Fall 2024


9am - 11:45am

CompLit 108X: Translating the World

Ursula Deser Friedman

What role does literary translation play in world-making? What is (un-)translatability? How does the reader determine the “fidelity” of a translation by mediating between author and translator? How might we use the paradigm of self-translation to unravel hierarchies in Translation Studies? In what sense is the source text already a translation? This course uses cases of literary translation and transmediation into and out of modern China, Taiwan, and Latin America to explore the history, theory, and aesthetics of global literary translation and intertextual adaptation. Adopting a transcultural perspective, we will identify key aesthetic and conceptual issues in the field of Translation Studies and explore their implications for politics, canon formation and linguistic evolution. Readings will include selections from Jorge Luis Borges, Susan Bassnett, Itamar Even-Zohar, Andre Lefevere, Suzanne Jill Levine, Efrain Kristal, Emily Apter, Eugene Nida, Gregory Rabassa, Susan Bernofsky, and Yan Fu. We will bridge theory and practice through role-plays, self-translations, podcasts, prize committee deliberations, and a Translate-a-Thon. This course will culminate in a roundtable conference in which students present and workshop their own (collaborative) translations and multimedia adaptations. Source texts of all languages and media are welcomed, though all translations and adaptations will be into English.
Prerequisite: Students must be conversant in at least one non-English language (both written and oral forms).

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