Dictionary of Untranslatables: A Philosophical Lexicon (Translation/Transnation)

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9780691138701: Dictionary of Untranslatables: A Philosophical Lexicon (Translation/Transnation)

This is an encyclopedic dictionary of close to 400 important philosophical, literary, and political terms and concepts that defy easy--or any--translation from one language and culture to another. Drawn from more than a dozen languages, terms such as Dasein (German), pravda (Russian), saudade (Portuguese), and stato (Italian) are thoroughly examined in all their cross-linguistic and cross-cultural complexities. Spanning the classical, medieval, early modern, modern, and contemporary periods, these are terms that influence thinking across the humanities. The entries, written by more than 150 distinguished scholars, describe the origins and meanings of each term, the history and context of its usage, its translations into other languages, and its use in notable texts. The dictionary also includes essays on the special characteristics of particular languages--English, French, German, Greek, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish.


Originally published in French, this one-of-a-kind reference work is now available in English for the first time, with new contributions from Judith Butler, Daniel Heller-Roazen, Ben Kafka, Kevin McLaughlin, Kenneth Reinhard, Stella Sandford, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Jane Tylus, Anthony Vidler, Susan Wolfson, Robert J. C. Young, and many more.The result is an invaluable reference for students, scholars, and general readers interested in the multilingual lives of some of our most influential words and ideas.



  • Covers close to 400 important philosophical, literary, and political terms that defy easy translation between languages and cultures

  • Includes terms from more than a dozen languages

  • Entries written by more than 150 distinguished thinkers

  • Available in English for the first time, with new contributions by Judith Butler, Daniel Heller-Roazen, Ben Kafka, Kevin McLaughlin, Kenneth Reinhard, Stella Sandford, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Jane Tylus, Anthony Vidler, Susan Wolfson, Robert J. C. Young, and many more

  • Contains extensive cross-references and bibliographies

  • An invaluable resource for students and scholars across the humanities

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From the Back Cover:

"This is an absolutely astonishing book. There is really nothing else like it. Brimming with excited discovery on every page, it allows readers to re-experience all the freshness and energy of the original Enlightenment attempts to sum up knowledge. If other works of reference read like this, they'd give novels a run for their money. It is dazzling."--Bruce Robbins, Columbia University

Praise for the French edition:"[A] comparatist's bonanza. . . . [F]rom abstraction and phronesis to saudade and Wunsch, across hundreds of carefully researched lexical histories, this exceptionally rich and useful [book] also makes a forceful argument for doing philosophy in dialogue with other philosophical traditions, with their original languages and texts."--Christian Moraru, The Comparatist

About the Author:

Barbara Cassin is director of research at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique in Paris. Emily Apter is professor of comparative literature and French at New York University. Jacques Lezra is professor of Spanish, Portuguese and comparative literature at NYU. Michael Wood is the Charles Barnwell Straut Class of 1923 Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Princeton University.

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Book Description Princeton University Press. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. 1448 pages. This is an encyclopedic dictionary of close to 400 important philosophical, literary, and political terms and concepts that defy easy--or any--translation from one language and culture to another. Drawn from more than a dozen languages, terms such as Dasein (German), pravda (Russian), saudade (Portuguese), and stato (Italian) are thoroughly examined in all their cross-linguistic and cross-cultural complexities. Spanning the classical, medieval, early modern, modern, and contemporary periods, these are terms that influence thinking across the humanities. The entries, written by more than 150 distinguished scholars, describe the origins and meanings of each term, the history and context of its usage, its translations into other languages, and its use in notable texts. The dictionary also includes essays on the special characteristics of particular languages--English, French, German, Greek, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish. The result is an invaluable reference for students, scholars, and general readers interested in the multilingual lives of some of our most influential words and ideas. Covers close to 400 important philosophical, literary, and political terms that defy easy translation between languages and culturesIncludes terms from more than a dozen languagesEntries written by more than 150 distinguished thinkersAvailable in English for the first time, with new contributions by Judith Butler, Daniel Heller-Roazen, Ben Kafka, Kevin McLaughlin, Kenneth Reinhard, Stella Sandford, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Jane Tylus, Susan Wolfson, Robert J. C. Young, and moreContains extensive cross-references and bibliographiesAn invaluable resource for students and scholars across the humanities This item ships from multiple locations. Your book may arrive from Roseburg,OR, La Vergne,TN. Hardcover. Bookseller Inventory # 9780691138701

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