Untranslatable Tuesdays – Politics

politics-final

To mark the publication of Dictionary of Untranslatables: A Philosophical Lexicon, we are delighted to share a series of playful graphics by our design team which illustrate some of the most interesting terms from the Dictionary. For week seven in the “Untranslatable Tuesdays” series we present politics, policy (excerpted from the full entry by Philippe Raynaud):

In French, the noun politique refers to two orders of reality that English designates as two different words, “policy,” and “politics.” In one sense, which is that of policy, we speak in French of la politique to designate “an individual’s, a group’s, or a government’s conception, program or action, or the action itself” (Aron, Democracy and Totalitarianism): it is in this sense that we speak of politiques of health or education or of Richelieu’s or Bismarck’s politiques in foreign affairs. In another sense, which translates as the English word “politics,” la politiques designates everything that concerns public debate, competition for access to power, and thus the “domain in which various politiques [in the sense of “policy”] compete or oppose each other” (ibid.). This slight difference between French and English does not generally post insurmountable problems, because the context usually suffices to indicate which meaning of politique should be understood, but in certain cases it is nonetheless difficult to render in French all the nuances conveyed by the English term, or, on the contrary, to avoid contamination between the two notions that English distinguishes so clearly. On the basis of an examination of the uses of the two words in political literature in English, we will hypothesize that their respective semantic fields are not unrelated to the way in which scholarly theories (and academic institutions) conceive what French call la politique.

 

 

Untranslatable Tuesdays – Media

media

To mark the publication of Dictionary of Untranslatables: A Philosophical Lexicon, we are delighted to share a series of playful graphics by our design team which illustrate some of the most interesting terms from the Dictionary. For week six in the “Untranslatable Tuesdays” series we present Media/Medium (of communication):

By the beginning of the twentieth century, the recognition of a family resemblance between the various “implements of intercommunication” meant that they could be compared and contrasted in profitable new ways. . . . The term “mass media” found its niche in scholarly articles by such influential American midcentury thinkers as Hadley Cantril, Harold Lasswell, and Paul Lazarsfeld. But European philosophers resisted this tendency. . . . For Sartre, Adorno, and their contemporaries, “mass media” was less an untranslatable than an untouchable sullied by intellectual and institutional associations with American cultural imperialism. . . . This resistance was soon exhausted. . . . Cognates like “multimedia,” “remediation,” and “mediality” proliferate globally. This reflects less the dominance of English than the collective urgency of an intellectual project. (Ben Kafka)

 

Emily Apter, Jacques Lezra, and Michael Wood discuss the Dictionary of Untranslatables [VIDEO]

Earlier this week, close to one hundred humanities lovers gathered for a discussion around the Dictionary of Untranslatables: A Philosophical Lexicon with editors Emily Apter, Jacques Lezra, and Michael Wood, due out this month from Princeton University Press.

Please enjoy this video of the entire event, the first in this season’s Great New Books in the Humanities series co-sponsored by the Humanities Initiative and by the New York Institute for the Humanities at New York University:

 

New and Forthcoming Titles in Literature

catalog coverWe invite you to browse and download our new 2011 Literature catalog at:
http://press.princeton.edu/catalogs/lit11.pdf

Check out the Writers on Writers series featuring C.K. Williams’ On Whitman and Phillip Lopate’s Notes on Sontag. See how they were influenced, fascinated or troubled by these important writers.

And for a hilarious account of the first day of a creative writing course, you need to check out Andrei Codrescu’s The Poetry Lesson. Neither a novel nor a memoir but mimicking aspects of each, The Poetry Lesson is pure Andrei Codrescu: irreverent, unconventional, brilliant, and always funny.  You will also enjoy Andrei Codrescu’s forthcoming book, Whatever Gets You through the Night: A Story of Sheherezade and the Arabian Entertainments.  It is an irreverent and deeply funny retelling of the Arabian Nights and a wildly inspired exploration of the timeless art of storytelling.

Two essay collections are also a must read.  The Joy of Secularism: 11 Essays for How We Live Now edited by George Levine and The Princeton Reader: Contemporary Essays by Writers and Journalists at Princeton University edited by John McPhee & Carol Rigolot will make great additions to your reading list and library.

There are so many new titles to check out in the catalog.  From The Quotable Thoreau to the 4th volume of The Plum in the Golden Vase, or Chin P’ing Mei: The Climax, you’ll definitely find something you want to read.

If you’re attending #MLA11 in Los Angeles, please stop by booth no. 111 to say hello and browse the books.  Hope to see you there.