Posted by: jt | April 29, 2008

parables and paradoxes

Last summer I was browsing through used books on a sidewalk in Greenwich Village when I found a copy of side-by-side German/English translations of Kafka’s parables. I proceeded to do a little dance on the sidewalk. There was jumping up and down.

I read the parables in college, borrowing the book from my German professor. It’s out of print and used copies seem to be hoarded like 20 pound bags of rice (limit 4!). Probably by German professors. The parables are short and easily read by German language students, but complex enough in concepts to hold an adult’s interest, making them ideal for college classes.

If I were more tech savvy and had some extra cash, I’d get the equipment to record this (in my sexy phone voice). There’s something about Kafka being read aloud, in German. I know, Americans think German accents are scary – I say you just need to go a little further south. Austrian accents are kinda hot. They’re softer. Not so harsh or so phlegmy. But maybe I’m biased.

German first, English second. That’s linguistically appropriate, no?

Leoparden in Tempel
Leoparden brechen in den Tempel ein und saufen die Opferkrüge leer; das wiederholt sich immer wieder; schließlich kann man es vorausberechnen, und es wird ein Teil der Zeremonie.

Leopards in the Temple
Leopards break into the temple and drink to the dregs what is in the sacrificial pitchers; this is repeated over and over again; finally it can be calculated in advance, and it becomes a part of the ceremony.


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