on 5 December 2000
Okay, I'm a Hofstadter fan, but this is a really amazing book. Starting from a simple poem, Hofstadter wheels out onto a wild journey through the issues of translation, poetry, language, intelligence, and, ultimately, what it means to be a person. This being Hofstadter, wordplay is in evidence throughout, of course, but unlike his other books, this is deeply personal, because much of it focuses on Hofstadter's recent loss of his wife and the feelings that it inspired. You have never read a book like it, I promise
on 9 January 2001
This is a superb read from cover to cover. My thanks to Douglas Hofstadter for making my summer holiday a delight as I immersed myself in this enjoyable and stimulating work. He deals with the enormous issues of translation in a way which is amusing, intellectually challenging, thought-provoking, imaginative, refreshing, enlightening and exhaustive. I am not a linguist, but this stuff is just fascinating.
on 11 March 2012
This is a fascinating book, a rich store of ideas on poetry and translation. My only problem is that Hofstadter seems too pleased with his own cleverness, becoming at times really annoying; try pages 1 to 4 for example, but fortunately it gets better. He includes far too many of his own translations of the lovely poem by Marot, showing that his own feeling for language is not always sound. In one version, 12b, attempting to contrast 'you' and 'thou', he gets 'ye' and 'you' the wrong way round: 'On ye, child'. Ouch!