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Showing posts from March 19, 2017

the great Georg Lichtenberg

There are many English translations of selected passages from Georg Lichtenberg’s Sudelbuecher, but unfortunately, there is no complete translation, nothing like the complete and unabridged translation of Leopardi’s Zibaldone that Farrar Straus published in spite of the fact that it was, economically, a bit of a suicide mission. Leopardi, it has to be said, sometimes allowed himself very boring divagations into philology. Lichtenberg, page for page, is less boring. The NYRB put R.J. Hollingdale on the case in 2010. Good choice. Hollingdale cut his teeth translating Nietzsche, a writer in Lichtenberg’s spirit. Both had a knack for throwing tasty lightning phrases about, which you could sit down with and think about all day. Still, Hollingdale only translated some 1,085 aphorisms, as he chose to call them – not jottings, not throw aways – and the book amounted to 230 pages. Consider that the German suhrkamp edition of Lichtenberg’s Sudelbuecher consists of 948 very closely printed pag