Course Overview

4 Aug



This course is both a seminar on the theory of literary translation and a workshop in which we will share, revise and refine our own translations‐in‐progress. We will read and discuss the major theoretical texts that make up the field of translation studies, including works by Dryden, Schleiermacher, Goethe, Benjamin, Jakobson, Borges, Heidegger, Steiner, Berman, Derrida, Spivak and Apter and reflect on the recent trends in the field toward the politics and ethics of translation. In our discussions, we will consider questions of translatability, fidelity, the hierarchical division between original texts and their translations, and the charged politics of translation. Throughout the semester, we will compare different translations of literary texts in order to examine how each version works and discuss how translators make decisions of language, style, format, and cultural equivalency. We will also hear from several guest translators throughout the semester. At the end of the term, each student will prepare a final paper, which may be either a literary or theoretical analysis or an original translation accompanied by a critical translator’s introduction. The prerequisites for this class include a demonstrable knowledge of a language other than English.


John Biguenet and Rainer Schulte, eds., The Craft of Translation (1989)

Rainer Schulte and John Biguenet, eds., Theories of Translation: An Anthology of Essays from Dryden to Derrida (1992)

Efrain Kristal, Invisible Work: Borges and Translation (2002)

Suzanne Jill Levine, The Subversive Scribe: Translating Latin American Fiction (1991)

Emily Apter, The Translation Zone (2005)

Raúl Zurita, Purgatory (trans. Anna Deeny, 2010)

a course reader and workbook of translations


If you are a student in this course, please visit Sakai for our university course webpage.