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N.1/2020 Traduzione

Due casi di intraducibile: Epepe e il Codex Seraphinianus

Alice Giordano  

(Università Vita-Salute San Raffaele di Milano)

Published in June, 2020

Two cases of untranslatable: Epepe and the Codex Seraphinianus

Giornale Critico 01-2020 Copertina.jpg


This essay aims to analyze and compare two examples of “untranslat- able”: the first one is a novel by Ferenc Karinthy titled Epepe, the second one is the artwork Codex Seraphinianus by Luigi Serafini. Cornerstone of the novel is the impossibility for the main character, a Professor of linguistics, to translate the language spoken in an absurd city where he accidentally ends up. The main philosophical problem, which dates back to Aristotle, concerns the gap between voice and language. The deep bottom of language is a fluid matter which eludes letters, words, sentences. Another gap occurs in the Codex, which has the shape of an encyclopedia, but both images and alphabet are totally made up. The Co- dex hints that reality is too shifting to be classified once and for all, and does that through a peculiar artistic gesture.


translation, voice, language, alphabet, reality.

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