Literature IS Translation

Schools of Public Engagement: Humanities

Liberal Arts

Undergraduate Course

Degree Students

Literature IS Translation

Spring 2022

Taught By: Val Vinokur

Section: A

CRN: 10988

Credits: 3

This will consider not just the place of translation in literature but the idea that all literature is translation. Octavio Paz once claimed that “Baudelaire said poetry is essentially analogy... Between the language of the universe and the universe of language, there is a bridge, a link: poetry. The poet, says Baudelaire, is the translator.” And the philosopher and translator Franz Rosenzweig declared: “The true goal of the mind is translating: only when a thing has been translated does it become truly vocal.… The same holds true for translating person to person.” We will consider translation as a mode of 1) reading and interpretation; 2) constrained writing; 3) cultural contextualization and cross-pollination; and 4) pressing against the tension between linguistic idiom and literary idiosyncrasy. Throughout, we will ask the difficult question, posed by the Formalists, of what makes a text literary, and then we will think as a group about how this literariness can be represented beyond a text's original language. In addition to completing and discussing the readings—which may include works by Kafka, John Keene, Zora Neale Hurston, Isaac Babel, Borges, Clare Cavanagh, and others—students will contribute to the course by choosing one or more of the following kinds of assignments connected to the course topics: 1) an analytical, critical response; 2) a creative response, along with a critical reflection; and/or 3) a literary translation into English from a non-English language in which you are proficient, along with a brief introduction. We will spend part of our time workshopping these exercises (to be shared before class on the canvas discussion board), and the last several weeks of the semester presenting one of these options as an extended final project.

College: Schools of Public Engagement (NS)

Department: Humanities (NHUM)

Campus: New York City (GV)

Course Format: Seminar (R)

Max Enrollment: 21

Add/Drop Deadline: February 6, 2022 (Sunday)

Online Withdrawal Deadline: April 17, 2022 (Sunday)

Seats Available: Yes

Status: Closed*

* Status information is updated every five minutes. The status of this course may have changed since the last update. Open seats may have restrictions that will prevent some students from registering. Updated: 10:58pm 5/17/2022 EDT

Meeting Info:

Days: Monday

Times: 4:00pm - 5:50pm

Building: Johnson/Kaplan 66 West 12th

Room: 510

Date Range: 1/24/2022 - 5/16/2022