Deaf geographies, and other worlds.
The transcription of the French account of the 1835 banquet is now complete, and available here.
The translation is nearly done. I’ll put it up as soon as it’s ready.
In the meantime, you could always try using the online translation tools that I cover in https://mikegulliver.wordpress.com/2012/06/01/online-translation-tools-thoughts-and-challenges/to access a rough version of the text.
And… just as a teaser – here’s my initial translation of Berthier’s poem:
Seeing, come together in this vast hall
Those, to whom misfortune has united me from birth
Children, disinherited of the gift of speech
Children, whom bitter nature has mistreated
No, I cried to myself, in his pilgrimage
That the eternal lays upon every human being
I do not walk alone, for a brother walks with me
And the road is shorter when it is walked as two.
We do not speak, it is true, but think
We can express ourselves just as well with eyes, and hands, and smiles and lips.
Our most attractive discourse is found on the tips our fingers
And our language, rich in secret beauty
That you, poor speaking people, will never understand.
And do we not also have your Phoenician art,
That paints our words, and speaks to our eyes?
Excepting the sound, your arts and sciences
Have nothing that is hidden to our questing minds.
And show us the heavens, ambitious Icarus,
Where I might not follow, without also falling like you.
To whom should the glory of this marvel?
Which transforms the beast into a thinking being?
Whose voice was it that spoke to the miserable slave:
Arise… their banquets are also your own?
I will restore to you the voice that you lack,
And your fingers will unite you to the human race.
A thousand tributes to that sublime man,
The modest creator of an art that is nearly divine!
Homage to our father! Oh! Every year
We should come and reawaken our love by celebrating him.
Bind ourselves tighter in the bonds that unite us
And thank God for our Freedom.
P.S. By the way – I don’t mind you reproducing any of the text of the banquets for wider purposes… but if you could credit me with the translation I’d be grateful.
Of course the poem belongs to the Deaf community… as does the essence of the translation. But I think it’s important to make sure that the translation and texts remain attached to an academic context where their meaning can be critically, and reflexively examined.