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Full text of "I And Thou"

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But the pioneer work of Buber will in any event remain
a classic.
The inadequacy of a translation to do more than hint
at the power of the original is specially noticeable with
a poetical *work of this kind.   Footnotes might have
helped to explain a word or two, or indicate nuances of
the German which the English has lost;  but, though
the word might have been explained, the impact .of the
argument  would have been  dissipated  rather than
strengthened.   The text stands therefore without any
commentary.   To the reader who finds the meaning
obscure at a first reading we may only say that I and
Thou is indeed a "poem.   Hence it must be read more
than once, and effect allowed to work on the1
mind;  the obscurities of one part (so far as they are
real obscurities, and not the effect, as they must often
be, of poor translation) will then be illumined by the
brightness of another part.   For the argument is not
as it were horizontal, but spiral ; it mounts, and gathers
within itself the aphoristic and pregnant utterances of
the earlier part.
I have to thank many friends and helpers for advice
given at various points, in particular Frau Dr. Elisabeth
Botten, of Saanen, Switzerland, who repaired a little
of the havoc I wrought at points with the original text,
and most of all Dr. Buber himself, whose courteous and
encouraging help lightened my task considerably.
B. G. S.