Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Quote: João Guimarães Rosa

Guimaraes Rosa"I speak: Portuguese, German, French, English, Spanish, Italian, Esperanto, some Russian; I read: Swedish, Dutch, Latin and Greek (but with the dictionary right next to me); I understand some German dialects; I studied the grammar of: Hungarian, Arabic, Sanskrit, Lithuanian, Polish, Tupi, Hebrew, Japanese, Czech, Finnish, Danish; I dabbled in others. But all at a very basic level. And I think that studying the spirit and the mechanism of other languages helps a great deal in the deeper understanding of the national language [of Brazil]. In general, however, I studied for pleasure, desire, distraction."
--João Guimarães Rosa, one of my avatars, and one of Brazil's greatest novelists and author of the untranslatable masterpiece Grande Sertão: Veredas (Devil to Pay in the Backlands), from a 1966 interview with Lenice Guimarães de Paula Pitanguy

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