Babel: Or the Necessity of Violence

An Arcane History of The Oxford Translators' Revolution

Hardcover, 560 pages

Published Aug. 22, 2022 by Harper Voyager.

ISBN:
9780063021426

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5 stars (3 reviews)

From award-winning author R. F. Kuang comes Babel, a thematic response to The Secret History and a tonal retort to Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell that grapples with student revolutions, colonial resistance, and the use of language and translation as the dominating tool of the British empire.

Traduttore, traditore: An act of translation is always an act of betrayal.

  1. Robin Swift, orphaned by cholera in Canton, is brought to London by the mysterious Professor Lovell. There, he trains for years in Latin, Ancient Greek, and Chinese, all in preparation for the day he’ll enroll in Oxford University’s prestigious Royal Institute of Translation—also known as Babel.

Babel is the world's center for translation and, more importantly, magic. Silver working—the art of manifesting the meaning lost in translation using enchanted silver bars—has made the British unparalleled in power, as its knowledge serves the Empire’s quest for colonization.

For Robin, Oxford …

1 edition

provoking, but in a good way

5 stars

I did feel like this violated the dictum "show don't tell" a bit too much, but it has interesting characters and a gripping plot to go with it's anti-colonialism message. Can be read as a straight forward critique of imperialism, but there are also interesting connections (or at least possible interpretations relating) to the role of technology and technology driven capitalism in contemporary society.

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tk

rated it

5 stars