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Wednesday, May 3, 2017


So I get the idea of working on translations of Machado.  Soon, I discover that there are many of them, and so the resulting article would be too long for an article.  Maybe a chapter of a book. Then I think I can combine this with a related critique of Venuti and of Rothenberg's translations of Lorca's Suites.  Soon, a book is forming in my head. Then I remember that I had planned a book on translation a while back, so I have been working on it without knowing it.  Ideas come thick and fast, all from looking at some small details in how translators get Machado wrong.

Then I think I could do a chapter on Longfellow. He was the major translator from the Spanish in the 19th century. Bryant also could come into play.  Futzing around on the computer for a while makes the ideas flow fast and thick.  It is rather frightening, actually, since a lot of it happened when I was sick (just a cold but one that wiped me out for anything but scholarship.).

Longfellow is very interesting. Once you liberate yourself from the obvious prejudice: that unlike Poe, Whitman, and Dickinson, he is not a precursor to modernism but a man of his own time and somewhat of a middlebrow.  Well, yes.  But he carries forward the German romantic project of worldliterature better than anyone of his day.

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