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Orbis Litterarum



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Monicka Rinck's 2016 translation of Magnus William‐Olsson's collection Homullus absconditus (2013) is more than a Swedish‐to‐German rendering of already multilayered text. As an experimental poet working under hypnosis, Rinck engages with a language she does not know, intentionally misreading homophones, cutting lines, adding small‐print comments in the margins, and translating titles left in Greek, as she interrogates her source's words from within and without. Rather than making an earnest effort to “correct” a male‐authored text, Rinck gets her words in edgewise on each page, in a playfully parasitic mode that also upends age‐old ideas of the passive, hypnotized woman. Paradoxically, her new text, subtitled [HYPNO‐HOMULLUS], becomes more readily comprehensible as it forces a back‐and‐forth reading of source and adaptation, and as it gives the reader words for what she or he may lack in knowledge of Greek or Spanish, in William‐Olsson's citation‐heavy verse. This small, square book full of irruptions and strange marginalia reveals the act of writing to be slippery, hypnotic as it often is, and critical at the same time. It also renews familiar words in two related languages, as it breaks open literary conventions to address not only the gendered but also the intercultural crises of our time.


This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Hart H. Words in edgewise. Orbis Litter. 2018;00:1–10., which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions.