The Craft of Translation

John Biguenet, Editor, Rainer Schulte, Editor University of Chicago Press $30 (170p) ISBN 978-0-226-04868-0
Perspicacious essays by nine wordsmiths carefully reconstruct the complex, highly elusive translation process. Stressing that the element of choice ``bedevils the translator as he seeks to approach the language he is working from as closely as possible,'' Gregory Rabassa ponders personal and cultural nuances, poetry, curses and oaths, and articles. Margaret Sayers Peden analyzes nine renditions, including her own, of a sonnet by Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz; Burton Raffel traverses medieval European poetry; John Felstiner probes the idiosyncratic, multi-tongued verse of Paul Celan, specifically where German gives way to Hebrew; and Edward Seidensticker navigates the roily waters of Japanese. Other fine pieces are by Christopher Middleton, William Weaver, Edmund Keeley and Donald Frame. As they balance fidelity and creativity, these translators emerge as eminently modest and reverent of the written word, and agile if hesitant conduits of rich bodies of foreign literature. Biguenet is an English professor at Loyola University in New Orleans; Schulte is editor of Translation Review. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 11/28/1989
Release date: 12/01/1989
Paperback - 153 pages - 978-0-226-04869-7
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