There is a slightly pretentious term in wine tasting and wine writing called ‘mouthfeel’. (It is also slightly baffling: where else might you feel wine if not in your mouth? On your foot?) The Oxford Companion to Wine calls it a ‘non-specific tasting term, used particularly for red wines, to indicate those textural attributes, such as smoothness, that produce tactile sensations on the surface of the oral cavity’. There is similar mouthfeel about translation. Its general development over the last century and more has been away from smoothness and towards authenticity, away from a reorganising interpretativeness which aims for the flow of English prose, towards a close-reading fidelity – enjoy those tannins! – which seeks to echo the original language.
Thursday, November 11, 2010
A strange business
At the LRB, Julian Barnes on Lydia Davis's Flaubert: