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Old 02-16-2017, 10:48 AM   #9
OLChemist
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An older colleague, who studied back when they made scientists learn German, had to read your post to me. (I distrust computer translation programs.)

I get in trouble every time I have anything to do with Kafka. I think it started some time in Humanities 380, when an entire class period blew up into an argument about whether Gregor had become an actual roach or was just really depressed and filled with self-loathing. Then Dr. C. took off on about how the German word "really" meant unclean and concept of ritual uncleanliness in Judaism. Before we knew it, we were deep in the weeds, comparing the conceptional/cultural baggage word for unclean used in Koine Greek (Septuagint), Hebrew (Tanakh), Aramaic (Roman Judea), and modern English and German.

I hadn't read the dang story. So, I spent the first part of the class thanking my lucky stars we hadn't had a quiz, then wishing we had, because the pain of failure would have had the advantage of brevity. Fifty-five non-refundable minutes of my life spent praying for the bell to ring and vowing never to take another literature class from the prof who taught Biblical languages.

However, your point about Kafka and German, is exactly the point Wardancer was trying to make. Language and art have so much cultural baggage, of which we need to be aware.

"The Wish To Be a Red Indian

If one were only an Indian, instantly alert, and on a racing horse, leaning against the wind, kept on quivering jerkily over the quivering ground, until one shed one’s spurs, for there needed no spurs, threw away the reins, for there needed no reins, and hardly saw that the land before one was smoothly shorn heath when horse’s neck and head would be already gone."

Franz Kafka, 1913. (The quote I dug my grave with... Uhmm. That I posted above.)

I read the English translation of Kafka's "The Wish To Be a Red Indian" and I see a reductionist, romantic fantasy about Native people. But, I can see there is some element there that speaks to some aspect of the German experience in 1913. But being an American and a Native woman, I don't understand it.

Your experiences with our cultures will be the same.
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