Juan de Mairena: Epigrams, Maxims, Memoranda, and Memoirs of an Apocryphal Professor, with an Appendix of Poems from the Apocryphal Songbooks

Juan de Mairena: Epigrams, Maxims, Memoranda, and Memoirs of an Apocryphal Professor, with an Appendix of Poems from the Apocryphal Songbooks

Juan de Mairena: Epigrams, Maxims, Memoranda, and Memoirs of an Apocryphal Professor, with an Appendix of Poems from the Apocryphal Songbooks

Juan de Mairena: Epigrams, Maxims, Memoranda, and Memoirs of an Apocryphal Professor, with an Appendix of Poems from the Apocryphal Songbooks

Excerpt

Tradition has reserved this space for the translator's apology for his translation. Machadians will not have to be informed of the hazards of translating either the prose of Juan de Mairena or the lyrics of the Apocryphal Songbooks; and apology is lost upon those who assume that Machado, a master of the "middle style," and a conspicuous adversary of the baroque, is always leathery, open, and linear, "like the landscapes of Castile." A. Sańchez Barbudo, in his tour de force of clarification, The Thought of Antonio Machado, takes pains to remind the casual reader of the "enigmatic" and "disconcerting" character of the Apocryphal Songbooks and the "obscurity of the philosophical writings." Similarly, the author of The World and the Work of Antonio Machado, whose essay launches this translation for American readers, is concerned with the "mirror play," the "screens," the "apocryphal compensations," and the "hermetic" aspects of the later Machado. All present problems for the translator which may well prove insuperable.

In another sense, however, it has always been the translator's task to devise an "apocryphal life" for a text which can have no second being apart from the linguistic and imaginative processes intrinsic to its original containment of experience. "The only living language," Mairena somewhere remarks, "is the language in which we think and have our being. We are given only one . . . we must content ourselves with the surfaces, grammatical and literary, of all the others." The "Otherness" with which Mairena, Martín, and Machado are all severally preoccupied and which . . .

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