When we speak and write, when we use language, we perform a temporal act which connects past, present and future. If we assume that the act of translating is the means through which we are linguistically able to connect past, present and future, then we can discern how, cognitively, every translation is intimately related to the problem of anachronism and to the presence of different temporalities at one and the same time. My interest in the concept of anachronism in history and historiography lies at the linguistic and cognitive levels. When we use a present word/concept with reference to a word/concept of the past (recent or distant), we perform a linguistic act that is unavoidably anachronistic, an act of translation. The idea of anachronism as synchronism implied by using language in respect of historians can be completely understood only if we think of it in cognitive terms. I wish to emphasize that the act of understanding past words and concepts is cognitively anachronistic, also in consequence of the fact that words are themselves things-objects and are apprehended by men and women as a concrete form. If we think of words as things-objects, similar perspectives and similar methodological issues are open to the investigation of historians. Words are as things-objects, materially and cognitively: they have emerged in a precise moment and place and have been reinterpreted through multiple receptions in different times and places, bearing in their existence the signs of their history. The notion of anachronism as synchronism must be related to the fact that words and things-objects coming from different times are all contemporarily present, and the task of the historian as a translator of the past consists exactly in unrolling and synchronizing their different temporalities.

Alonzi L. (2023). History as translation / anachronism as synchronism. RETHINKING HISTORY, 27(4), 664-683 [10.1080/13642529.2023.2229685].

History as translation / anachronism as synchronism

Alonzi L.
2023-01-01

Abstract

When we speak and write, when we use language, we perform a temporal act which connects past, present and future. If we assume that the act of translating is the means through which we are linguistically able to connect past, present and future, then we can discern how, cognitively, every translation is intimately related to the problem of anachronism and to the presence of different temporalities at one and the same time. My interest in the concept of anachronism in history and historiography lies at the linguistic and cognitive levels. When we use a present word/concept with reference to a word/concept of the past (recent or distant), we perform a linguistic act that is unavoidably anachronistic, an act of translation. The idea of anachronism as synchronism implied by using language in respect of historians can be completely understood only if we think of it in cognitive terms. I wish to emphasize that the act of understanding past words and concepts is cognitively anachronistic, also in consequence of the fact that words are themselves things-objects and are apprehended by men and women as a concrete form. If we think of words as things-objects, similar perspectives and similar methodological issues are open to the investigation of historians. Words are as things-objects, materially and cognitively: they have emerged in a precise moment and place and have been reinterpreted through multiple receptions in different times and places, bearing in their existence the signs of their history. The notion of anachronism as synchronism must be related to the fact that words and things-objects coming from different times are all contemporarily present, and the task of the historian as a translator of the past consists exactly in unrolling and synchronizing their different temporalities.
2023
Alonzi L. (2023). History as translation / anachronism as synchronism. RETHINKING HISTORY, 27(4), 664-683 [10.1080/13642529.2023.2229685].
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/10447/637579
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