Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Edith Grossman: Why Translation Matters

Why Translation Matters (Why X Matters Series)Anne Chudobiak reviews Edith Grossman's Why Translation Matters.
Grossman illustrates the power of this phenomenon, which she calls "multilingual fertilization," with a timeline of the modern novel. Four hundred years ago, Cervantes wrote Don Quixote, creating "the form and shape of modern fiction." It was almost immediately translated into English, where it changed the course of English literature, influencing writers, directly or indirectly, all the way to Faulkner, whose "sonorous, eloquent baroque style" is described as having "Cervantean resonances." These resonances apparently "felt familiar to Spanish-speaking readers," easing Faulkner's passage into Latin America during the post-Second-World-War era, where he was very popular in translation. García Márquez, who was such a big fan that he and his young family travelled through the American South by Greyhound in 1961 as a kind of artistic pilgrimage, incorporated some of Faulkner's techniques - Cervantean and otherwise - into his own writing. His novels were, in turn, translated into English, exerting a major influence on such big-name English-language authors as "Toni Morrison, Salman Rushdie, Don DeLillo, and Michael Chabon."
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Edith Grossman is a distinguished, prize-winning translator of major works by leading contemporary writers, including Gabriel García Márquez, Mario Vargas Llosa and Álvaro Mutis.

1 comment:

  1. Kudos on the blog - always a pleasure to look in on. Don't know if this crossed your path yet, but Chad Post of Open Letter Press also reviewed the book, for _The Quarterly Conversation_. It's an interesting read.