Tuesday, June 29, 2010

My favorite version of Being and Time.

There was recently a brief multi-blog discussion of everyone's favorite translation of Heidegger's Being and Time. Forgive me for not rounding up the links, this discussion took place a couple of weeks ago. It was occasioned because someone noticed that a new version of Joan Stambaugh's translation (revised with notes from Dennis Schmidt) is coming out. Almost all of the other blogs agreed that the Macquarrie and Robinson translation was their preferred one. That's not surprising, considering they all found the book useful, all spent a lot of time with it, and all started with the M&R translation. I'm one of the few people I know who first read B&T in the Stambaugh translation. But that's not my favorite translation.

My favorite translation is Mark Z. Danielewski's novel House of Leaves. For those that don't know the book, it's like a good rock band that wears all their influences on their sleeves. Sure, those other bands might have been better, and certainly more original, but this band rocks and knows how to have fun. Moreover, HoL is a wonderful parody of academic writing and the standards of the academy. Meanwhile, the book is basically inspired from being to end by Being and Time (along with several other thinkers). Get this, it even shares Heidegger's anthropocentrism and belief that animals can only perish and not die. All of that, plus it is shamelessly self-indulgent, outlandishly funny, and often spooky as hell. I know a couple of posts below I talked of rereading a couple of big books (by Heidegger and Luhmann), but maybe this should be the next big book I reread.