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Friedrich Nietzsche said in Beyond Good and Evil (von Gut und Bose)

“……….there is art in every good sentence-art that must be figured out if the sentence is to be understood! A misunderstanding about its tempo, for example- and the sentence itself is misunderstood. That one must not be in doubt about the rhythmically decisive syllables, that one experiences the break with any excessively severe symmetry as deliberate and attractive, that one lends a subtle and patient ear to every staccato and every rubato that one figures out the meaning in the sequence of vowels and diphthongs and how delicately and richly they can be coloured and change colours as they follow each other. Who has enough good will to acknowledge such duties and demands and to listen to that much art and purpose in language? In the end one simply does not have “the ear for that”; and thus the strongest contrasts of style go unheard, and the subtlest artistry is wasted as on the deaf.”
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Hello TT

It's an interesting passage; and I think it reflects his own method of composition (though perhaps not that of the translator).

But I'm not sure he's wholly right, where he says "one simply does not have the ear for that": we must attend to the sequence of vowels and consonants at some level, since we often become aware of a rhyme or assonance in a piece of prose, and have to go back to hunt it out; the rhythm too, as sometimes in reading we realize we've mis-stressed or mis-toned a sentence, and go back to reread it with the correct emphasis.

MrP
Hello Mr. P.

Happy New Year.

Soon after posting that message I left America to spend the Christmas Holiday in England and as I did not leave until the twelfth night I have only just picked up your message.

I am intrigued why you would say, "though perhaps not that of the translator" although the translator does admit in a footnote that the passage was a difficult translation.

Nietzsche contrasts his style to Goethe, "whose words drop hesitantly and coldly, as from the ceiling of a damp cave -- he counts on their dull sound and resonance" then he goes on modestly to describe his own style as "another who handles his language like a flexible rapier, feeling from his arm down to his toes the dangerous delight of the quivering, over-sharp blade that desires to bite, hiss, cut."

Nietzsche had every right to blow his own trumpet he had the most amazing brain, an exceptional genius among geniuses who recognized it himself.
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Hello TT, happy New Year!

I meant to imply, rather unkindly and unseasonably, that the translator wasn't up to the job. In the original, for instance, we find:


"...Dass man über die rhythmisch entscheidenden Silben nicht im Zweifel sein darf, dass man die Brechung der allzustrengen Symmetrie als gewollt und als Reiz fühlt, dass man jedem staccato, jedem rubato ein feines geduldiges Ohr hinhält, dass man den Sinn in der Folge der Vocale und Diphthongen räth..." (Jenseits von Gut und Böse, §246)
where (to my mind) the first underlined passage exemplifies the "staccato", and the second, the "rubato".

The translator however says scrappily:


"...that one experiences the break with any excessively severe symmetry as deliberate and attractive, that one lends a subtle and patient ear to every staccato and every rubato that one figures out the meaning in the sequence of vowels and diphthongs..."
which exemplifies a frantic rush to get to the checkout before the store closes.

(On the other hand, I suppose there's a certain poetic justice in it, given the way N. prides himself on his "zitternden überscharfen Klinge".)

MrP
Wow! That is quite a mouthful Mr P.

"Walter Kaufmann was born in Germany in 1921 then went to the United States in 1939 where he studied at Williams College and Harvard University. (that means German was his native language for 18 years) In 1947 he joined the faculty of Princeton University, where he became a professor of philosophy. As well as verse translations of Goethe's Faust and Twenty German Poets, he translated all of the books by Nietzsche. He died in 1980."

I have noticed though, that in comparing the work of one translator to that of another there are often quite a number of differences, even in that one particular passage I selected. The meaning really can get Lost in Translation.

Nietzsche was difficult to understand so this particular interpretor applied his own definition for the benefit of lay readers. Neitzsche himself talks about "making a determined effort to be misunderstood".
Yes, it was a little unfair of me; it's unreasonable to expect a translator to convey N's style.

(I must admit, I didn't recognize it as Kaufmann's version. The "figured out" seems uncharacteristic.)

MrP
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With regard to “figured out” which Kaufmann uses twice in that passage, - well, “figured out” and “figures out.” Another translator uses the word “divined” (gottlich ) instead of “ figured out” and yet another uses the word “grasped” (griff). I don’t know the original German word Nietzsche used, or why there should be so many variations in the translation.

Makes one think that The Bible must have lost an awful lot of its original meaning.

Back to:-

"But I'm not sure he's wholly right, where he says "one simply does not have the ear for that": we must attend to the sequence of vowels and consonants at some level, since we often become aware of a rhyme or assonance in a piece of prose, and have to go back to hunt it out; the rhythm too, as sometimes in reading we realize we've mis-stressed or mis-toned a sentence, and go back to reread it with the correct emphasis."

As you know Nietzsche was a great friend of Wagner until Wagner became very religious then Nietzsche became disenchanted, and one gets the feeling disgusted too, ( "backward to the point of holiness"). That passage is comparing his writing to music. He appreciated Wagner’s music so much, the music spoke to him, it inspired him, his writing flowed to the tempo of Wagner’s music; his was an art as great as Wagner’s if only one would be patient and listen to the subtle artistry in words and how delicately and richly the staccato and rubato can be coloured and change colours but “in the end one simply does not have the ear for that; and thus the strongest contrasts of style go unheard, and the subtlest artistry is wasted as on the deaf.”

Actually, I think it is said with more contempt than sadness or regret, but then I am only a mere woman and Nietzsche would certainly have had no truck with anything I had to say right or wrong!

P.S. as a non sequitur, where is the umlaut key please?
Tallulah TamActually, I think it is said with more contempt than sadness or regret...
I must admit, I find that one of the less attractive aspects of Nietzsche's writings. He quite often says words to the effect of "they/you are too stupid to appreciate me"; which always reminds me of an adolescent male stomping upstairs to his bedroom in a huff.

(I fear his thoughts about women also resembled the adolescent male's; in more ways than one.)

MrP

PS: The easiest route to umlauts is via Start | Run. If you then type "charmap.exe" into the little box, and press Return, it should bring up the Character Map.
Nietzsche as adolescent, now there’s a picture I have never imagined!

-----”Will people believe me? But I demand that they should believe me: I have always thought little and badly of myself only on very rare occasions, only when I had to, always without any desire for this subject,-----”

“Nowadays it happens occasionally that a mild, moderate, reticent person suddenly goes into a rage, smashes dishes, upends the table, screams raves, insults everybody-and eventually walks off, ashamed, furious with himself-where? What for? To starve by himself? To suffocate on his recollection?

If a person has the desires of a high and choosy soul and only rarely finds his table set and his food ready, his danger will be great at all times; but today it is extraordinary. Thrown into a noisy and plebian age with which he does not care to eat out of the same dishes, he can easily perish of hunger and thirst or, if eventually he ‘falls to’ after all--of sudden nausea.

Probably all of us have sat at tables where we did not belong; and precisely the most spiritual among us, being hardest to nourish, knows that dangerous dyspepsia which comes of a sudden insight and disappointment about our food and our neighbors at the table---the after-dinner nausea.”

From, Beyond Good and Evil - What is Noble.

Mr P. I don’t know how familiar you are with Nietzsche’s work or whether you are interested in developing our discussion further in this forum,( you are the only one who has taken up the baton so far). I would be delighted to explore his work with you in more depth, but if you already have preconceived ideas about his work and are not prepared to start afresh as it were, with an open mind, to discuss what we think Nietzsche was saying and how it applies to our world today rather than our own personal opinions about the subject matter. In other words be objective rather than subjective. It will not be an academic exercise and may just end up with a clash of opinions. It may well still do that in our individual interpretations, but at least we would give his work a chance.

P.S. Thanks for the tip re. the umlauten.
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