The Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize for a Translation of a Scholarly Study of Literature is awarded every second year by the Modern Language Association, and this year it has gone to poet, essayist and translator Pierre Joris, who translates from French as well as German, and has worked on and translated the poetry of the great Paul Celan for many years: including the volumes Breathturn, Lightduress, Threadsuns and Selections as well as the forthcoming Collected Later Poems of Paul Celan. And now Joris has been awarded the Scaglione Prize for his translation of Celan’s important poetological work The Meridian, which is generally regarded as a crucial piece of reading on the impact of the Holocaust on the world of letters.
Here’s what the jury had to say about their choice:
Paul Celan’s The Meridian was originally delivered as an acceptance speech to the German Academy for Language and Poetry, which had honored him in 1960 wi th its Georg Büchner Prize for Literature. It ranks as its author’s most powerful statement concerning the mysterious but powerful bond between poetry and life. Writing in the shadow of the Holocaust, Celan asks how our words and our art should deal with h uman violence and depravity. Richly supplemented with extensive notes and critical commentaries, Pierre Joris’s meticulous translation dramatically demonstrates why The Meridian stands as one of twentieth – century literature’s seminal documents.
For more information on both prize and recipient, see the MLA’s press release.
Bravo and congratulations, Pierre!