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And this gets back to the Genji talk above, and the huge role of translation choices for the reader: is this version replicating the experience of the original readers in another culture? Of modern readers in another culture? Or is the story and not the "reading/listening experience" the important part? Will the original aim of this story be understood by other cultures, and does that even matter, in critical theory terms where the reader's reality is what’s important? All I know is that it's time for a [b]full account what happened in that jungle[/b], this time while seeing if you can mix first-person and third-person dialogue: [i]I've never felt anything like this heat. The cities and villages of Siam have a certain tropical charm, but the jungles are another thing entirely. It made sense to trade my usual suit for the old British light-weight cotton and linens, but this fedora is staying with me. "Mister Ishmael, why not see what you find near the reclining Buddha in Ayuthaya?" All the townspeople I'd befriended seemed to think this was where the sage I was looking for would turn up. But it strikes me that the ruins of an ancient capital are just a little [b]too[/b] perfect a setting for the philosopher---almost cliche. Better to meditate somewhere less picture-perfect, and also more obscure, away from the pilgrims and the crowds. Especially given all the kickboxers who seem to be milling around Ayuthaya these days, I hear. Far to the north, towards Chiang Mai. I was sure of it when I set out, and even more now. The denseness of the woods is impressive, and almost pretty, if you don't mind fending off the occasional animal. This is why it's good to keep the .357 Magnum at the ready. Mostly, though, it's the people you find in the jungle who are the problem. Sometimes they come crashing through the trees like a tiger. Here's a monkey-faced character wearing a suit and tie that are far too hot for this bath-house climate. "Hey, where have you been?! I've finally got a lead on where the lost treasure of the Lan Na Kingdom is hidden. Hold onto that stupid hat of yours, and let's go, Ji....oh." He stops and looks at me squarely for a second. "Ah, never mind. You know, you look an awful lot like...never mind. Gotta run, but watch out for thieves around here. You never know who you might run into in a place like this. Nee hee hee hee." He gives me a pat on the shoulder and dashes off, bowlegged but swift. He's also managed to steal my coin purse. Damn it. Then again, no merchants are coming this far into the forest anyhow. Deeper in the jungle still. Sometimes you run into doomed, feverish wanderers languishing against trees. They probably aren't getting back up. One looks up at me with bloodshot eyes. "Mistah Kurtz, he dead." Hmm. Better let this one be. I've headed up this narrow, slowly inclining path. It's been miles, but the light coming through the thick jungle canopy tells me that there must be a break in the trees and brush. A clearing? Better still, a temple, probably the only one ever built this deep in the wilderness. It's a shockingly big complex given how remote it is. You could probably hold a tournament here. Or run a criminal syndicate out of it, for that matter. Who would ever trace you here? Two figures are sitting cross-legged in front of a large bell. They look serene, like old friends, though their conversation seems to be heated and philosophical. I've heard of numerologists who find great power in certain numbers, whose attributes indicate deeper truths. Hindus, the Kabbalah mystics, and Buddhists, too. One of the two men is dressed in saffron robes, and clearly has been here longer, with a seeming connection to the place. "You laugh, sir, but Four is also the true inheritor of Three-S, not just Two, despite its resemblance to the latter. In fact, I think Four has [b]better[/b] aesthetics." "The jungle has driven you mad! I trekked through here expressly to save you from yourself. Marlow was right. Your methods are...unsound. If you cannot see the inherent virtues of Five, yet are beguiled by the unworthy baseness of Four, then truly, you are lost. Z, zere is nothing I can add to zis." The second man speaks fluently, but his agitation has caused him to slip briefly into an accent. But soon a look of calm passes over his face, and their philosophical duel resumes. Maybe the second man has come here in search of some sort of grand final challenge. Seems like the right place for it. But the sage I'm seeking isn't in this square. Best to explore deeper into the compound, before heading further north.[/i]
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