Monday, May 24, 2010

Alfredo Bosi, Os trabalhos da mão

Reader Henrique Chaudon in Brazil is translating Alfredo Bosi's Os trabalhos da mão from Portuguese into English. You can get a preview of this beautiful text on Henrique's blog using machine translation from google.

There are three distinct strategies through which to make the important point about the necessity of hands-on learning. One is to appeal to reason, the second is to appeal to experience, and the third is poetry. The first is subject to argument, "yes, but." And there are those who are well practiced in the art, taking a contrarian view simply to display their mastery of rhetoric and presumed intellectual authority. The second strategy is to appeal to experience, but there are fewer these days who have experience in personal creative engagement of the hands. The third approach is to disarm opposition through the beauty of language. That is where Alfredo Bosi comes in... Here is a glimpse of what may come:
The Work of the Hand.

Man, of all is the symbolic animal; a single part may perform diverse functions. The hand is an example.

The hand pulls from the earth root and grass. It harvests the fruit of the tree, peels it and takes it to the mouth. The hand picks up the object, moves it, holds it into the body, and casts it away. The hand pulls and pushes, gathers and spreads, tightens and loosens. It contracts and relaxes, coils and unwinds; rubs, touches, pats, scratches, pinches, points, shakes, slaps, punches, then massages the sore muscle.
Today at Clear Spring School, students 7th through 11th grades finished work in the woodshop. Some turned on the lathe as shown at above. At left and below, you can see our completed Ark of the Covenant model stated earlier in the year in World Religions class. According to legend, touching the Ark brings death. The students carried it for a ways and then were struck dead by the curse in the school parking lot.
Just kidding, of course.


  1. Anonymous8:47 AM

    What a shame that people think that translation can be done by software. That's comparable to woodworking being done by software. There is no context, or as Frank Zappa once put it, no eyebrow. With some human translator to add nuance, that translation will be a great addition to the wisdom of the hands. In the interest of openness, I should add that I do Spanish/English translations.


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