From the 92nd St. Y: Reading Translations with Edith Grossman
From King David to Neruda
Reading Translations with Edith Grossman
“Translation always helps us to know, to see from a different angle, to attribute new value to what once may have been unfamiliar. As nations and as individuals, we have a critical need for that kind of understanding and insight. The alternative is unthinkable.”
—Edith Grossman, from Why Translation Matters
In this class, students will read and assess different translations of a literary work, ranging from biblical to contemporary texts. Discussions will focus on the choices made by different translators, and the implications of those choices for readers of English. Readings will include selections from the Psalms, Beowulf, Dante’s Divine Comedy and poetry by authors such as Neruda, Baudelaire, and Celan. The class, which meets for eight Thursday-evening sessions, starts February 16.
“Edith Grossman, the Glenn Gould of translators, has written a superb book on the art of the literary translation. Even Walter Benjamin is surpassed by her insights into her task, which she rightly sees as imaginatively independent,” writes Harold Bloom. Grossman is widely recognized as the preeminent Spanish-to-English translator of our time. She has translated works by Gabriel García Márquez, Mario Vargas Llosa, and Miguel de Cervantes. Her translation of Don Quixote is considered the definitive English translation.
Visit our blog for audio of Grossman’s thoughts on her translation of Góngoras “Solitudes.”