Doniger O'Flaherty's translations (1 of 2)

Max.Nihom at Max.Nihom at
Tue Nov 21 11:40:13 UTC 1995

>On Sun, 19 Nov 1995, Max Nihom wrote:
>> I see. Instead of an education, the students are to get advanced cocktail 
>> party training. 
>And instead of reasoned arguments, Indology subscribers are to be treated 
>to snide one-liners.
>						-Peter D. Banos
>						pdb1 at

I quote Mr. Kornman: "More accurate translations are sometimes so hard to 
read. My students need clear, user friendly English and an apparatus which 
deals with their needs" Further: "The students are doing a quick and cursory 
reading and walk away with only the vaguest sense of what they have read".

Now, why is it held that the students need "clear, user friendly English"? 
Why are they doing a "quick and cursory reading and walk away with only the 
vaguest sense of what they have read"? One reason might very well be the 
"clear, user friendly English" which, Mr. Kornman stipulates in the case of 
O'Flaherty's translations, may not be all that accurate. As far as I can 
tell, the point of an introductory survey course is a) to provide accurate 
information and b) to encourage the students to think about the accurate 
information. Whether the information is poured into an entertaining mode is 
utterly secondary. When it is argued that on a university level something 
should be put on a reading list because it is "fun to read", in my opinion a 
snide comment is more than warranted.

There is, moreover, a matter of fundamental principle here. Let us assume 
that subject X is `boring' to the students. If it is so, then it is the 
responsibility of the teacher to make it interesting. It is not permissible 
for the teacher to falsify or to allow X to be falsified on the grounds that 
otherwise the students will not take the course, will not be entertained 
etc. etc. If the purpose of an education is not rigor, then what is left is 
social posturing. 

Max Nihom


More information about the INDOLOGY mailing list