Women in Translation and Women Translators

I offer here some of my favorite women authors in translation from a variety of languages and periods of time. They are in no particular order:

Teffi, Memories: From Moscow to the Black Sea translated by Robert Chandler and Anne Marie Jackson

Karoline von Gunderrode, Poetic Fragments translated by Anna C. Ezekiel

Christa Wolf, Medea translated by John Cullen (I also highly recommend Cassandra and The Quest for Christa T. but her Medea is my favorite.)

Clarice Lispector, Near to the Wild Heart translated by Alison Entrekin (I have enjoyed all of the Lispector I’ve read but this one is my favorite)

Bae Suah, Recitation translated by Deborah Smith

Simone de Beauvoir, Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter translated by James Kirkup

Friederike Mayröcker, Requiem for Ernst Jundl translated by Roslyn Theobald

Sappho. I like Ann Carson’s stark translations in If Not, Winter. But here are some links to my own translations that I’ve worked on this year: Fragment 16 and The Tithonus Poem

Sulpicia. Unfortunately she is an obscure Roman poet who is overlooked. The only translations of her that I have encountered are those included in the Catullus and Tibullus Loeb edition. For a previous WIT month I did a translation of her Carmen XIII.

For this year I offer my own translation of Sulpicia’s Carmen XIV “Before her Birthday.” She wants to stay in Rome where her lover, Cerinthus, dwells and celebrate her birthday with him, but her uncle has other plans for her:

My dreaded birthday has arrived, which sad event
must be spent in the tiresome country without my
Cerinthus. What is more pleasant than the city? Do I
look like a girl who is only fit to hang around some
country house, or the cold river in the Arrentium fields?
Quit thinking about me so much, Uncle Messala. Travel
is so often badly timed. You can take me away from
the city, but since your force does not allow me
to make my own decisions, I can at least choose to
leave behind my soul and my feelings.

I know August is dedicated to female authors who are translated into English, but what about female translators themselves? Charlotte Mandell’s translation of Enard’s Compass, Shelley Frisch’s translation of Stach’s three volume Kafka biography, and Sophie Wilkins’s translation of Musil’s A Man without Qualities are two wonderful examples that come to mind…

8 Comments

Filed under Classics, French Literature, German Literature, Literature in Translation, Poetry, Russian Literature

8 responses to “Women in Translation and Women Translators

  1. Good call to pick out the translators, too, and what a great poem!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Interesting list, and thanks for adding your own translation! And very good point about the woman translators – Jennifer Croft springs to mind, but another favourite is Joanne Turnbill who’s wonderfully translated Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky. So many talented people out there!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. alilauren1970

    Oh, I love this post! And there is just so much I want to read. I’ve got Compass and Medea on my TBR pile. Also I purchased Ovid’s Heroides (I know that’s not related to this post, but I wanted to mention it because the classicist in you will appreciate this, I think), and I am so looking forward to reading it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh Ovid’s Heroides are wonderful. I’ve always though it remarkable that he could write from the female point if view. My favorite is the letter from Briseis to Achilles!

      Compass and Medea are both terrific! Lots of great reading ahead of you!

      Like

  4. Liz

    such an interesting list, Melissa, thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

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