Friday, July 29, 2005

An important anniversary ...

On this date in 1905 in Jönköping, Swed., Dag Hammarskjöld was born. He was a great man, and certainly the greatest to hold the position of United Nations Secretary-General. He also wrote a book, Markings, which was the first I ever reviewed professionally. Markings, which Hammarskjöld described as "a sort of White Book concerning my negotiations with myself - and with God," was in the news earlier this year, when questions were again raised as to the accuracy of the translation, done by poet W.H. Auden in collaboboration with Leif Sjöberg. I had some questions myself at the time, but not about the Swedish, which I remain incompetent to comment upon. I thought the translation of one part of Hölderlin's "Hälfte des Lebens" was peculiar (I haven't the text in front of me, so I can't be more specific). Nevertheless, I think that Markings should perhaps be read with caution, but it should be read. And maybe somebody should do a new translation.

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