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Leiden Translation Talk 29 January: Translations of Greek Tragedy in the Work of Ezra Pound - Peter Liebregts

Wednesday 29 January 2020
The event starts at 15:00 hours sharp, so please be on time.
Leiden Translation Talks
Cleveringaplaats 1
2311 BD Leiden

Ezra Pound’s work as a translator has had an enormous impact on the theory and practice of translation, and continues to be a source of heated debate. Often these discussions focus on his idiosyncratic translations from the Chinese as in Cathay, or from Latin as in Homage to Sextus Propertius. Pound’s versions of Greek tragedy (Aeschylus’ Agamemnon, and Sophocles’ Elektra and Trachiniae) have received less attention, often due to the assumption that Pound was not competent enough to read Greek texts in the original. However, my Translations of Greek Tragedy in the Work of Ezra Pound (Bloomsbury 2019) demonstrates that Pound’s renderings are based on a careful reading of the source texts. It offers, for the first time, a detailed, on occasion line-by-line, from Greek to English philological analysis of Ezra Pound’s translations of Greek tragedy, while relating them to translations used by him, and contextualizing his versions with regard to the poet’s biography and his work, particularly The Cantos. This analysis incorporates new source material, such as Pound’s unpublished annotations in his Loeb edition of Sophocles, his unpublished correspondence with scholars such as F. R. Earp and Rudd Fleming, as well as manuscript versions and other as yet unpublished drafts and texts. 

In my talk I will discuss Pound’s general ideas about translation, the variety of his translational strategies, and how his translations relate to his oeuvre as a whole, before I will present particular examples from his two translations of Sophocles.

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