Marot's poem, in Hofstadter's initial translation (he is to compose many more), begins: "My sweet, / I bid you / A good day; / The stay / Is prison. / Health / Recover, / Then open / Your door ... "--a slim frame on which to hang 600 or so pages of text. But the book is far more than a compendium of translators' triumphs (with the occasional misstep). Most of the renderings are original and lively, some lovely, though Hofstadter often feels compelled to improve them. He lightly laments that Bill Cavnar's rendering, "though superb along so many dimensions at once, still seems to lack a bit of that intangible verbal sparkle that I associate with the deepest Maroticity."
Hofstadter's talents lie in linking his intoxication, erudition, and vision with humor, autobiography, and free association. His book takes on "rigidists," asks questions like, "Is plagiarism potentially creative?" and strives to define linguistic soul. Along the way, it accords the same level of respect to the seemingly trivial: sex jokes, Texas jokes, The Seven Year Itch, and the puzzle of how someone you love can hate a food that you adore. Throughout there is pun, ingenuity, and above all, love for language--which can compress distance and, through constraint, lead to freedom. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
I am stll busy reading it, but it is a very interesting book, full of wonderful ideas...I do recommend it to whoever is interested in the subject.Published 11 months ago by Noemia
I find this a terrific text to use to make a point about translations in class - a point that also reflects on the meaning of a text or utterance in one's own language as well. Read morePublished 21 months ago by W. Jamison
Once again, Pulitzer Prize winner Douglas Hofstadter treats his readers to a playful, thought-provoking romp through the human mind. Read morePublished on November 27, 2011 by J. Cosyn
Hofstadter doesn't stay in the bleachers commenting on things - he gets out on the field and plays. When he writes about the challenges of writing without the letter "E", he of... Read morePublished on March 25, 2011 by Paul Rippey
Having read GEB first, I had hoped I would learn more new things in Le Ton. Unfortunately this second book by the same author is very much a "stream-of consciousness" relating of... Read morePublished on November 2, 2009 by Mark Thrice
I can't possibly give this book enough credit.
Douglas Hofstader has a fantastic brain, and if you'd like a little of his brilliance to rub off on you read this book. Read more
As one whose initial exposure to Hofstadter was through GEB, I was somewhat skeptical about a book written by him focusing on poetry. Read morePublished on September 7, 2008 by J. Duker
I've been dipping this book with pleasure and occasional exasperation. It's an exploration of the difficulties of translating from one language to another. Read morePublished on June 19, 2008 by Alan A. Elsner
One of my favorite books, this is by the author of "Godel, Escher, Bach". Impossible to categorize accurately, it's a very extended riff on the difficulties and challenges of... Read morePublished on December 31, 2007 by David M. Giltinan