Thèmes et perspectives littéraires et culturels. VT: Literary translation between English and French

FRIT-F375 — Fall 2024

Eric MacPhail
BH 139
Days and Times
MW 11:30A-12:45P
Course Description

Variable Title: Literary Translation Between English and French
Prerequisite: FRIT-F 300

The renowned 19th-century French poet Charles Baudelaire translated into French several short stories by the once renowned 19th-century American poet and prose writer Edgar Allen Poe (known for some reason as Edgar Poe in France). In 1971 the American professor of French W.T. Bandy (who left his name in the stacks of the Vanderbilt University library) came out with a bilingual (Poe-Baudelaire) edition of seven stories, entitled Seven Tales (Schocken, 1971). In this experimental course, we will read these seven tales and their translations as an introduction to literary translation, which is both an academic discipline and a métier. The course should appeal to students of language and literature, as well as to those contemplating the prospect of working as literary translators.

The format will be more of a workshop than a lecture class. There are 15 weeks in the semester, of which the first will serve as introduction, the next nine will be devoted to reading and discussing the seven stories and their translations (two of which are fairly long), and the last 5 weeks are reserved for the students first to read and discuss and then to write their own English translation of Baudelaire’s only known original short story, La Fanfarlo (occupying 27 pages in the Pléiade edition). To begin with, the students will identify and comment on the difficulties (linguistic and cultural) of Poe’s stories, and the strategies Baudelaire uses (or the evasions he practices) to render these difficulties. In the final stage, while writing their translations (of a hitherto untranslated text), the students will have ample opportunity to interact with each other and with the professor for extensive critique of their writing. The students should develop some good habits in the use of language reference works, of which there is no shortage online or in print in IUCAT. During the last five weeks of the semester we will visit the Lilly Library to view the papers of literary translators and hear from their curator. Translation was the specialty of the former director of the Lilly, Breon Mitchell, long time Comp Lit prof here at IU, and Poe seems to have been one of his favorites.

FRIT-F 375  #30864       11:30A-12:45P         MW          BH 139        Prof. Eric MacPhail

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The full details of this course are available on the Office of the Registrar website.

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