Thursday, January 19, 2012

crisis ...

"Languages are imperfect because multiple; the supreme language is missing. Inasmuch as thought consists of writing without pen and paper, without whispering even, without the sound of the immortal Word, the diversity of languages on earth means that no one can utter words which would bear the miraculous stamp of Truth Herself Incarnate .... But then, esthetically, I am disappointed when I consider how impossible it is for language to express things by means of certain keys which would reproduce their brilliance and aura -- keys which do exist as a part of the instrument of the human voice, or among languages, or sometimes even in one language  .... We dream of words brilliant at once in meaning and sound, or darkening in meaning and so in sound, luminously and elementally self-succeeding. But, let us remember that if our dream were fulfilled, verse would not exist -- verse which, in all its wisdom, atones for the sins of languages, comes nobly to their aid."

(Stéphane Mallarmé, "Crisis in Poetry." Trans. Bradford Cook)