Th 2-5 4104 Dwinelle Instructor: Robert Alter
The course will be conducted as a workshop in literary translation. Each student will have a translation project for the semester, which may be from any literature, any historical period, and any genre. Each week, two of the participants in the seminar will circulate specimens of their work, and the class session will be devoted to discussion of their translations in what will amount to collaborative work. There are no secondary readings. Underlying the course is a conviction that translation is an essential activity for any student of literature and especially of comparative literature. There is no process like grappling with issues of translation, sentence by sentence and line by line, for the discovery of the nature of literary expression in all its minute details. Some students in this course in the past have ended up actually publishing translations, but even for those with no aspiration to become translators, these discussions should meaningfully enhance their understanding of literature.