7/27/2010

a voice from the basement

Two months ago a ride to Berlin turned into an unexpected encounter with language (e.g. by this antique (clay) mailbox found in a musem), intensified by a visit of a very interesting literary translater's workshop. - At this occasion here the link on a new book on the relevance of literary translations. - One of the workshop's themes was how to translate a short novel by Ludwig Hohl, a Petrarca-awarded hermit thinker hidden in a gastly basement room in Geneva. A hermit needs a yoga, a 'deep work' structuring his life, and so Hohl had his one: His 'Notices', a symphony-like structure of notes and quotes he worked on throughout his life. The theme of this symphony was the creative inner process and it's relation with language and literature. The resulting structure of the 'Notices' looks more like medieval memorabilia or renaissance memory theaters than like a normal book, the few modern analoga could be Valery's Cahiers or Lichtenberg's writings. Goethe and his somewhat similar collections of remarks are frequently quoted by Hohl, so is Spinoza's achievement of intellectual autonomy. Like the magnum opus of some renaissance hermetic, Hohl's and the mentioned mental relative's yoga's can't be consumed passively. Reading through this web (a 'structure', not a 'system') involves solving exercises, given by the author (in contrast to Goethe, who makes finding them an exercise too). The creation of 'true reading' as 'active reading' in the accidential visitor is actually the goal towards this music of thoughts works towards. The issue of 'deep reading' had been discussed by Grothendieck at length, here (from ca. p.35) a survey of his thoughts. Y. André gives here a comparative lecture on reading, writing and creativity, here a historian describing his working method and here on libraries as memorabilia.