Forty-three translations of Hadrian’s “Animula, Vagula, Blandula”

coldewey:

imageWhile English translations of Latin necessarily miss somewhat the poetic intention of the original, the effort is still worth making, sometimes again and again for hundreds of years.

Hadrian’s paean to his departing soul, while its inherent quality is apparently suspect (according to the few who can say with authority), has nevertheless furnished scores of translations in English alone. Here are a good number, more than can be found elsewhere online, but fewer than are included in my primary source, an 1876 volume collecting over a hundred translations of varying quality by priests, scholars, and gentlemen who either knew Latin and translated therefrom Hadrian’s final composition, or recast it on their own by other means. They comprise an interesting study of the variety (and homogeneity) that emerges from the process of translation.

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On the Dearth of South Asian Translation in the US 
"It may be well be that South Asian translation is ignored by the majors because there’s plenty in English that “carries” India. But what about others who may not be so bound to fashion? There are academic presses as well as smaller publishers who specialize in translation. It’s worth remembering that before Bolaño and Knausgård were discovered by the majors, they were published by New Directions and Archipelago.”
Mahmud Rahman is writing a series for our blog discussing pertinent issues about the academic and publishing gaps and trends of non-English South Asian literature. High-res

On the Dearth of South Asian Translation in the US

"It may be well be that South Asian translation is ignored by the majors because there’s plenty in English that “carries” India. But what about others who may not be so bound to fashion? There are academic presses as well as smaller publishers who specialize in translation. It’s worth remembering that before Bolaño and Knausgård were discovered by the majors, they were published by New Directions and Archipelago.”

Mahmud Rahman is writing a series for our blog discussing pertinent issues about the academic and publishing gaps and trends of non-English South Asian literature.

Literature & Mathematics

Everybody is talking about the Fields Medal today, also known as the Nobel Prize for Mathematics. One of the winners this year, Maryam Mirzakhani, also happens to be the first woman to receive the prize in its history of nearly eight decades.

We are celebrating all things numerical by revisiting this beautiful article that appeared in our very first issue, ‘Literature and Mathematics' by the Japanese mathematician-essayist Masahiko Fujiwara, who says:

"It is impossible to put in words the intrinsic grace of a theorem. It is highly abstract and complex. I can only describe it as being akin to a perfect piece of music in which each note is irreplaceable or to a haiku in which no syllable can be changed. The beauty I speak of is like the exquisite tension that holds together aspects of a work of art; a fragile serenity that cements its perfection. And so the magnetic force that draws art—and therefore literature—to mathematics is the dignified beauty of its pure logic.”

The term “experimental” has taken on a negative connotation of difficult and uninteresting, and the goal of the mainstream houses is to make money, not to promote literature. And it’s true that some writing that is experimental is difficult and perhaps even bad. Experiments don’t always succeed. But some might be terrific and have the potential of becoming generally acceptable if not quite mainstream in the end. Take Joyce’s Ulysses, for instance. It was experimental at first and now it’s a classic. And in addition, not everything that is labeled experimental is experimental but, rather, innovative. The two terms are not synonymous, but enemies of innovation label everything that’s not commercial as experimental, thus barring its way to the general public. 


David Moscovich interviews Yuriy Tarnawsky for our July issue, read here. 
High-res

The term “experimental” has taken on a negative connotation of difficult and uninteresting, and the goal of the mainstream houses is to make money, not to promote literature. And it’s true that some writing that is experimental is difficult and perhaps even bad. Experiments don’t always succeed. But some might be terrific and have the potential of becoming generally acceptable if not quite mainstream in the end. Take Joyce’s Ulysses, for instance. It was experimental at first and now it’s a classic. And in addition, not everything that is labeled experimental is experimental but, rather, innovative. The two terms are not synonymous, but enemies of innovation label everything that’s not commercial as experimental, thus barring its way to the general public.

David Moscovich interviews Yuriy Tarnawsky for our July issue, read here.

Let There Be Translators!

When God confused our languages, he uttered,
in sapphire tones: ‘‘Let there be translators!’’
And there were conjurors and necromancers
and alchemists, but they did not suffice:
they turned trees into emeralds, pools to seas.

God spoke again: ‘‘Let there be carpenters
who fasten edges, caulk the seams, splice timbers.’’
They were good.
                 God said: ‘‘Blessed is the builder
who leaves his tower, turns from bricks and mortar
to marvel at the flames, the smith who fumbles
for prongs, wields andirons, and prods live coals,
who stokes the hearth and welds two irons as one.’’

Praised was the man who wrote his name in other
handwriting, who spoke in other tones,
who, knowing elms, imagined ceiba trees
and cypresses as though they were his own,
finding new music in each limitation.

Holy the one who lost his speech to others,
subdued his pen, resigned his failing sight
to change through fire’s change, until he saw
earth’s own fire, the radiant rock of words.

— Grace Schulman