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“Wie eine Äolsharfe vom Winde berührt”

Translation in Walter Benjamin’s Early Writings

Massimiliano De Villa    Università degli Studi di Trento, Italia    



The article aims at analysing the concept of translation in Walter Benjamin’s early writings, especially with reference to the essays Über Sprache überhaupt und über die Sprache des Menschen (On Language as Such and on the Language of Man, 1916) and Die Aufgabe des Übersetzers (The Task of the Translator, 1921) but also taking other contemporary writings into consideration. It is shown how the concept of translation, inextricably linked to Benjamin’s reflection on language, draws on the one hand on the hermeneutics of early German Romanticism and on its reflection on translation and on the other is charged with the entire semantics of Jewish messianism, in continuous confluences of which the concepts of pure language (reine Sprache), transformation (Verwandlung), of the unintentional (intentionslos) and the inexpressive (ausdruckslos) are the most evident precipitate.

20 Dicembre 2022
03 Gennaio 2023
18 Novembre 2022

Keywords: MessianismTranslationWalter BenjaminLanguageTarget languageGerman RomanticismSource language

Copyright: © 2022 Massimiliano De Villa. This is an open-access work distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction is permitted, provided that the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. The license allows for commercial use. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.