Couple more days of ALTA to preview, to help all of you decide which panels you might want to attend. Today we’ll highlight all of Friday’s events, cover Saturday on Monday, and then do all the special events and readings on Tuesday. It’s unbelievable that after a year of preparing for this conference, it’s finally almost here . . .
Friday, October 4th
9:00 – 10:15 am
Roundtable: The Routine of Translation: Strategies, Habits & Everyday Life
This roundtable brings together five or six ALTA members who have other professional commitments (teaching, editing, publishing), but still manage to remain productive as literary translators. The guiding question for the roundtable is a simple one: how do we make time for literary translation in the face of our other duties, especially when translation rarely pays well and often doesn’t “count” as scholarship at academic institutions? The panelists will speak about the practical aspects of planning their workday, and their insights will no doubt fascinate those of us who constantly scramble to make time for our own translation projects.
Jamie Olson | Sean Cotter | Sibelan Forrester | Bill Johnston | Erica Mena | Russell Valentino
Translating the Transition: History & Humor in Post-Communist Literature
This panel will explore the issues surrounding the translation of Eastern European literature written after 1989, and will especially focus on the themes of historical representation and humor. The panelists will refer to recently completed translations or to works in progress.
Magdalena Mullek: “East Meets West in the Backwoods of Slovakia: Culture Clashes in Lukáš Luk’s Považský Sokolec Tales”
Julia Sherwood: “Deep in the Heart of Europe: The Debunking of Slovak Nationalism in the Works of Pavel Vilikovský and Daniela Kapitáňová“
Peter Sherwood: “Transylvania and Other Troubles: Diversions and Subversions in Noémi Szécsi’s The Finno-Ugrian Vampire”
Alex Zucker: “Tradition Shmadition: Patrik Ouředník’s Attempts to Puncture Czech Provincialism.”
Janet Livingstone: “Socialism through a Child’s Eyes: Absurdistan Revealed”
10:45 am – 12:00 pm
Words on Music & the Music of Words
When the subject of poetry or fiction is musical experience, the writer is often moved to use special features to evoke that experience. Such features may include nomatopoeia, pacing, structural elements such as repetition, and patterns of rhythm or sound—all devices that can pose tough challenges for a translator. Of course, writers also use highly musical language for other purposes, such as the rendering of exceptionally lively speech or thought. The panelists will present examples of both types of writing and will discuss how they tackled the challenges these texts presented.
Carolyn Tipton: “Music in Alberti’s Chopin”
Stephen Kessler: “Luis Cernuda, Poet as Pianist”
Suzanne Jill Levine: “If Language Be Music, Play On”
Roger Greenwald: “The Peacock Dance and the Prince of Madrigals”
Humor & Its (Dis)Constraints
This roundtable will make a foray into the realm of translating texts that were written under constraint—and also happen to be funny. Despite translation guides that counsel against parsing humor (and translating it), the discussants will undertake to do just that. We will speak about translating humorous texts while replicating their constraints. After all, to paraphrase one translator, rendering a sonnet in free verse would be like sculpting the Venus de Milo in wet sand. We will also give particular emphasis to translating works written under Oulipian constraint.
Rachel Galvin | Camille Bloomfield | Jordan Stump | Pablo Martín Ruiz
And remember, you can download the entire schedule here.
Many of Virginie Despentes’s books revolve around the same central idea: “To be born a woman [is] the worst fate in practically every society.” But this message is nearly always packaged in easy-to-read books that fill you with the pleasure. . .
Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer’s La Superba is appropriately titled after the Italian city of Genoa, where, after escaping the pressures of fame in his own country, the semi-autobiographical narrator finds himself cataloguing the experiences of its mesmerizing inhabitants with the intention. . .
It took reading 44 pages of Intervenir/Intervene before I began to get a sense of what Dolores Dorantes and Rodrigo Flores Sánchez were up to. Recurring throughout these 44 pages—throughout the entire book—are shovels, shovel smacks to the face, lobelias—aha!. . .
As presaged by its title, contradiction is the theme of Peter Stamm’s novel, All Days Are Night. Gillian, a well-known television personality, remains unknowable to herself. And Hubert, a frustrated artist and Gillian’s lover, creates art through the process of. . .
It’s a rare and wonderful book that begins and ends with violence and humor. At the start of Etgar Keret’s The Seven Good Years, Keret is in a hospital waiting for the birth of his first child while nurses, in. . .
Last year, Han Kang’s The Vegetarian was an unexpected critical hit. Now, it’s just been published in the U.S. and has already received a great deal of positive critical attention. The Vegetarian was a bold book to attempt as an. . .
It’s been almost a year since the publication of Nowhere to Be Found by Bae Suah, but despite being included on the 2015 PEN Translation award longlist, and some pretty vocal support from key indie presses, the book has. . .
Jorge Eduardo Benavides’ novel La paz de los vencidos (The Peace of the Defeated) takes the form of a diary written by a nameless Peruvian thirty-something intellectual slumming it in Santa Cruz de Tenerife in Spain’s Canary Islands. Recently relocated. . .
Anyone with any interest at all in contemporary Moroccan writing must start with Souffles. A cultural and political journal, Souffles (the French word for “breaths”) was founded in 1966 by Abdellatif Laâbi and Mostafa Nissabouri. Run by a group of. . .
Randall Jarrell once argued a point that I will now paraphrase and, in doing so, over-simplify: As a culture, we need book criticism, not book reviews. I sort of agree, but let’s not get into all of that. Having finished. . .