Sunday, March 22, 2009

complex words ...

“It is possible, without contradiction, to conceive of a more vital, freer use of the revealed spoken language, in which it would lose none of its dignity. This is not true of its written form, which allegory laid claim to being. The sanctity of what is written is inextricably bound up with the idea of its strict codification. For sacred script always takes the form of certain complexes of words which ultimately constitute, or aspire to become, one single and inalterable complex. So it is that alphabetical script, as a combination of atoms of writing, is the farthest removed from the script of sacred complexes. These latter take the form of hieroglyphics. The desire to guarantee the sacred character of any script - there will always be a conflict between sacred standing and profane comprehensibility - leads to complexes, to hieroglyphics.”

(Walter Benjamin, The Origin of German Tragic Drama. “Allegory and Trauerspiel.” Trans. John Osborne. p. 175)

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