COMP 401 Fall 2012 Senior Seminar: The Art of Translation

The famous proverb "traduttore, traditore" ("translator, traitor") was coined by angry Italian readers in the Renaissance who felt that French translations of Dante betrayed the accuracy or artistry of the original. However, the long-running debate around the validity of this warning points to a complex system of underlying assumptions and questions about the nature of literary art. Can a translator be faithful to an original text while also appealing to readers in the target language? Is literary translation an act of interpretation, explication, obfuscation, betrayal, or even transmutation? This course will explore the art, theory, and practice of translation from several perspectives. We will examine several key works in the history of translation across a range of eras and cultures, with particular attention to approaches that illuminate the intersection between translation and literary analysis, including short readings by Horace, Jerome, Caxton, Luther, Du Bellay, Dryden, Arnold, Benjamin, Buber, Borges, Jakobson, Nabokov, Steiner, Bassnett, Heaney, and others. At the same time, we will investigate the linguistic, cultural, and literary processes involved in the practice of translation through an ongoing workshop format that will incorporate a series of short exercises and a long-term project.
Class Format: seminar
Requirements/Evaluation: class participation, short written assignments, and a final translation project
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Prerequisites: one upper-level literature course or permission of instructor
Enrollment Preference: senior Comparative Literature and Literary Studies majors and other advanced students of foreign language and literature
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Divisional Attributes: Division I
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Enrollment Limit: 15
Expected Enrollment: 15
Class Number: 1382
COMP401-01(F) SEM Sr. Seminar:Art of Translation Division 1: Languages and the Arts Edan Dekel
MR 2:35 PM-3:50 PM Griffin 1 1382
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