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Challenges of Translation in French Literature

Studies and Poems in Honour of Peter Broome

Richard Bales

In celebrating the academic career and practice of a distinguished scholar of French literature, this volume concentrates on one of Peter Broome’s major preoccupations and attainments: translation. Eschewing a dogmatic, theoretical approach, the contributors (former colleagues and students) tackle four rich areas of study: modern anglophone poets’ reactions to, and translations of, authors with whom they have closely identified (Racine, the Symbolists, Saint-John Perse, Valéry); problematics of translating specific poets of recent centuries (Rimbaud, Mallarmé, Valéry, Césaire, some contemporary poets); reception and interaction in two foreign countries (Australia, Spain); and a more fluid interpretation of translation, moving the notion across into wider realms of literary expression (Mallarmé, Proust, Assia Djebar). A focalising feature, punctuating the volume, are Peter Broome’s own translations of hitherto unpublished poems by five major contemporary French writers: Jean-Paul Auxeméry, Marie-Claire Bancquart, Louise Herlin, Vénus Khoury-Ghata and Jean-Charles Vegliante. The book thus intertwines theory and practice in a non-prescriptive manner which invites further elaboration and analysis.
Contents: Richard Bales: Introduction – John Campbell: The poetry of the untranslatable: Racine’s Phèdre confronted by Hughes and Lowell – Graham Chesters: Tireless play: speculations on Larkin’s ‘Absences’ – Roger Little: Poet and poet face to face: reflections on two recent translations by Derek Mahon – Gerald M. Macklin: ‘Je réservais la traduction’: decoding Rimbaud’s ‘Dévotion’ – Rosemary Lloyd: The parts translators try to reach – Paul Gifford: Translating the spirituality of Absence: Valéry’s ‘Station sur la terrasse’ – Michael Bishop: Seven contemporary poets and the sujet poétique – Wallace Kirsop: Baudelaire’s readers, commentators and translators in Australia around 1900 – Terence McMullan: Trading places: crazy years of cultural exchange in Paris and Madrid – John McCann: Mallarmé and the art of celebration – Richard Bales: Proust’s theories of translation – Angela Chambers: Nativism and hybridity in Aimé Césaire’s poetic vision – Edward J. Hughes: ‘Sous un signe double’: language and identity in Assia Djebar’s L’Amour, la fantasia – Poems by: Jean-Paul Auxeméry, Marie-Claire Bancquart, Louis Herlin, Vénus Khoury-Ghata and Jean-Charles Vegliante and their translations by Peter Broome.