5/07/2020

It’s All in the Presentation: A New Look at Schopenhauer

"Richard Equila, in his new translation for Longman Press (with collaboration by David Carus), believes that we will not understand Schopenhauer properly unless we at the very least recognize the work by a new title: “The World as Will and Presentation.” “Idea,” “Representation,” and “Presentation” are all acceptable renderings of “Vorstellung.” However, it’s the notion of a performance or a theatrical presentation that is key here. The world that we perceive is a “presentation” of objects in the theatre of our own mind; we, the “subject,” craft the show with our own stage managers, stagehands, sets, lighting, code of dress, pay scale, etc. The other part of the world, the Will, or “thing in itself,” not perceivable as a presentation, exists outside time, space, and causality. Aquila tries to make these distinctions as linguistically precise as possible; he also attempts to replicate Schopenhauer’s compelling prose style by diverging from the literalness of other translations—a rather risky and brave move. But, Aquila hopes, that by making this tome as lively as possible, and by dazzling us with his “presentation,” Schopenhauer might get to be as good a read as he was from 1860 to 1950."