24 April 2016

Translation: What's an Illusion, Power or Art?

Excerpt translated from French from "L'Elégance du Hérisson" by Muriel Barbery, Gallimard edition, p. 114-115.

I am sitting in the kitchen in silence. The lights are off, and I soak in the bitter feeling of absurdity. My mind slowly drifts. Pierre Arthens … brutal despot, thirsty for glory and honors. Yet, torn between his aspiration to Art and his hunger for power, he strove to the bitter end chasing after an elusive chimera through his words … Where lies the truth after all? And what’s an illusion — power or Art? Isn’t it through well-learned discourse that we admire the creations of man while denouncing the thirst for domination, which drives us all, as a crime of illusory vanity? Yes, us all, including a poor concierge in her tiny loge, who having given up ostensible power, still pursues dreams of power in her mind?

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