Thursday, October 20, 2011

Transtromer Squabble

Tomas Transtromer was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature this month. In recognition of the event, the editors of the Times Literary Supplement dredged out of their archives an interesting dispute which followed their publication (in 2007) of a review by Alan Brownjohn of Robin Robertson's versions of Transtromer's poems. Two weeks after the review appeared, a the Scottish poet Robin Fulton accused Robinson of doing a manqué job, and what's worse, of borrowing "excessively" from his own translations: "An excessively large number of Robertson's lines are identical to mine in my Transtromer translations... His versions are neither dependable translations nor independent imitations: they show a cavalier disregard for Transtromer's texts and I have yet to see a reviewer able or willing to say so." The exchange which ensued touches on many touchy topics -- whether a poet should translate work from a language she or he does not know, or know well; whether the use of another's work constitutes allusion, appropriation or theft; and so on.

Monday, October 17, 2011

"The Matter with Words", a talk with Tim Parks

If you're near Kenmore Square in Boston tomorrow, the ASLCW invites you to claim at seat in library conference room of the BU Editorial Institute at 5:15 for a talk with novelist and translator Tim Parks.

Born in Manchester in 1954, Tim Parks studied at Cambridge and Harvard before moving permanently to Italy in 1981. Author of three bestselling books on Italy, plus a dozen novels, including the Booker short-listed Europa, he has translated works by Moravia, Calvino, Calasso and, most recently, Machiavelli. While running a post-graduate degree course in translation at IULM University, Milan, he writes regularly for the LRB and the NYRB. His non-fiction works include Translating Style, a literary approach to translation problems; Medici Money, an account of the relation between banking, the Church and art in the 15th century; and, most recently, Teach Us to Sit Still.

That's 5:15 p.m., The Editorial Institute, 143 Bay State Road, Boston University.