George Steiner within the occasions Literary Supplement
Anne Carson’s is without doubt one of the so much artistic, astringent sensibilities in smooth letters. Her paintings encompasses classical and philological erudition, poetry, feedback and translation. Her meditation on Simonides, Paul Celan and the humanities of remembrance is masterly. below licence, because it have been, to Ezra Pound, Carson has “translated” the Greek tragic poets and Catullus. Her Sappho might be the main incisive we've. Intertextuality, university, declared and covert citations are instrumental and sometimes enlightening in her “decreations”. Carson’s strategies of montage enlist opera libretti, screenplays, oratorios and philosophical arguments. Pascal is in counterpoint to Artaud; Hephaistos dances a “Hunger Tango”; Gertrude Stein, a titular effect, and Abelard meet. Beckett is pervasive, as are the terrors of emptiness in Antonioni. The reader, the listener is provoked and challenged to the maximum. An Anne Carson build is a palimpsest drawing us into an opaque, turbulent vortex.
It isn't tough to conjecture what impulses directed her to Antigone. A defiant yet ironized feminism is operative in Carson, as is the subject of singular, unquenchable love among sister and brother. In Nox, an assemblage either extra and no more than a ebook, she erected a baroque monument to her misplaced brother. She has given voice to Electra’s soreness for Orestes “screaming in translation”. Now she turns to Antigone’s non-negotiable bond with the unburied Polyneices.
At durations, lightning does strike. Polyneices has been left “sweet sorrymeat for the little lusts of birds”. Fatality has made up of Antigone “Father’s daughter daughter’s brother sister’s mom mother’s son . . . . Doubled tripled degraded in each direction”. Antigone used to be “the baby in her birdgrief / The chicken in her childreftgrave-cry howling and cursing”. “Zeus you win consistently win / the total oxygen of energy / Belongs to you / Sleep can't grab it / Time doesn't tire it / Your Mt Olympus glows like one white stone / round this legislation: / not anything sizeable enters the lives of mortals with out ruin”. Kreon’s “I have demise to do”. The refrain witnesses Antigone’s soul “blowing apart”. The Messenger’s narrative to Eurydice is completely pitched:
Wish i may say i didn't see the stones shrieking
The woman placing
The boy a bloody lung the
Father on his knees the bolt leaving the wall
sword sinking as much as its personal mouth O my Queen
I didn't see loss of life marry them ultimately
Oh so shyly
But I did see it.
Kreon ends “perfectly combined with pain”. Antigone’s infamous apologia, lengthy held to be a later insertion, is deftly certified: “A husband or a toddler will be changed / yet who can develop me a brand new brother / is that this a unusual argument, Kreon idea so yet I don’t be aware of, the phrases develop wrong”. while smash descends on our precarious lives “It comes tolling over the generations / It comes rolling the black evening salt up from the sea ground / And your whole thrashed coats groan”. A pointed argument, a dialectical duel is “marrow as opposed to marrow”.
Translation should still embrace an act of due to the unique. it may have a good time its personal dependence on its resource. It concentrates scruple and belief, although recreative or anarchic its instincts. it's an informing craft which, occasionally enigmatically, finds inside of or provides to the unique what used to be already there – relatively the place the textual content has been translated, imitated, tailored a hundredfold. Anne Carson has frequently accomplished this exigent excellent. yet no longer this time.
Here, the voice-overs by means of Hegel, Virginia Woolf and Bertolt Brecht are a facile diversion. Kreon’s “new powerboat”, Antigone’s “Bingo”, her hope “to lie upon my brother’s physique thigh to thigh” are vulgarities which subvert this so much grownup, unsparingly formal and radiant of masterpieces. encouraged through Hölderlin’s idiosyncratic yet incomparable rendition, Heidegger declared the well-known choral ode at the nature of guy to be the foundational assertion in Western civilization. Elizabeth Wyckoff’s model, one amongst such a lot of, is lucidly attentive. Why Carson’s “customers” rather than “man”? Why this “hilarious cantering” or the all yet overall omission of the cardinal subject, that of the unhoused wanderer (apolis), outcast from the civic fireplace – a topic which crystallizes the Sophoclean examining of the human condition?
Time and back the delicate complexity, the lyric poise of Sophocles’ tragic idiom are sacrificed to populist witticisms: “Okay Teirisias, aspect video game Match”. accordingly the tough intricacy of the conflicts among private and non-private, legislations and justice, among generations, among women and men, among the archaic and the institutional that have fuelled debate and sweetness over the millennia, are slighted or patronized. An intricacy, furthermore, inseparable from the check in of voices, from the polyphony – prosodic, grammatical, stylistic – within the Greek. it truly is those translation or mimesis needs to confront.
Anne Carson’s colophon is recognized: she “teaches historic Greek for a living”. possible basically envy her scholars. (Or should still one?)
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Extra info for Antigonick
Before port call and the long flight overseas, I spent last nights in a bedroll, as far from war as cattle in pastures of coyotes, calm in the dark by my campfire under the hottest stars there are. [ 20 ] Dawn Outside Saigon We heard swans lift off at dawn, flutter of wings after battle. Nights, we crouched in bunkers or cursed our luck and prayed, cracking knuckles like beads, sirens wailing in Asian skies Here there be rockets. So why not tons of sand above us, sandbags stacked on logs dragged out of jungles, like storm cellars dug for homes ten million miles away, not enough dirt in Asia to stop rockets launched in skies zigzagged by choppers’ shrill staccato fire and red lights flashing, whop-whopping fast, hunting for someone to kill.
My brother’s hand looks massive on Mama’s lap, around her fist. On his knees, he won’t let go, no matter how hard she jerks to keep the keys, how fiercely she hits and kicks. Sometimes the mind can’t answer why hands turned the wheel too late, tires bouncing into somebody’s house. It took a wrecker to free the car again, to haul it off. Five wrecks, each time the last, we decided, but next day she was rational, clear eyed and sorry, and one of us buckled and the alliance broke. Now, how to take keys from Mama’s fist and expect kisses?
I pause, claws springing open to defend whatever of me remains. After Saigon, I’m wary of ambush, nicked machete ready to hack bamboo away. The neighbors’ house cats hiss when I jog by, crouch and slither inside carports, behind cars. They’ve seen that look on cougars lolling by caves— I’ve never been one for mercy, so watch it. I might jack the widow’s tire to fix her flat, smoke peace pipes with bullies I beat up in school. I give myself away in please and thanks, no matter who snarls back. I hang on every word my wife or desperate neighbor says.
Antigonick by Sophocles