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Rick, I never read that! Magnificent, isn't it? Despite his faults, he is awesome. Diana


From:  Rickard A Parker <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:  "T. S. Eliot Discussion forum." <[log in to unmask]>
To:  [log in to unmask]
Subject:  Re: Eliot, India and Untranslated Language
Date:  Wed, 20 Sep 2006 11:38:29 -0400
Diana Manister wrote:
>
> I found this pertinent to our discussion of why Eliot did not
> translate languages in his poetry, but presented them in the original
> languages.


The second half of Eliot's Nobel Prize Banquet Speech:
(in full at http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/literature/laureates/1948/eliot-speech.html )

    Poetry is usually considered the most local of all the
arts. Painting, sculpture, architecture, music, can be enjoyed by all
who see or hear. But language, especially the language of poetry, is a
different matter. Poetry, it might seem, separates peoples instead of
uniting them.

    But on the other hand we must remember, that while language
constitutes a barrier, poetry itself gives us a reason for trying to
overcome the barrier. To enjoy poetry belonging to another language,
is to enjoy an understanding of the people to whom that language
belongs, an understanding we can get in no other way. We may think
also of the history of poetry in Europe, and of the great influence
that the poetry of one language can exert on another; we must remember
the immense debt of every considerable poet to poets of other
languages than his own; we may reflect that the poetry of every
country and every language would decline and perish, were it not
nourished by poetry in foreign tongues. When a poet speaks to his own
people, the voices of all the poets of other languages who have
influenced him are speaking also. And at the same time he himself is
speaking to younger poets of other languages, and these poets will
convey something of his vision of life and something of the spirit of
his people, to their own. Partly through his influence on other poets,
partly through translation, which must be also a kind of recreation of
his poems by other poets, partly through readers of his language who
are not themselves poets, the poet can contribute toward understanding
between peoples.

    In the work of every poet there will certainly be much that can
only appeal to those who inhabit the same region, or speak the same
language, as the poet. But nevertheless there is a meaning to the
phrase «the poetry of Europe», and even to the word «poetry» the world
over. I think that in poetry people of different countries and
different languages - though it be apparently only through a small
minority in any one country - acquire an understanding of each other
which, however partial, is still essential. And I take the award of
the Nobel Prize in Literature, when it is given to a poet, to be
primarily an assertion of the supra-national value of poetry. To make
that affirmation, it is necessary from time to time to designate a
poet: and I stand before you, not on my own merits, but as a symbol,
for a time, of the significance of poetry.