Translation Is Writing: Borges in/on Translation

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Memorial Union, Journey Room, 4:00 p.m.
Suzanne Jill Levine, University of California, Santa Barbara

This lecture illustrates how essential Borges’ broad understanding of translation was to his poetics and practices as a writer.  The implications of translation as a paradigm for reading, writing, and critical interpretation bear fruit not only in his numerous translations, but also in almost every essay, poem, review, prologue, and story he wrote from the 1920s through to the 1980s. Professor Levine will highlight those four essays whose principal theme is translation—“Las dos maneras de traducer” (1926), “Las versions homéricas” (1932), “Los traductores de las 1001 noches” (1936), and “El enigma de Edward Fitzgerald” (1951)—as well as his quintessential ficción, “Pierre Menard, Author of Don Quixote” (1939).

Suzanne Jill Levine is a leading translator of Latin American literature and professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where she directs a Translation Studies doctoral program. Her scholarly and critical works include her award-winning literary biography Manuel Puig and the Spider Woman (FSG and Faber & Faber, 2000) and her groundbreaking book on the poetics of translation, The Subversive Scribe: Translating Latin American Fiction (published in 1991 and reissued this year by Dalkey Archive Press, along with her classic translations of novels by Manuel Puig). Aside from her many volumes of translations of Latin American fiction and poetic works, she has contributed numerous essays and translations of prose and poetry to major anthologies and journals, including the New Yorker. Her many honors include NEA and NEH fellowship and research grants, the first PEN USA West Prize for Literary Translation (1989), the PEN American Center Career Achievement Award (1996), and a Guggenheim Foundation fellowship.  She has just completed a five-volume project as general editor of the works of Borges for Penguin Classics.

View Dr. Levine’s lecture.

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