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Selbstaufhebung

English translation: The (self-oblivion and) self-abolition of art...

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15:01 Aug 31, 2006
German to English translations [PRO]
Art/Literary - Poetry & Literature / philosophy??
German term or phrase: Selbstaufhebung
This is a Kafka quote to be printed in isolation in a book of his drawings:

"Selbstvergessenheit und Selbstaufhebung der Kunst: Was Flucht ist, wird vorgeblich Spaziergang oder gar Angriff.
[Aus ‚Oktavheft G‘, 1917/18]"

I have found "Selbstaufhebung" in lots of philosophical references, including one which said that only the German language had an adequate word for this concept! I don't know whether or not it's being used in a philosophy-jargon way here.

Any thought? TIA!
Rachel Ward
United Kingdom
Local time: 07:20
English translation:The (self-oblivion and) self-abolition of art...
Explanation:
Before I lose myself in an explanation...

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Note added at 7 hrs (2006-08-31 22:12:40 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Out of curiosity I looked for other sources that used 'overcoming' as proposed by H Schroeder, and found this from a translation of Nietzsche:

http://www.michaelbryson.net/academic/chap1.html

"..it ends, as does every good thing on earth, by overcoming itself (Sich selbst aufhebend). This self-overcoming (Selbstaufhebung) of justice: one knows the beautiful name it has given itself-mercy. (73)"

However, in the ironic Nietzschean sense, to overcome here (my reading) is to abolish, vanquish, exterminate from the self; here, rid oneself of a false idea of justice (false to Nietzsche that is) - and come to what his enemies, e.g. the muddled Christians, call mercy. I wonder then if 'self-overcome' doesn't have, in our non-Nietzschean worldviews, more a sense of overcoming something 'bad'...
Selected response from:

Anton Baer
Slovakia
Local time: 08:20
Grading comment
Thanks everyone. I still don't know what it actually MEANS, though! ;o)
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer

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Summary of answers provided
3 +3The (self-oblivion and) self-abolition of art...
Anton Baer
4 +2self-abnegation
Darin Fitzpatrick
3 +1self-preserving transformation and elevationKen Cox
3 +1art overcoming itself
Henry Schroeder
3redemptive self-relinquishingStephen Reader


Discussion entries: 3





  

Answers


1 hr   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +2
self-abnegation


Explanation:
Googling this + Kafka gives lots of uses.

BTW I responded to Andrew before I though I would answer it myself.

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Note added at 1 hr (2006-08-31 16:21:25 GMT)
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* thought

Darin Fitzpatrick
United States
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 4

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Kevin Fulton
2 hrs

agree  Lancashireman
6 hrs
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1 hr   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +1
art overcoming itself


Explanation:
art forgetting and overcoming itself

or art's ability to forget and overcome itself

I derived it primarily from this reference:

http://64.233.183.104/search?q=cache:Q6AKzPuUX24J:www.michae...

Henry Schroeder
United States
Local time: 02:20
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 88

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  xxxFrancis Lee: self-transcendence?
18 hrs
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1 hr   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +1
self-preserving transformation and elevation


Explanation:
From your ref that says the only German has a term that suitably expresses the meaning, it sounds like you have to preserve the full trinity of negation, preservation and elevation

Thus perhaps 'the oblivion and self-preserving transformation and elevation of art'

Ken Cox
Local time: 08:20
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 35

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Stephen Reader: Convincing. Coupled with Heinrich B's minus abolition. The oblivion of self and transcendent redemption of self in art? Wait a mo...
22 hrs
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1 hr   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +3
The (self-oblivion and) self-abolition of art...


Explanation:
Before I lose myself in an explanation...

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 7 hrs (2006-08-31 22:12:40 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Out of curiosity I looked for other sources that used 'overcoming' as proposed by H Schroeder, and found this from a translation of Nietzsche:

http://www.michaelbryson.net/academic/chap1.html

"..it ends, as does every good thing on earth, by overcoming itself (Sich selbst aufhebend). This self-overcoming (Selbstaufhebung) of justice: one knows the beautiful name it has given itself-mercy. (73)"

However, in the ironic Nietzschean sense, to overcome here (my reading) is to abolish, vanquish, exterminate from the self; here, rid oneself of a false idea of justice (false to Nietzsche that is) - and come to what his enemies, e.g. the muddled Christians, call mercy. I wonder then if 'self-overcome' doesn't have, in our non-Nietzschean worldviews, more a sense of overcoming something 'bad'...

Anton Baer
Slovakia
Local time: 08:20
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 8
Grading comment
Thanks everyone. I still don't know what it actually MEANS, though! ;o)

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Ingeborg Gowans: I like your comments; you might be spot on here
41 mins

agree  Veronika McLaren
2 hrs

agree  Stephen Reader: Much appeal. For all the closeness of abolition, though... I feel it has to do with Aufhebung as comfortingly (art-)absorbed flight, cf. (tho not a proposition here) 'bergen'. Combine+Kenneth?
23 hrs
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1 day36 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5
redemptive self-relinquishing


Explanation:
In trivial lang. it might be "Flucht nach vorne". Mine probably too cumbersome.
It'll lie somewhere between Kenneth's and Heinrich's takes, though Henry's overcoming and Darin's abnegation came equally to mind.
TENTATIVELY: <I>Self-rescinding oblivion, self-redeeming in art: what is flight would pose as</I> (more literally: <I>becomes an ostensible</I>) <I>stroll or even an attack.</I>


Stephen Reader
Local time: 08:20
Native speaker of: English
PRO pts in category: 4
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