Charlotte Mandell On Translation


Photo: Robert Kelly

As I am thinking about what I can say about translation in 5 minutes for the opening panel of the Translation Symposium here at the University of Georgia (Athens) later today, I get an email from Charlotte Mandell, sending me to a splendid interview on translation she gave to Greta Aart and just published by the Emprise Review. Read it here.

And here as hors d’oeuvre a poem by the French poet, writer and translator Auxeméry translated by Charlotte Mandell (also in that same Review):

Ibn Battuta speaks and says

I the Moor the Stranger the Shadow
on the steps of the known, I visited
the violet city and the great wall

then I said the words, having also
followed the lines that pronounce the foam
of the sea on the shores the most secret
the ones most stifled by sun and salt

I the Shadow have visited the dark
land of Blacks burned by light
and by wind loaded with sand
they appeared like new signs
that first my footsteps then my mouth
transcribed, the hand of the scribe
was breathing under dictation

in the procession of Sijilmassa I met
this image which was returning from this country
where I was going in front of myself
on the way back now I meet a man
who is leaving the place I’m returning from in search
of myself and
“I am you” the Shadow tells me

fereshta-ye karîm

Excerpts from Fire Shadows, Mandell’s unpublished translation (1990) of Jean-Paul Auxeméry’s le feu l’ombre (1987), courtesy of the author.

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