Florencia F. C. Shanahan – Buenos Irish

THE LETTER 35 (Autumn 2005) pages 43-49

There is not such a

consubstantial problem with

letters and their modest

mystery than the one posed by




It has been said about Joyce’s Ulysses, among many other things, that it should be read in English, and in a loud voice. We did this, together with some colleagues, in rotation, during a year. I had been living in Dublin for three months when we began.

From what that experience produced many questions arose, from which I choose two lines of work, whose first articulations I would like to outline today.

Firstly, the problem of idiom, related to that of translation, pertinent to psychoanalysis from many and different perspectives. Secondly, the problem of the pair to hear/to read and their difference, which introduces us to the question of writing, central to our field.

The first complete translation of Ulysses into “Spanish” was done by an Argentinian man in the middle of the last century1. Many of Dublin’s colloquial terms [argot], as well as expressions, sayings, puns and jokes, which only obtain their value around the Liffey, within the city’s pubs and people, were translated into the same singularities that characterized the Buenos Aires of those times. His work was celebrated by many and also…

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