Closure of Conference project. Post-Conference Plans

Many many thanks to everyone who participated in the conference, to all those who presented papers, read their poetry or translations, contributed to discussions or just came to listen.

This blog will remain open as a record of the conference proceedings and will continue to include the programme, the abstracts of the presentations and the short biographies of the participants.

We have removed the conference papers from this site because we intend to include revised versions in a post-conference book. This book will not be a representation of the conference proceedings as such, however, but a volume of articles roughly reflecting the structure of the conference. The book will be edited by Ursula Philips, supported by a team of advisers (Urszula Chowaniec, Knut Andreas Grimstad, Kris Van Heuckelom and Elwira Grossman). It is expected that the volume will appear in 2013.

Should anyone wish to contact the authors of papers or read the original papers, please contact the conference organizer.

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Mira Rosenthal, Stanford University

Czesław Miłosz as a Translator of Contemporary Poetry

Anglophone readers of Czesław Miłosz’s poetry and prose have always lacked a sufficient narrative of his career. Even now, much of his early poetry is unavailable in English, and various English-language prose volumes collect essays that were originally distant in date of composition and intellectual framing. The chronological reach of this paper suggests that Miłosz indeed developed as a writer (of poetry, essays, fiction, and translations) and that his lifelong practice of translating the work of other writers (their poems, essays, plays, and translations) had everything to do with this development. In telling the story of how Miłosz’s translations of Polish and American poetry came about during the years he lived in the United States—from his early translations of American poets and his first forays into self-translation to anthologies of translation he put together with his own commentaries later in life—this paper helps us understand the evolution of his thinking about translation and the shifting relationship between English and Polish literatures from the 1960s into the 21st century. His ideas about translation do not constitute a unified theory that can be divorced from its development, and his various translation projects are not a stable body of work to be evaluated for fidelity. Rather, ideas change over time and translations have different consequences in new locations. As political realities shifted during these years, so too Miłosz’s choices as a translator circumscribed an ever increasing and more complex comprehension of the interplay between minor and major languages. This paper teases out the conceptual capital latent in this narrative.