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Précis Writing

This morning I have come to the conclusion that my writing, my essays and term papers, are a series of précis.  The subject of this paper is the looting of archaeological sites.  At about 3,000 words it is not as long as an average book chapter, however, it divides easily into sections.  There are four examples, each very different from one another, that cover the related topics of looting, conservation, and education.  The discussion brings the examples together and talks about who is doing what.  The conclusion looks at the who and the what and I make a suggestion.

It is a pretty normal paper but, I think that maybe it could be a bit more….  I hand it in this afternoon.  I am, and this is not normal for me, already looking forward to receiving it back!

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I have a habit, when writing papers, of opening the file and immediately re-saving it using a consecutive numbering system.  For this paper my files were labeled  with the name of the paper and the numbers 1 through 10.  Shorter papers may only have 3 or 4 revision numbers.  These are not really revisions though, they are simply a growing work.  Baby steps that take me towards a finished product.  Each step adds a few paragraphs or even pages.  These will be rearranged and sometimes dropped as unnecessary or redundant.  The final step before editing will be to add in transitional paragraphs.

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Kierkegaard began Fear and Trembling with the story of Abraham on the Mount.  The first chapter of this book is taken from the Bible.  Word for word.  The second chapter almost repeats the first chapter, there are only a few changes and they are not easy to spot.  When I read this book the first time I thought the publisher had made a mistake and printed the first chapter twice.  No, it was not a mistake!  In the third chapter the retelling of Abraham’s story becomes much more noticeable.

If you have not read Fear and Trembling by Soren Kierkegaard I recommend it.  The book is not a long one, however, it is memorable.

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Translations of a translation.  This morning I am pondering a project that I thought of a while ago.  Kierkegaard did not use a translation to get his points across.  He rewrote the story to make it clear to his readers what the story was about.

I am not Kierkegaard.  (There are friends of mine just let out several deep sighs….)  My thoughts, my project, is to take a work of old or middle English and to translate it.  Then to translate my translation, and again….

What to choose?  Where I could I take it?

There are so many tales of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table.  Many written in old and middle English.  Chaucer is in there, and Mallory.  I need to think about this.  I could just choose a small piece of writing to work with – definitely more approachable than an entire work.

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Isn’t translating and revising and retelling what we humans do?  Writing books, building houses, making dinner?  Mmmm….  This tastes wonderful!  How about if we have the leftovers tomorrow and we can add those wonderful tomatoes your mother grew!

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Translation  —  Transition  —  Transformation

Pictograph  —  Linear A  —  Linear B

They might all say the same thing, but then, maybe not….

About TheMorningTomatoReport

Just a normal person: - mother - daughter - sister - aunt - university student - concerned citizen - ticketed tradesman - salesperson - entrepreneur. There is a bumper sticker I have seen a few times: If you aren't outraged, you aren't paying attention! The "outraged" part is getting stronger. This is why I am here!

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