Tag Archives: Literary translation

“La Signora Bovary” — Translator’s Note by Natalia Ginzburg

By Natalia Ginzburg Translated by Minna Zallman Proctor There are people who think that writers make the best translators. I don’t agree. Sometimes writers produce excellent translations, but not always. Translating a beloved text can be a nourishing, invigorating, and vital practice for a writer. As long as the writer thinks of it as a […]

On Humor, Eccentricity, and Sound in “Family Lexicon”: A Conversation with Ginzburg Translator Jenny McPhee

Jenny McPhee is an accomplished translator of Italian literature––she has translated works by Anna Banti, Anna Maria Ortese, Fausta Cialente, Natalia Ginzburg, Curzio Malaparte, and Primo Levi, among others. She received a Guggenheim fellowship in 2020. In this interview, which is part of the special issue “Reading Natalia Ginzburg,” we focus on her translation of Ginzburg’s 1963 novel Family Lexicon (Lessico […]

Translating Natalia Ginzburg’s “Voice That Says ‘I’” in the Twenty-First Century

By Eric Gudas For decades, no matter how many of my books sit boxed up in storage, I’ve always had a tattered photocopy of the chapter entitled “The End of the Affair,” from Natalia Ginzburg’s novel Voices in the Evening (1961) in the translation by D.M. Low first published in 1963 by Hogarth Press. This […]

Italo Calvino, “Natalia Ginzburg or the Possibilities of the Bourgeois Novel”

By Italo Calvino Translated from Italian by Stiilana Milkova and Eric Gudas Translators’ Introduction Natalia Ginzburg and Italo Calvino met in Turin in 1946, at the publishing house Einaudi where she was working as an editor and he would soon join the editorial staff. They became close friends and admired each other’s writing. In 1961, […]

Putting a Brave Face on Loneliness and Loss: Natalia Ginzburg’s “Family” and “Borghesia”

By Jeanne Bonner I do not think of Natalia Ginzburg as a sad figure or a writer of sad, tragic works. I’ve seen her in old interviews, and I’ve read her nonfiction work. Archival photos often show her smiling. She was not melodramatic. She did not seek pity or any kind of rapt attention beyond […]

“Reflecting Back”: Eric Sellin’s “The Magic Mirror of Literary Translation”

By Katherine Hedeen For those of us who translate poetry, any book that mentions the endeavor—and in the title no less—immediately sparks our interest. Poetry in translation is often lost (to play on Frost’s famous quip) in the shuffle of an exciting and well-deserved moment of recognition for literary translation. (Consider the recently revamped International […]

In Pursuit of Happiness in Nándor Gion’s “Soldier with Flower,” Translated from Hungarian by Zsuzsa Koltay

by Jozefina Komporaly Translation projects come about for various reasons, and these can include affinities with certain authors, artistic agendas or historical periods to name but a few. Wanting to raise the profile of a particular literary tradition is also a major motivator, and when this is coupled with the translator’s genuine passion for a […]

Translation as Nourishment: Translator Zsuzsa Koltay in Conversation with Béla Szegedi-Szabó

This is an excerpt from an interview with Zsuzsa Koltay whose translation from Hungarian of Nándor Gion’s Soldier with Flower came out in 2020. The interview was originally published in Hungarian and subsequently translated in English by Owen Good for Hungarian Literature Online. Many thanks to Owen for allowing us to run this excerpt. Reading […]

B-Sides and Rarities: “Fifty-Two Stories by Anton Chekhov,” Translated by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky

In short, this is not the “greatest hits” compilation we have come to expect from translated collections of short prose. The question becomes, then, what is it?

Art and Politics: María Negroni’s “The Annunciation,” translated by Michelle Gil-Montero

In this deeply philosophical, semi-autobiographical novel, acclaimed Argentine poet Negroni explores a question that has figured in her writing for decades: the relationship between the aesthetic and the ethical, the poetic and the political.

Writing Through Memory and Digging Through Secrets of the Past: Mykola Bazhan’s “Quiet Spiders of the Hidden Soul,” edited by Oksana Rosenblum, Lev Fridman, and Anzhelika Khyzhnia

The poems included in Quiet Spiders precede a tragedy in Ukrainian history, the Holodomor, or famine of 1932-1933, and the period known as the Executed Renaissance when a generation of Soviet writers and artists were wiped out by Stalin’s regime.

Nostalgia as Oblivion in Nelson Simòn’s “Itinerary of Forgetting,” Translated from Spanish by Lawrence Schimel

By Cal Paule It’s funny, but I forgot where I left my copy of this book. It’s lost for now, but luckily I have a pdf version. If, though, it were the memory of the exact color of my mother’s hair, or the angles of a roofline above my hometown, I might not be as […]

Marina and Me: Nina Kossman’s “Other Shepherds: Poems with Translations from Marina Tsvetaeva”

If you know Tsvetaeva well, it’s hard not to reconstruct the original mentally while reading the translation.

Translators and Their Ghosts: Iginio Ugo Tarchetti’s “Fantastic Tales,” Translated from Italian by Lawrence Venuti

Iginio Ugo Tarchetti’s Fantastic Tales (Archipelago Books, 2020) is a reprint of the 1992 original Mercury House edition translated from Italian by Lawrence Venuti, one of the most influential scholars of translation today.

Translating Silence: Giuseppe Ungaretti’s “Allegria,” translated from Italian by Geoffrey Brock

By Elena Borelli When translating Giuseppe Ungaretti’s first volume of poetry, originally published in 1919 and subsequently reissued in various editions, Geoffrey Brock has chosen to leave the title in the original Italian. The  translation of the word allegria as “merriment” or “mirth” would be misleading for the reader, especially because in the very first […]