It may be that the closest, most interpretative and creative reading of a text involves translating from one language to another. Questions of place, culture, epoch, voice, gender, and rhythm take on new urgency, helping us deepen our skills and sensibilities in new ways. The seminar has a triple focus: comparing and contrasting existing translations of a single work; reading translators on the the art and theory of translation; and the creation of your own translations. We will also consider translation as an act of bearing witness to cultural and political crisis, and as a means of encoding messages that would otherwise be censored.
You will have two options for a final project: a manuscript of original translations, accompanied by an introduction; or an extended literary essay on the issues at play in this course. You may work in any genre, from French, Spanish, Italian, or Portuguese.
Corequisite: Students will be required to attend Wednesday literary evenings and special Bennington Translates events.