    Spre ură și blestemuri aș vrea să te înduplec,
    Să simt că de suflarea-ți suflarea mea se curmă
    Și-n stingerea eternă dispar fără de urmă!”

  • a notarius

    E cam asa. Sau a fost cam asa.
    Diferenta specifica este ca nu a fost si nu este ceva fundamental nou. Orice structura culturala in ofensiva isi elaboreaza limbajul sau.
    O pasareasca pentru initiati cu rolul de recunoastere si mentinere a structurii si nu de comunicare. Initiatii se recunosc in si prin ea, disidentii sunt eliminati prin recursul la un limbaj pe care ei il refuza. Latina teologiei medievale, discursul alternativ mistico-rational al renasterii, cel rational-geometric al umanismului si cel stiintific-dogmatic al secolului XIX erau astfel de limbaje de lemn iar political correctness-ul zilelor noastre este la fel.
    Desigur, limbajele regimurilor totalitare din secolul XX aveau ceva paradoxal de inuman poate tocmai datorita tensiunii care se nastea intre telurile declarate si realitatea care era sustinuta exclusiv prin acest limbaj propagandistic.
    Cu teoria injuraturii nu sunt de acord.
    Am trait si eu intr-un mediu asemanator cu cel in care si-a petrecut copilaria si tineretea Herta Muller. Svabii erau majoritatea, urmau ungurii si romanii in proportii egale. Vorbeam cu totii romaneste dar intelegeam si limbile celelalte. Mai mult sau mai putin. Injuram cu totii in romaneste, nemtii recunoscand ca nu se poate injura atat de “saftos” in germana, insa aveau un respect mare si pentru posibilitatile limbii maghiare.
    Iar ungurii, precum se stie, se si mai revolta.
    Nu e vorba de frustrare, ci de o vulgarizare a gandirii magice.
    Cu bancurile, da. Numai ca aceste “bancuri politice” erau foarte asemanatoare in toate tarile blocului comunist. Rusul, nu cel din acest banc, de la sfarsitul textului putea fi inlocuit cu orice natie comunista: roman, polonez, ceh, ungur sau neamt democrat.
    Va mai amintiti cate bancuri incepeau asa: un roman, un american si un francez…

  • Gheorghe Campeanu

    Ca si la alte lecturi de texte ale dl-ui Bradatan (“Born again in a second language” comes to mind) nu contenesc sa ma delectez cu modul practic miraculos al utilizarii instrumentului sau de disectie. Filozoful aplecat asupra manuirii limbii literare in context istoric ma fascineaza. Nu intru in abisul invidiei ce ma incearca, eu avind doar dexteritati infinit mai prozaice de psiho si sociolingvistica. Sint inca in faza de digestie a articolului din Boston Review, pentru care doresc sa-i multumesc amfitrionului, caci imi scapase..

  • @InimaRea
    Totusi, ce ironie a sortii ca scrierile-i sa fie “descifrate” de angajatii SECU + comp. pana in ultima lor nuanta (potential subversiva), ca ei si numai ei sa fie in felul lor, pervers, fascinati -- intr-o murdara, cum bine ati zis, hermeneutica, -- de forta magica a cuvintelor sale, in timpul ce dl Manolescu nu dadea si n-a dat nici mai tarzior nici macar doua parale pe literatura nobelizatei noastre (nu numai a Germaniei, careia i-ar reveni mai mult meritul marketingului literar). In sensul asta, chiar putem vorbi de umor negru. Si, din perspectiva umorului negru, putem vorbi si de “cititorul ideal”.

  • neamtu tiganu

    am cunoscut un tipinteresant, era de origine chinez, venit in Ro pe la 12 ani, in Ardeal, la unguri, vorbea chineza, cu ma-sa si romana si maghiara, a emigrat in Germania, vorbea si germana, a muncit multi ani in Aglia, vorbea enleza si in tren prinsese si franceza si ceva spaniola. Era o placere sa te conversezi cu el, stia o multime de limbi si nici una.
    Germana, germana e o limba al draq de grea si de ciudata, un nativ speaker roman, care scrie in engleza comentind niste traduceri din germana scrise de o nemtoiaca, putin, totusi romanca, e wow. Nepoata-mea “traduce” MARITIS prin “Apfelfest”, ia marul drept mar.
    Cum e tradusa Herta…
    Herta la Graz

  • Ontelus DG

    It’s not my war, not my business, not my problem but… În primul rând, în chestiunea identității, contează ceea ce afirmi explicit și implicit că ești, modul în care te percep cei care te cunosc, precum și contextul istoric-cultural. În al doilea rând, literatura este o artă a cuvântului, deci identitatea lingvistică este definitorie, astfel încât aparține literaturii române orice text scris în limba română, aceasta fiind una dintre premizele de la care a pornit istoricul literar pomenit în articolul pe care-l comentăm. Restul este cozerie, politică etc. Sigur, există oameni cu identități multiple, care scriu texte semnificative în mai multe limbi.

  • InimaRea

    No Name/DP: Vedeti dv, asta-i capcana in care puteam si noi cadea -- “sa descifram” un text literar, de parc-am fi spargatori de coduri, nu heremenuti.
    Tine de abordarea textului: pentru “Decriptare”, e un mesaj neaparat dusmanos la adresa regimului (neaparat fiindca e al unei cetatence de trei ori suspecta -- ca intelectuala*, ca origine etnica si ca nonconformism “cetatenesc”). Nu exista dubiu, in orice text al GM e otrava.
    Aici, am observatia ca e caracteristic algoritmului mental comunist ca cercetarile sa confirme ipoteza, care-i deja concluzia la care trebuie ajuns prin cercetarile ulterioare. Ar fi, astfel, axiome demonstrate de ochii lumii. Una din ele -- a dusmanului socialismului si comunismului, care nu-i atit o persoana, cit un microb detectabil la oricine, caz in care e de determinat gradul de contaminare.
    Ceva de acest gen -- al dogmei, zic -- a facut Keppler, incercind sa demonstreze ca Pamintul e centrul sistemului solar. Cum tot felul de orbite planetare i se-mpotriveau, si-a creat un instrument de corectare “a aberatiilor” -- logaratimul.
    Logaritmul Securitatii era persecutia politica, cu mijloace politiste.
    Ca sa ne facem o idee mai apropiata de paranoia securista: nu doar tot ce era in afara Sistemulu (asa-si numeau ei, duios, “Pravalia”) era din principiu suspect, dar si-nlauntrul Sistemului “se strecurasera elemente dubioase”, de care trebuia scapat “ca de o masea stricata”.
    *In Securitate, nu existau intelectuali, doar cadre cu pregatire superioara, care au raspuns cererii Partidului, de a-si perfectiona necontenit cunostintele profesionale, si de a-si largi orizontul cultural. Decit sa-i fi spus unui securist “intelectual”, mai bine-l injurai de mama.
    Asta venea din anii dictaturii proletariatului, unde era veridica scena: In tramvai, inghesuiala, Unu’ o cam inghesuie pe una trupesa. Aia -- cu gura pe el: Ce te-nghesui, ba, asa? La care ala, obraznic: Ce,femeie, n-ai loc? Oi fi si tu vreo intelectuala?
    La care femeia reactioneaza vehement: Intelectual e ‘ma-ta si tac’tu!
    Asta-i mama originii sanatoase a devotatilor “construirii socialismului si comunismului”.

  • @InimaRea
    Aveti dreptate 120 la suta si chiar mai mult de-atat, daca n-as fi iesit deja dintre limite!! 🙂 Totusi, nu socotiti ca ironia sortii a facut -- in cazul special al dnei GM -- ca odioasa institutie sa-i acorde/aloce mijloace (murdare, rau intentionate, nu incape vorba!) de “cercetare” a operei, chiar pe masura importantei acesteia, in timp ce distinsii dumneaei confrati, care se luptau (de la ’48) sa reziste prin cultura, nu prea o luau in serios?? Intr-un fel, daca pot sa spun asa, forta literaturii dnei Herta Muller a fost validata de Secu si cenzori, fiind insa ignorata de Marea critica. E curat murdar, stiu. E inca un oximoron, pe langa “securistul -- cititor ideal”.

  • InimaRea

    Eu nu gust scriitura HM. De aceea, pot fi atit de rautacios incit sa presupun ca mai mult a contat, in ochii juriului Nobel, dosarul ei de la Secu, decit opera ei literara (nemaivorbind de faima ei literara, pina-n moentul premierii). Asa ca puteti avea perfecta dreptate, e un soi de ironie in toata istoria asta. Desi, tot ce instrumentau securistii era spre a-i forta expluzarea, fiindca-i tinea ocupati.

  • @InimaRea

    Din pacate, nestiind germana, am citit -- cat am citit -- din HM in traducerile aiuritoare in limba romana, care de multe ori ma contrariau de lasam cartea din mana, intrebandu-ma: stai asa, cum vine asta? Ca sa nu mai vorbesc de lipsa oricarui flow, in toate traducerile romanesti. Am citit insa si un text foarte bun, scris direct in romana. Cu totul si cu totul altceva!
    Din binevenitul link oferit de @neamtu tiganu mai sus, am priceput perfect cum se face de se schimba calimera.

  • DUDU

    Din pacate, nici macar marile case editoriale romanesti nu-si verfica la singe traducerile si traducatorii, graba stricand mereu treaba. Am o groaza de exemple dinspre Humanitas si Polirom. Unul din motive e si faptul ca traducatorii unei edituri, cind sint suprasolicitati, subcontracteaza altora si nu le verifica treaba facuta de mantuiala. De pilda: Huysmans/IN RASPAR/A REBOURS, rescos la Polirom, pe linga perlele traductionale numeroase, lipsa fluentei si altele de acest gen, are, pe coperta a patra, o prezentare tradusa prost din engleza internetica, din ea reesind ca protagonistul Des Esseintes, dandyul romanului, e un tampit si un dobitoc. De unde nevoia, pentru neconoscatorii francezei, de a recurge la versiunea, veche, din ”Biblioteca pentru toti”. La fel se intimpla cu un Lyotard/FENOMENOLOGIE, tradus la Humanitas, unde ni se spune ca Husserl conduce la Heidegger, iar acesta… la fascism.
    Foarte serioase cu traducerile sint editurile mai mici precum Compania Adinei Keneres sau Art ( unde publica transpuneri de opera grele si maestrul Serban FoartaI). Buni traducatori din germana nu prea mai avem. S-au dus aproape toti in Insula Preafericitilor.

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