Eliot weinberger essays

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One piece, about Langston Hughes, opens with a series of assertions that still seem dreadfully pertinent. Weinberger has published several more books with New Directions.

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In , he joined its editorial board. None of his books are best-sellers, or even close. But James Laughlin, who died in , believed that it takes time for literature to find its audience. A little over a decade ago, a Spanish photographer asked Weinberger to write something to accompany an exhibit of television images of the Iraq War. Do not approach or try to cross, or you will be shot. The photographer rejected the piece, so Weinberger e-mailed it to friends. Then the London Review of Books published it, in early It went viral, spawning public readings, art installations, and theatrical productions.

The night I went, they put me on the stage to talk to the audience and the audience was amazing in that it was all ages.

The Ghosts of Birds is divided into two sections. If a man is transformed into a tiger, we at least know that someone once thought he did so.


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It can feel frustrating to be presented with long agglomerations of facts without finding an intuitive way to connect them to what we already know. An Elemental Thing was more successful in this respect, with a careful pattern of linked pieces that created a unique harmony. A vast chamber carved out of the rock, a little grove of box-elder and cottonwoods at the entrance; a deep, clear pool of water, bordered with verdure at one end.

A thousand feet above, a narrow, winding skylight […] The rock is full of sounds as though it were an academy of music designed by an unknown architect and built by storms. In an essay on the I Ching , Weinberger compares two new translations, noting that each author offers a huge variety of interpretations for the same hexagram.

An Elemental Thing, essays by Eliot Weinberger (New Directions) – On the Seawall

His essays are, in a sense, another kind of translation — call it a translation of the energy he finds in other texts. The book makes clear the number of difficult, converging factors the translator must take into consideration. For instance, Classical Chinese has fewer grammatical markers than English, and as a result any line can be translated in a remarkably large number of ways.

Weinberger begins with the Victorian stiffness of the earliest English translation:. So lone seem the hills; there is no one in sight there. But whence is the echo of voices I hear? The rays of the sunset pierce slanting the forest, And in their reflection green mosses appear. Empty mountains: no one to be seen. Yet — hear — human sounds and echoes. Returning sunlight enters the dark woods Again shining on the green moss, above. This embrace of the spirit before the letter links Weinberger to his most important predecessor, Ezra Pound. By reframing the material of his essays as his own, he avoids certain arguments about fidelity of presentation.

The free play of the imagination can always wriggle out from academic rigor. Fitting for the rogue archivist, Weinberger has a cantankerous attitude toward the state of contemporary literature.

Epitext / small talk with Eliot Weinberger

In an earlier book, Karmic Traces , Weinberger wrote:. I decided to direct my curiosity elsewhere, and tried to remember someone who had been completely forgotten. One result of this excess of all things is that if you are a fanatic of any given subject […] it is more than likely that your fellow enthusiast has not read the same books or seen the same films.

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Eliot Weinberger : The Ghosts of Birds

Support quality journalism - Subscribe to The Hindu Digital. Books Authors. Polymath Authors. Unwrapping the renegade erudition of Eliot Weinberger, essayist and literary editor of the Murty Classical Library On an overcast evening last November, I met the American essayist and translator Eliot Weinberger at a gentrified West Village coffee shop. You have reached your limit for free articles this month. Register to The Hindu for free and get unlimited access for 30 days.

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