Monday, August 27, 2007

Saudade Revisited

Cero commented on my Saudade comments found on Beached Bones. I am printing my response here.

Nostalgia that is the word! But that word does not translate now does it. The whole problem is that Saudade, as a state of being, is the substantive representation of ‘an act’ in the continuous tense by implication, not to mention it is “sweet” by connotation.

Saudade is a state that is far more ethereal than Nostalgic or Nostalgia, which are both more concrete. You can buy Nostalgia in a Time Life Series of CD's at 3:30 in the a.m., or even eat it at Crackle Barrel at lunch time (I interviewed with their corporate representative at a job fair once. It was crazy. All the companies in Nashville just examined me, one Christian publisher asked for my pastor’s name, another Christian publisher’s human resource person just held in a giggle when I showed her my resume . . . but I digress).

Nostalgia is not an individual experience; we can all experience it in someway.

I do not know Portuguese very well, but saudade is an important word no? That is the problem I think I have with cross-cultural studies -- without a certain linguistic mastery, things kind of fall to pot . . . in a certain genteel and polite Afro-dandy way.

But yes, Saudade leading into a discussion of Nostalgia and the Post-Modern is very interesting. I am going to come back to you on that. I have a problem with the absolutism of the Post-Modern theorist in practice; no holes are allowed to be punched, so I think I cut myself off from many useful ideas in the end. And in the end, I have cut myself off from ever really feeling comfortable enough to finish a doctorate based on theoretical methods. I have been looking for a safe strait in navigating that ocean.

Damn! I used the word “useful” in that jargonized way. I vowed never to do that in writing after I finished my first MA.


Rent Party said...

I am also trying to figure it out! But am still just sort of awestruck.

John K said...

It's more like a deep feeling of longing, memory, nostalgie de la vie, sometimes sorrow-tinged joy all wrapped into one. I translated it as yearning or longing when I encountered it in Jean Wyllys's collection of stories, though I know there's much more to it than that.