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Dictionary of Untranslatables: A Philosophical Lexicon (Translation/Transnation) Hardcover – 9 Feb 2014


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 1344 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press (9 Feb 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0691138702
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691138701
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 20.3 x 25.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 47,598 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

Review

"[W]hat may be the weirdest book the twenty-first century has so far produced. . . . [T]his is a considerable and entertaining book, full of odd words beautifully, at times owlishly, annotated."--Adam Gopnik, New Yorker

Praise for the French edition: "This dictionary's great idea is to address European philosophy from the point of view of translation. . . . [It] attains its goal by putting this principle to work: one cannot always translate a foreign concept in one word, but one can always explain it. And when one has grasped the explanation, one has acquired the concept."--Le Figaro Littéraire

Praise from the French edition: "A dictionary cannot be summarized. One great lesson, nevertheless, which can be distilled from this one (it can be gathered in the masterworks of the entries 'Traduire' ['Translate'] and 'Langues et traditions' ['Languages and traditions']), is that no language is born a philosophical one. It becomes philosophical, as it engages in exchanges with other languages. Philosophical language is impure language, and a national philosophy cannot, therefore, exist. This conviction can perhaps be one of the meanings of the unity of Europe, to which the Vocabulaire renders homage, and service."--Vincent Aubin, Le Figaro (review translated by Mark Jensen)

"[I]nteresting reading. The Dictionary of Untranslatables is a wonderful addition to my language library. . . . [A] book to savor and think about and to learn in the broader sense of learning. For anyone interested in language, in words, and the scope of meaning that a word can encompass, I recommend the Dictionary of Untranslatables."--Rich Adin, American Editor

"[G]reat success. . . . By preserving the specificity of words in their source languages, but then proceeding though so many near-synonyms in other tongues, the Dictionary bridges this ideological divide, providing a different way of understanding what it is to be in, and between, languages."--Tom Bunstead, Independent on Sunday

"[Y]ou should equip yourself with this extraordinary book. . . . You could probably, and profitably, spend your life reading this book. . . . The volume offers a detailed and up-to-date map of abstract thinking, from the classical age to now."--Douglas Kerr, South China Morning Post

"The Dictionary of Untranslatables, newly translated from the French original, wears its modest megalomania well. An 11-year project involving some 150 contributors and comprising more than 400 entries, the Dictionary suggests comparison with Volume XI of the First Encyclopedia of Tlön, described by Borges as 'a vast and systemic fragment of the entire history of an unknown planet.' The planet in question here is what we usually call 'continental philosophy.'. . . [A] heady universe of speculative thinking about the meaning of life, the history of ideas, the fate of mankind, and so on. . . . [T]he Dictionary is revealing for the way it sketches, lexically, a set of parallel but alternate intellectual traditions. What language teachers call 'false friends' are everywhere, inspiring a constant alertness to nuance. . . . Scrupulous and difficult, it's everything that the Internet, which wants everything to talk 'frictionlessly' with everything else, is not. No dreams of universal translation here--enjoy the friction. Use it for bibliomancy, the lost art of divination by book (with scripture or Virgil or Homer or Hafiz)."--Ross Perlin, New Inquiry

"A vast, lovingly detailed translator's note to western philosophy. . . . This fascinating book belongs to the interesting-in-itself side."--George Miller, Le Monde Diplomatique

"[This] is an invaluable reference for students, scholars, and general readers interested in the multilingual lives of some of our most influential words and ideas. . . . It has already provided me with several pleasurable evenings of educational reading adventures, and promises many more for the future. A superb gift for English-speaking writers, linguists, verbivores and linguaphiles."--GrrrlScientist

"The Dictionary demonstrates how much vitality and endurance these languages gain from the dialogue they engage in with other world languages--a dialogue structured and catalyzed by relations of power. . . . As the Dictionary of Untranslatables amply documents, the academy's effects on language are every bit as far-reaching as those of colonialism, trade, and pop culture. The etymologies here are at once precise and profligate, proliferating across terms like Abstraction and Acedia, Drive and Disegno, Erscheinung and Essence, Melancholy and Mimesis, Praxis and Pravda. . . . The struggle for clarity appears nowhere in ideal form but is always a thing unfolding in the world, a compound of ideology, politics, oppression, fear, desire--of all that is lost, and found, in translation."--Matthew Battles, Barnes and Noble Review

"[A]stonishingly successful . . . entertaining and revealing . . . strikingly complete and correct. . . . [A] fascinating book. . . . The translation of European 'philosophy' into American 'theory' has probably been the most consequential event in American intellectual life in the last fifty years, but it has entailed a great deal of 'mistranslation.'. . . The Dictionary of Untranslatables, in addition to its other pleasures, has a great deal to teach American scholars of the humanities about the depth and complexity of the languages and discourses we've picked up only recently--and a few powerful suggestions about what we may find waiting when we choose to turn back to our own."--Michael Kinnucan, Asymptote

"Dictionary of Untranslatables is a treasury of linguistic and philosophical paradoxes, both absorbing and diverting."--Alexander Adams, Spiked Review of Books

"[T]his erudite volume is indispensable for advanced European philosophy, literature, and translation studies."--Choice

"Dictionary of Untranslatables is one of the most solid, wide-ranging, and remarkable books of our time. Very few will ever read it cover to cover, but anyone who dips into it with a little background in the philosophical tradition, and a desire to learn more about what life is actually about, will be rewarded many times over for the effort."--John Toren, Rain Taxi Review of Books

From the Inside Flap

"This is an absolutely astonishing book. There is really nothing else like it. Brimming with excited discovery on every page, it allows readers to re-experience all the freshness and energy of the original Enlightenment attempts to sum up knowledge. If other works of reference read like this, they'd give novels a run for their money. It is dazzling."--Bruce Robbins, Columbia University

Praise for the French edition:"[A] comparatist's bonanza. . . . [F]rom abstraction and phronesis to saudade and Wunsch, across hundreds of carefully researched lexical histories, this exceptionally rich and useful [book] also makes a forceful argument for doing philosophy in dialogue with other philosophical traditions, with their original languages and texts."--Christian Moraru, The Comparatist


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A. McGuire on 20 April 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
There are a whole range of philosophical terms which have no exact equivalent in English. This book includes all the important ones (at least all those i could think of) and provides an explanatory essay on each one. Obviously everything depends on the essay being itself comprehensible, and, I am pleased to say, the majority are models of clarity. This book is near essential for philosophy students.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By alain on 4 April 2014
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Expellant book. I like it very much. I read philosophical books most of the time and I find Barbara Cassin’s encyclopaedia of philosophy one of the best philosophical reference book ever.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Excellent book brings the nuance and subtlety that is so challenging about the post structuralist tradition.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 10 reviews
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
It's fun to read the ideas of real academics writing in ... 11 July 2014
By James Hall - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is an unapologetic scholarly tome. It's fun to read the ideas of real academics writing in the way books were written before the 20 second jottings of the internet. Start anywhere and enjoy thinking about some very interesting ideas. Since it is a real book, I think actually having pages in front of you will suit best. If there is someone who has both the book and the Kindle edition I would like for that person to comment, but I feel that the actual volume is the way to use this book.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
The noosphere revealed 14 July 2014
By Robert macdonald - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
More stars than you make available - the Milky Ways worth.
The svarupa of aporia. Apocalyptic. Discrepancy revealed. Fun.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
A fundamental reference book 26 Jun 2014
By Thilo Ullmann-Zahn - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Covers most of the questions that you could come up with, and leads you into long garden paths of reflection.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
This is a wonderful volume--full of great essays about words that are generally ... 24 July 2014
By Eric J. Cassell - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a wonderful volume--full of great essays about words that are generally problem and often obscure. To those enamored of language for itself as well as philosophers interested in words like mind, soul and many many other problematics it is a very good and unequaled (in a single volume) resource
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Contempory Summa 15 Aug 2014
By martin fritter - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Of course, I haven't read the whole thing - has anybody? But it's amazing and challenging. It's hard to believe that a work of such erudition and owlishness could exist, much less be translated. Of the thirty or so entries - some thousands of words long - non has been superficial and all have been surprising.
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