Tuesday, June 30, 2015

I can relate to what T.S. Eliot said about foreign languages

"But I have also found sometimes that a piece of poetry, which I could not translate, containing many words unfamiliar to me, and sentences which I could not construe, conveyed something immediate and vivid, which was unique, different from anything in English -- something which I could not put into words and yet felt that I understood. And on learning that language I found that this impression was not an illusion, not something which I had imagined to be in the poetry, but something that was really there.  So in poetry you can, now and then, penetrate into another country, so to speak, before your passport has been issued or your ticket taken."

"The Social Function of Poetry" in On Poetry and Poets by T.S. Eliot

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