Germanist emeritus, translator of great authors across the Rhine, Olivier Mannoni was given a mission: to translate “Mein Kampf”. He exposed this long supper (linguistic) with the devil.
When Fayard asked Mannoni to re-translate the abysmal seven hundred pages of “Mein Kampf”, he did not hesitate. After fifty translations of works on Nazi medicine, anti-Semitism, the Holocaust by bullets, the camps, it seems logical to return to the source. But the course will be very uneven …
Can we do well by translating “Mein Kampf”?
“Never, in any text before this book, I was confronted with such density and such violence in expressions of hatred.”
I wrote it in my essay: it is “desecration of my profession” because “never, in any text before this book, I was confronted with such density and such violence in expressions of hatred.that bubbling, malicious and malignant resentment describes [le philosophe allemand, ndlr] Peter Sloterdijk”.
“Our editor in Fayard, Florent Brayard, told me about his intuition: on the contrary, restore the inherent illegibility of Hitler’s language. We had to take everything back and ‘poor’ translate the poor.”
This text translates first of all the inability of Hitler, a formidable orator, in the face of writing. So I initially “worked well”, deleted the mistakes, corrected the mistakes. The first translation in 1934 made the book accessible. I was simply sure to lighten up a sentence overloaded with adverbs. Then our editor in Fayard, Florent Brayard, told me about his intuition: on the contrary, restore the inherent readability of Hitler’s language. It was necessary to take everything back and “wrong” translated the wrong.
In total, “historicizing evil” will require ten years of work by the translator, and five more by the editor and historians.
What kind of language is this?
It counts stun the reader, like the audience, with an unstructured syntax, mislead before drawing any simplified conclusions. The process is similar to that of speech: very long, illogical sentences, and a summary conclusion.
“This Nazi language, of which “Mein Kampf” is the main source, drowns reality in words. It expresses an abysmal contempt for knowledge and a bitterness towards the circles of knowledge.”
This Nazi language that has “My battle“is the main source, not only politics. It invades all texts: legal and administrative corpus, historical or economic analysis. It drowns facts in words. It expresses an abysmal contempt for knowledge and a bitterness towards the circle of knowledge. chapter, Hitler pours hate it for culture and education. Words invented for this purpose: Schwabinger denigrated the artists in the district of Schwabing, in Munich, and writeequivalent to piss-copy, scold journalists and sound like chaoscrap
From the beginning, this vocabulary principle has one function: telling while disguising.my battle” is a permanently encrypted text. This linguistic pretension goes hand in hand with the decoration of the future in a movement like “Strength in joy“, “Strength in happiness”.
As Viktor Klemperer shows in “LTI, language IIIe Reich” and Raul Hillberg in “The Extermination of the Jews in Europe“, this hidden function then serves to hide the fact of Final solution.
“my fight” already theorizing the regime and its organizations, and predicts several vertical power structures analyzed by Ian Kershaw in it. “Hitler”, even if the Holocaust is not announced as such. And this book, which has sold 12 million copies, has permeated the minds of a large part of the people and their leaders.
Reissued in France in “Mein Kampf”: The Nazi firebrand put into context for science and history
Where does this language come from?
About 1860, the current ethniccombined racism, eugenics, esotericism and worship of the earth, resonates with the thought of the English. Gobineaupublished in 1853″Essay on Inequality in Human Race and French Drumontauthor in 1886 of “The Jews of France“.
A historian like Oswald Spenglerand “Decline in the Westpublished in 1918, invokes over-explanation by using a mythological lyricism. Alfred RosenbergNazi author “Mythe du xxe century” in 1930, inspired by the racist theory of another Englishman, Houston Stewart Chamberlain.
Another stream, hygienism informs Hitler’s theory of “replacement of the great” by the Jews and the creation of a “pure” and “healthy” people. In Scandinavian countries, sterilization campaigns are advocated, an idea later taken up by the Nazis.
Is this hidden language spreading?
This horrific rhetoric has allowed Holocaust deniers like Robert Faurisson to deny the reality of the Holocaust, one of the fundamental goals of the regime, which implemented the Final Solution by hiding it.
“Today, this attack on the language is imitation. Trump uses logorrhea in every respect, even though the former president is neither a warmonger nor an exterminator.”
Le Pen’s statement in 1987 hides all the rhetoric in this chain of denial: “I am not saying that the gas chambers do not exist. I myself could not see any. I did not I did not specifically study the question, but I believe. is a point of detail in the history of World War II. […] Do you want to tell me that this is a revealed truth that everyone must believe?” He returned to it in 2015: “What I said corresponds to my thinking, that the gas chambers were a detail in the history of war , unless one admits. that it is war that is a detail of the gas chambers.” This syllogism is in there line Hitler’s language.
Today, this attack on the language imitates. Trump uses logorrhea in every respect in the same way, even though the former president is neither a military man nor an exterminator. And the QAnon movement picked up similar linguistic and substantive elements, such as anti-Semitism. In France, we are witnessing a semantic drift: does a police union not castigate the “malicious”?
“Historicizing Evil, A Critical Edition of Mein Kampf”
Fayard edition. 100 €.
Notes from L’Echo:
Edition of Héloïse d’Ormesson. 15 €.
Notes from L’Echo:
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