Archive for October 2014 – Page 2

Translation Symposium in Louisville, Oct. 16-17, 2014

Artist Ying Kit Chan’s adaptation of Wu Zhen’s The Heart Sutra in Cursive Script (14th c.), based on the Chinese translation attributed to Xuanzang (7th c.).

Artist Ying Kit Chan’s adaptation of Wu Zhen’s The Heart Sutra in Cursive Script (14th c.), based on the Chinese translation attributed to Xuanzang (7th c.).

Calling all translation fans within an easy driving radius of Louisville, Kentucky! The University of Louisville is putting on a symposium entitled Translation and the Global Humanities that brings together practicing literary translators and scholars of translation (sometimes in the same person) for two days of papers and discussion. There’ll be a pair of keynote lectures, one by Mary Louise Pratt (Translingualism and the Predicaments of Empire) and one by Esther Allen (The Man Between: Michael Henry Heim and the Humanities), joined by an impressive-looking lineup of speakers from Louisville and elsewhere; full program here. The symposium is open to the public free of charge (except for one event that involves a meal – there’s a modest fee for that one); to register to attend any or all of the symposium events, click here. In conjunction with the symposium, the Cressman Center for the Visual Arts at the University of Louisville is displaying work by Ying Kit Chan. There’ll also be a poetry reading by Kiki Petrosino.

My Coffee with Wally

shawn_wallace2Actually we just drank water, because we’re all too health-conscious these days to keep overcaffeinating all the time. I had invited Wallace Shawn to speak to my students at Columbia about his new translation of Ibsen’s 1892 play Bygmester Solness. It’s a really gorgeous translation that delves deep into the psychic lives of Ibsen’s characters and sketches their portraits in sharp chiaroscuro. At the same time, Shawn (himself a celebrated playwright as well as actor) makes some incisive adjustments to Ibsen’s play, tweaking both the framing of the story and a key plot twist, and I think his choices are extremely successful. The result (as captured on film by Jonathan Demme earlier this year) is a fascinating study in power struggles, aging, fantasy and love. I wanted the chance to speak in more depth with Shawn about his approach to the project, so asked if he would let me interview him. The record of our conversation has just been published by Public Books, so I invite you to hop on over and check out “Translating the Architecture of Desire: An Interview with Wallace Shawn.”