ES.258 | Spring 2007 | Undergraduate
Gödel, Escher, Bach


Translation Assignment

This assignment is due after the following readings:

Hofstadter, Douglas. Le Ton Beau De Marot: In Praise of the Music of Language. New York, NY: Basic Books, 1998, chapter 5. ISBN: 9780465086450.

———. Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid. New York, NY: Basic Books, 1999, chapter 12. ISBN: 9780465026562.

Pick a section of GEB – from a chapter or dialogue – and “translate” it into some constrained language. There should, of course, be some parts of your translation that require the kinds of clever shifts that Hofstadter talks about in Marot.

Some Possible Constraints:

  • A lipogram: forbid the letter “e” (or possibly even more letters!)
  • The Game of Four: use only words of four letters or less
  • Use only words of one syllable
  • “Ander-Saxon”: avoid all words with Latin or Greek roots (tricky)

An impressive constrained piece of writing, including several constrained translations, is the story “Cadaeic Cadenza”.