Note of Preface: Mr. McGrouder (user name untext
) has found this community of Florian Von Banier
scholars, and as one such scholar, I feel that my advice on these matters would be prudent, and perhaps could stimulate a discussion of the integrity (or lack thereof) of Leiptzfeld's readings of TBYG.
In support of Mr. McGrouder's thesis above (which is also of course my thesis, our co-thesis, if you will, readers of E2), let me offer an argument in its favor. The thesis that concerns me is this: that TBYG is in fact not
a translation from "the original yelps and growls
" as mistated by the writer named cipher
in the text above.
Of interest to me here is the conceptual difficulty
with this notion of translating "yelps and growls". How is a text to be derived from "yelps and growls"? Was Von Banier an anthropologist
, relaying stories from a primitive tribe, like the tales of the Yanomamo Indians
from South America? This would not fit with the image of him I have sketched in my biographical researches. Von Banier in fact often refused contact with all except the closest of his associates. Certainly he was not a researcher of 'primitive' cultures. If anything, he was a humanist
, a student of such cultures. For him to refer to a civilization, or tribe, as "yelpers and growlers" would not fit with my image of him as a devoted student of other civilizations.
Further, it is well known that in the vernacular of his day, the phrase "yelps and growls" was meant to refer to the slang of the 'barbaric' nations (the Mongols, the Africans, etc.). To claim that Von Banier used this term in anything other than an ironic sense is highly tendentious. In a facsimile of a letter that was sent to me by a Japanese scholar of medieval literature (carbon dating has verified the age of the parchment upon which the dirty script was written) we read the following, to which the Count signed his beautifully-written name:
"The name 'yelps' or 'growls' or 'hums' is not a name for the language of a culture that is inmagnificent, but is only the name for the ignorance and lack of compassion of the person who profanes any culture's language with such a name. To disrespect a people, a life, by referring to their most integral activity, speech, the love of speech, as 'yelps and growls' is only to disrespect one's own ability to have compassion, understanding, and above all to be educated in the ways of the world, in precise and complex forms of life that other people have developed over millenia, since the birth of time, as it was accorded by our great God, Jehovah, or Nameless One. When I write that my book is a translation from 'yelps and growls' I can only mean this with a mouthful of grapes, speaking through fruit--I know this will come as a difficulty for you to understand, but it is also difficult for me to write to you with anything but secret intentions, because there are always eyes watching over my hand, as you have warned me--If I use such a term, it is in the way that a cat would write." (Translation Mine, -LM).
Von Banier was only a friend of the so-called 'barbaric nations', in the humanistic sense. He reportedly wrote to a friend in China: "The people of the world are my business, and it is because I love them". To imagine, then, that he would translate foreigners' tales into his own language and refer to these translations as 'yelps and growls' is quite difficult in my eyes. If anything, these tales and fables are not translations, but Von Banier's own original masterpieces, written for both creative purposes and as a demonstration of the theses laid forth in his The Art of Writing Translations
(as claimed by Mr. McGrouder above).
(Note: still uncomfirmed in the West (to my knowledge), an archive of Von Banier's letters apparently sit in the back room of a library in Nairobi
. This would lead us to believe in his close contact with some scholar or student in Africa, a place to which he little referred, but when he did, it was with great affections. (I am hoping to confirm this with the aid of a grant for research, I will provide details if there is sufficient interest on this 'list'.))