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Translation as an Act of Freedom – Vilém Flusser’s Philosophy of Translation

In this text I want to define Flusser’s notion of translation. The basis for my essay are his writings on language and translation. Focussing on the power and strength of language I will relate these writings to Ernst Jünger’s book Lob der Vokale which Flusser mentions in the bibliography of Língua e Realidade. In the first part of my text I deal with the aspects of linguistic domination and submission that arise when Flusser uses a specific language. They are two sides of the same medal. In the second part I discuss Flusser’s methods of translation more precisely. At this point I will take up his concept of ‘fragrancy’ (fragrância) which points in the same direction as Walter Benjamin’s ‘way of meaning’ (Art des Meinens). Lastly I argue that Flusser’s translation activities have to be understood within his dialogical concept of freedom as an opening towards the other.

A positividade da negação: o exílio de Flusser no Brasil

This text contextualizes Vilém Flusser’s exile in Brazil during the turbulent period of the civil-military uprising of the 1960s, both historiographically and philosophically. It focuses upon the Flusserian network and the discussions of his intellectual constellation. Flusser’s philosophical thoughts are examined through earlier writings including the books History of the Devil and Phenomenology of the Brazilian, in addition to essays published in newspapers, and to his personal correspondence. Interdiscoursive relations are further examined in reference to the writings of Ernesto Grassi and Ernst Jünger. Although Grassi and Jünger arrived in Brazil under different circumstances, they nevertheless introduced concepts that were somehow compatible with Flusser’s narrative of Brazilian history. Special attention is drawn to Flusser’s notion of “progress” and “history” in relation to the Cold War period.

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