The first translation of the early volumes of A la recherche du temps perdu to Spanish (which was the first in the world) is now being challenged by new translations. The version by Pedro Salinas (1920, 1922) has prevailed over that by Julio Gómez de la Serna (1981), but it now must compete with those by Carlos Manzano (1999) and Mauro Armiño (2000). Using the ideas of Katharina Reiss (Translation CriticismThe Potentials and Limitations), I will assess these translations of the early volumes, as well as the three versions (1945-1946, 1952, and 1967-1969) of the later volumes in order to determine which are the most accurate and complete.
8:45-9:30am) - ALL
Novelist, poet, and essayist, 20th-century writer Raymond Queneau was also a translator, introducing the French to 20th-century American poetry and short stories and to novels by Edgar Wallace, Maurice O'Sullivan, Sinclair Lewis, George du Maurier, and Amos Tutuola. Last year's consideration of his translation of Sinclair Lewis' It Can't Happen Here showed that this was actually an adaptation, "improved" and tailored to French taste and to the French political situation in the 1930s. We now turn to novels from England and Nigeria. Did Queneau also adapt these works to his French audience? Or will we hear the voices of the individual writers and the echoes of their cultures?
(S, 10:00-10:45am) - ALL
Good opera librettos do not fully delineate character; they leave room for the music to do so. However, good librettists have always distinguished an individual character's speech in both style and register. Unfortunately, many opera translations into English make all characters sound alike, either because the translators do not have the skill to create varied registers or because they mistakenly believe that music alone is enough to distinguish characters. Two English translations, one by Andrew Porter and the other by Frederick Jameson, of speeches by three characters in Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen serve to illustrate the problem.
In the light of recent discussions of Ignazio Silone's reported collaboration with the fascist police in the 1920s, when he was a member of the Italian communist party, this presentation will analyze his three "Abruzzi novels" (Fontamara, Bread and Wine, and The Seed Beneath the Snow) for the light they shed on this issue. These novels are based on his experiences in the party. Originally appearing in 1930, 1937, and 1942 respectively, they were all revised after World War II. The pre-war and post-war versions will be compared in reference to this theme.
(S, 10:00-10:45am) - ALL
Jacques Stephen Alexis' third novel, L'espace d'un cillement (1959), takes place in Port-au-Prince during Holy Week in the spring of 1948. El Caucho (a Cuban exile) has just received a message that his friend, labor organizer Jesús Menéndez, was assassinated in January. La Niña Estrellita, a young Cuban prostitute at the Sensation Bar, hovers around El Caucho, seeking his identity and the reasons for his depression. Through a gradual process of sensory recognition, El Caucho and La Niña finally realize they knew each other as children Caribbean politics hovers in the background like the aroma of a rotting tropic fruit. This presentation will consider the lexical difficulties of the rich accumulation of sensory terminology and the connections with the political machinations that constitute the framework of this piece of fiction.
With an eye to France in particular and modern multicultural societies in general, Julia Kristeva in Strangers to Ourselves (1991) wonders whether the "foreigner," who was the "enemy" in primitive times, might just disappear from our modern societies. In literary translation this query often takes shape as a discussion pitting "domestication" against "foreignization." If to domesticate is to diminish or expurgate the strangeness of the source text, its alterity, what happens when the message wanders through multiple languages en route to an original form, even before it is considered for translation? What happens when languages of lesser diffusion (Guarani, Khmer, Kreyòl) stand in the text alongside those more pervasive, more historically influential means of linguistic exchange (English, French, Spanish, Vietnamese)? This presentation will try to explore such questions, playing off the Ni Je Ni Autre in the title as a point of departure.
Literary translation can give the translator levels of freedom not experienced in other forms of translation. It is an art form that requires much more than knowledge of the source and target languages. The literary translator must possess the soul, the imagination, and the creativity of a writer. The precious cargo created by the original author must be reshaped to fit a new culture while preserving the spirit of the original. The speaker will discuss one approach to this challenge.