Re: [OPE-L] English translation(s) of 'Darstellung'?

From: Riccardo Bellofiore (riccardo.bellofiore@UNIBG.IT)
Date: Mon Oct 03 2005 - 09:10:30 EDT

The idea of embodiment, properly speaking,  comes 
from the fact that the ghost of value needs to 
take possession of a body, which at the beginning 
of Capital is money as a commodity, then after 
this transustantiation it becomes a vampire, as 
capital sucking living labour, and reproducing 

In fact these 3 phrases are Capital Volume 1 in a nutshell.

English translation of Capital are almost 
worthless. In Italian or in French no similar 
error happens as those pointed out by Chris.

However, I think that he is making things too 
easy. There are a lot of places in Capital, first 
chapter, in which some idea not far from 
embodiment is going on. For sure, there is the 
idea of "gallerte", value as gelatine (it does 
exist in English) of living labour, congealed or 
cristallised in commodities.

darstellen. The true point is how it is 
translated together with erscheinen, scheinen, 
ausdrucken, and the consistency of the 
translations. So, I would suggest

scheinen                to seem
erscheinen      to present itself
darstellen              to exhibit
vorstellen              to represent
ausdrucken      to express

is OK, but also

scheinen                seem
erscheinen      appear
darstellen              to present there
vorstellen              to represent
ausdrucken      to express

is OK.

Or some combination.

Say appear would be OK for the first two, but I 
would avoid it because it does not discriminate 
between false semblace and something which 
appears without being false.

I am at present unsure about vortsellen.

Even representation for darstellung may be OK (I 
realised that for  example for the English 
speaking people re-presented give strongly the 
idea of presenting twice, which is not in 
Italian; and that the Italian esporre, which 
would be OK for Italian, is not easy for me to 
tramslate in English). Delio Cantimori in Italian 
translates darstellen as to represent 
("rappresentare"), but he is almost always 
consistent, so when you read that you alwaysknow 
he is talking of darstellung, darstellen.

Provided the translator is consistent, and 
explains clearly in a note at the beginning of 
the book the philosophical meaning of these 
terms, with reference to Hegel, there are some 
alternative possible good translation, no one 
being perfect.

I agree totally with Chris that darstellung is 
something that is not a mere appearance form  of 
something goning on elsewhere. It is 
constitituive of value. As it is the idea of 
aus-drucken, which gives the movement from the 
inner to the outer.


I would not take to represent as an error
At 8:36 -0400 3-10-2005, Gerald_A_Levy@MSN.COM wrote:
>[Chris wrote:]
>All English translations are defective in offering Oembodiment' as the
>translation of 'Darstellung' in the context of Marx's first chapter. Very
>occasionally Marx does speak of Oembodied labour', but nearly always the
>term is Darstellung. The labour of the worker is Darstellung in the value
>of the product, that is, Opresented there'. ORepresentation' is inadequate
>here because it suggests a mere appearance form of something going on
>elsewhere. But Opresentation' I think avoids this. Value does not just
>represent abstract labour, it is the mode in which it becomes socially
>objective, i.e. really present. In the same way money is the mode in which
>value as universal is presented, not represented as if it already exists
>somewhere else.
>Hi again Chris,
>I'm still think about your comments.
>Isn't  "darstellung"  ordinarily and customarily translated into English as
>If that is the case, is your point that the common or everyday translation
>of "darstellung"  is inadequate as an expression for Marx's meaning in
>relationship to value?
>In solidarity, Jerry

Riccardo Bellofiore
Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche
"Hyman P. Minsky"
UniversitÓ di Bergamo
Via dei Caniana 2
I-24127 Bergamo, Italy
direct    +39-035-2052545
secretary    +39-035 2052501
fax:      +39 035 2052549

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