Marcia Karp wrote:
> The value of prose
> translations of poetry is an acknowledgment that lines are one of
> poetry's fundamental techniques and that there is no use (and actual
> distortion) to keep them if the translation isn't itself an artistic
> response to the original. So, too, a word-by-word (thus line-by-line)
> trot makes no attempt at explanation, serving really as a glossary.
I think if you step outside the classroom one might find a better
rationale for paraphrase.
And they want to know what we talked about?
"_de litteris et de armis, praestantibusque ingeniis_,
Both of ancient times and our own; books, arms,
And men of unusual genius,
Both of ancient times and our own, in short the usual subjects
Of conversation between intelligent men."
Poems and other texts are not just for reading (a solitary pastime in
the age of the printed book) but for conversation -- and the core of
that conversation is apt to consist of multiple paraphrases of the texts
under discussion. In discussing Pound's text here, for example, one
route we might follow is to discuss whether or not it is a meta-comment
on the Cantos as a whole -- i.e., is it an instance of my second
hypothetical text in my preceding post, and we should attempt to
paraphrase it in a way that lets us see the whole poem from a particular
perspective that we would not otherwise have brought to it. Is Pound's
epic, among other things, itself a conversation? This is, incidentally,
the main perspective Maynard Mack brings to the _Essay on Man_, that the
action that poem imitates is that of conversation among intelligentn
> Let us know how you find the exercise and what your professor has to
> say about paraphrase.