Book reviewOn translation Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 2002. xiv + 127 pp. ISBN 1-800-842-6796 $19.95.. (Studies in continental thought). .
Reviewed by Dinda L. Gorlée
Table of contents
“Translation goes astray” aptly characterizes—in the first sentence of this book—how the author, philosopher John Sallis, views the purpose of a literary translation (Preface: pp. xi–xii). This pejorative aphorism about the absence of “sameness of meaning” (p. xi, Sallis’s emphasis) in literary translation is, to a translator, a familiar phenomenon. The rule of translation between text and meaning, as it happens to crystallize itself, is never finished and never perfect. On translation offers philosophically enlightening dialogues about translation as an act and as a product of this act. The title is reminiscent of Brower’s classical volume On translation (1959), as well as Bellow’s article “On translation” (1924), included in his 1931 book of the same title. These sources are unmentioned by Sallis, although he follows the works by Jakobson and probably others, published in Brower 1959.