Ferit Edgü, translated from the Turkish by Aron Aji
A canonical Turkish author, poet, and visual artist, Ferit Edgü has been writing for more than sixty years. He is best known for his extremely spare narrative style and austere language. A master of distillation, Edgü is after the most elemental about the stories he tells, giving no extraneous exposition or description, relying mainly on dramatic monologues or dialogues, and packing voice, point of view, and tone with maximum narrative energy. It is possible to read the vignettes that comprise “Minimal Tales” as aphorism or parables, as prose poetry, or as flash fiction (albeit produced well before the genre had gained currency). However characterized, Edgü’s writing always seeks to tell the most in the sparest form, with the least verbal spectacle.
Translation as a Condition of Life: The Millions Interviews Aron Aji
Jianan Qian, Aron Aji
Before I took the translation workshop with Aron Aji at the University of Iowa, I had translated two novels from English to Chinese. Literary translation struck me as hard labor, often times low paying. But Aji’s class turned out to be a life-changing experience for me.
The Cambridge Companion to J. M. Coetzee, 6 - Translations from Part II - Relations
J. M. Coetzee has several points of contact with translation: as a translator, as a translated author, and as a critic and scholar. After discussing Coetzee’s relationship to languages and language learning, this chapter briefly analyses two of Coetzee’s translations from Afrikaans, of The Expedition to the Baobab Tree by Wilma Stockenström and of ‘Eden’ by Ina Rousseau, before reflecting on Coetzee’s views of translation expressed directly in ‘Working with Translators’ and indirectly in sections of Diary of a Bad Year as well as Coetzee’s occasional writings on Samuel Beckett. The chapter finishes with a consideration of the impact of translation on Coetzee’s prose style.
World News, World Novel, World Image: On Edouard Levé’s Newspaper (2004, 2015)
Suicide cannot be read as simply another novel—it is, in a sense, the author's own oblique, public suicide note, a unique meditation on this most extreme of refusals. Presenting itself as an investigation into the suicide of a close friend—perhaps real, perhaps fictional—more than twenty years earlier, Levé gives us, little by little, a striking portrait of a man, with all his talents and flaws, who chose to reject his life, and all the people who loved him, in favor of oblivion. Gradually, through Levé's casually obsessive, pointillist, beautiful ruminations, we come to know a stoic, sensible, thoughtful man who bears more than a slight psychological resemblance to Levé himself. But Suicide is more than just a compendium of memories of an old friend; it is a near-exhaustive catalog of the ramifications and effects of the act of suicide, and a unique and melancholy farewell to life.
[it] shakes my whole breathing being: Rethinking Gender with Translation in Anne Carson’s “A Fragment of Ibykos Translated Six Ways”
Adrienne K. H. Rose
Anne Carson’s “A Fragment of Ibykos Translated Six Ways” expresses new possibilities for the contemporary retranslation of ancient Classical texts. My article argues that Carson’s powerful, ground-shifting retranslation enlists significant procedural constraints to offer a progressive re-reading of the heteronormative, conventionally gendered garden in Ibykos Fragment 286. Carson retranslates Fragment 286 six times using only vocabularies from selected topical and literary source texts with contexts remote from the original. As a result, vocabularies and scenarios shift—from Romantic love to microwave operations—but the structural and rhetorical gestures of the fragment are retained. Conventional gender roles are not merely reversed nor is the garden simply transformed. Carson’s six versions transcend the emphasis on gendered textual signals by leaving gender aside to investigate performative reading and translation practices more closely.
Re-Thinking Gender in Reading
Edited by Sabine Gölz
This special issue of Konturen (Vol 10, 2019) calls for renewed attention to the study of reading, long neglected in literary studies. It calls for a re-conceptualization of our interactions with writing, texts, and literary language—for a radical reorientation of what we read for. As we wake up to our difference from the text, we rediscover possibilities that we have habitually overlooked. Some central assumptions emerge: Writing is an apparatus that harnesses its readers – us. We may think that we use it, but the reverse is just as true: it uses us. Especially important are figurative, rhetorical, and mostly subliminal dimensions by which literary language interpellates us, lines us up according our identifications, and lures us into mimesis, into mechanically conforming to the constellations it prefigures. Gendered signals are central to this, because they elicit particularly mechanical and predictable responses. Writing promotes its own interests—not ours. But writing is also fundamentally incomplete. It needs the living to reproduce itself. This realization is profoundly liberating: if we read ourselves as not in the text, as the very site of the incompletion of writing, we abandon the failed project of representation and wake up in (and to) the Spielraum (space for play, leeway), in and as the ground of language. Here and now, we can begin to work towards re-configuring the language we have inherited.