The Assault: Part 10: Time Eternal


This post doesn’t live here anymore. It emigrated to my other blog:

The Big No-No:  An Outsider on American Fascism, where it resides under the title: “History and Time in Harry Mulisch’s The Assault Part 10: Time Eternal”.

 

3 responses to “The Assault: Part 10: Time Eternal

  1. Not speaking Dutch I have of course never read the Dutch version of the book by Harry Mulisch known as The Assault. (I think that it should have been titled The Assassination in englsh.)
    Towards the end of the book, in the eglsih language version, Anton is doing a puzzle in which he needs to write a 6 letter word which is the Sun God Ra’s vague definition of ruins. He can not think of the answer. I think that it is on the second to the last page we comes up with the answer, ravage.
    How many liberties did the translator take when writing this in english?
    Surely Mulisch had a purpose in including this in his book. I can not figure out what it is though. Could the translation have distorted his intent?
    Maybe I just need to ponder the riddle longer.

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    • Hi Curt, there is also nothing in the English translation that suggests that Ploeg is anything other than a collaborator cop who had to be stopped from killing more people. As for the title being The Assasination, no, that would be a bad idea, because it’s about an assault, not just on Ploeg, but on the country, on everyone who lived through the occupation, then and still. Yes, ravage is not an often used word in English, as a noun at least. What is meant is damage, mess, ruin, like the damage done during the war.

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  2. I guess we will have to agree to disagree about Ploeg being a double agent.
    His son figured out after the war that his father was a double agent and followed in his footsteps.
    Your interpretation is based on common sense expirience. Most normal people would maintain the pósition that you hold. You are reading what is written rather than reading between the lines.
    A normal person would assume that when Anton meets Fake Ploeg Jr. in 1956 that Fake is being on the level with Anton when he talks about his life.
    But there is a telling clue, a freudian slip to be percise, during his time in Anton’s apartment. That is when he throws the rock at the mirror. if Ploeg was really the fanatical anti communist that he was pretending to be he would not have thrown the rock at the mirror. He broke the mirror because he could not stand the image of himself that world was allowed to see. at that heated moment he was extremely frustrated that he could not tell Aanton the truth about his father or about himself because that would put the lives of true visionaries at risk.
    The discipline of Fake was rewarded. The intellegence gathering operation that he was part of spread internationally.
    The discipline of Harry Mulisch was rewarded as well. Many people have written books claiming to be true that are really works of fiction. Harry Mulisch is the first to write a work of fiction that is much more true than that witch is reported on FOX, CNN, or BBC. Because of his efforts one Alien remained with the world when all the others had given up and left. Sadly one will probably not be enough In the end everything will likely be forgotten. At ths point it seems that a camel has a better chance to pass through the eye of a needle than humanity has of surviving the 21st century.
    I must say that I was not aware that ravage could be used as a noun. I still wonder how this part of book was wrttien in Dutch though as the Dutch translations of the word ravage that I just looked up do not have 6 letters.
    Understanding this clue could lead to the discovery of heaven.

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