The World As India

A map the size of the territory.

Borges’s idea of “a map the same size as the territory” is here applied to a book. The content and the index approach each other from opposite ends of the structure, meeting at the center spread. From the front, text is gradually obscured by proliferation of images. Index reveals obscured text.


In the era when it is proposed that computers – “translating machines” – will soon be able to perform most translating tasks, what we call literary translation perpetuates the traditional sense of what translation entails. The new view is that translation is the finding of equivalents; or, to vary the metaphor, that a translation is a problem, for which solutions can be devised. In contrast, the old understanding is that translation is the making of choices not simply between the stark dichotomies of good and bad, correct and incorrect, but among a more complex dispersion of alternatives, such as “good” versus “better” and “better” versus “best,” not to mention such impure alternatives as “old-fashioned” versus “trendy,” “vulgar” versus “pretentious,” and “abbreviated” versus “wordy.”

“The World As India” by Susan Sontag


Publication: “The World As India” by Susan Sontag, The Times Literary Supplement, June 13, 2003
Date: Fall 2003
Design: Elena Grossman
Project: Book design with digital color collage for facing pages

By Elena Grossman

Elena Grossman is an artist and educator practicing visual art, graphic design, and programming for exhibition spaces, print, and screen media. Learn more about Elena