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Reviews149 persuasively argues that Kant's transcendental method constitutes the foundation of contemporary polemical patterns, and sheds a great deal of light on the sudden shifts obtaining in academic inquiry and public policy debates. At times, Gaskins perhaps overstates the weight of the argument-fromignorance : for instance, it is not clear that paradigm shifts in scientific theory entail shifts in burdens of proof. At times, too, some of his interpretations of particular statements are not entirely convincing: when Wittgenstein writes that "every sentence in our language 'is in order as it is,'" for example, he is not so much sanctioning the exemplariness ofordinary language as underlining its rule-governed nature. More generally, maybe Gaskins exaggerates the negative effects of arguments-from-ignorance in the academic domain. Besides, the remedy he proposes does not inspire complete confidence—Hegel's dialectical logic works in mysterious ways! On die whole, however, Burdens ofProofin Modern Discourse constitutes a fine achievement and will be of interest to any student of reasoning strategies. University of PennsylvaniaGerald Prince Translation Theory and Practice: Reassembling the Tower, by Frederic Will; 210 pp. Lewiston, New York: Edwin Mellen Press, 1993, $69.95. Fred Will has been translating since the early fifties, writing about translation since the early seventies—and he packs the fruit ofboth labors into the brilliant jumble of boxes that comprise this book. Will's title seems to suggest that the transgression that toppled the Tower ofBabel was the separation of translation theory from translation practice: "Translation is itself brainless," he begins by saying, "unless it expresses a cogent view of the world—the translator's world— while translation theory, cut off from the translating act, is as sterile as the theory of lovemaking when it is cut off from the act" (p. 1). And so he gives us selections from his translations from the Greek of Kostes Palamas (section IV), and poems he translated for Micromegas, the journal he founded and edited for several decades (sections II, VI). More interestingly still, he gives us three rambling passages from Micromegas exploring the practical and theoretical problems of translating into English from Manx and various American and Mexican Indian languages (section III). At the same time he runs us through complex philosophical ruminations (sections I, V, VII) that constantiy push at the boundaries of normative thinking about translation without ever slipping out of his own brand of translation morality—"good" translation in the deepest and broadest sense of the word. 150Philosophy and Literature Throughout these personal, poetic, and philosophical meanderings runs Will's restless intelligence and sensitivity along with an enormous willingness to take stylistic and emotional risks, which sometimes flop—as indeed they must for the risks to be worth taking. He launches a massive attack on George Steiner's After Babel—and sounds more like Steiner than any other translation dieorist I've read. Many of his metaphors for the act of translation push Steiner's Heideggerian invasion imagery into the realm of sex—especially, uncomfortably, date rape. He is unashamedly concerned throughout with ethical growth, widi the translator's own personal morality, always in process but also always ringed round with huge social imperatives which translators ignore at their peril. His resdess quest for answers leaves him (and his reader) with mostly unanswered questions. One of the most striking things about Will's book is its peripherality with regard to mainstream translation theory—a peripherality that breathes heavily off every page. Part of this is the self-published look of the text: the amateurish copy-editing (several numbered lists jump from indents to left-justified and back again, underlinings break off in the middle and start up again), the oldfashioned elite font that reduces diacriticked characters to a smaller size (and apparently won't do square brackets at all), the cheap binding (mine is already falling apart). But it's also more than diat. Fred Will is about as far from the high-powered theorists who have started to do brilliant deconstructive and Marxist readings of Benjamin and Heidegger and Derrida on translation at the MLA as you can get and still be published—and for my money the distance is all to Will's advantage...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-329X
Print ISSN
0190-0013
Pages
pp. 149-150
Launched on MUSE
2011-10-05
Open Access
No
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