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Translating world literature: Japan and Russia
Thursday 6 March at 6pm for 6.30 start
Yasuko Hiraoka Myer Room, Sidney Myer Asia Centre (1st floor)
761 Swanston Street
AALITRA is delighted to present talks by two eminent literary translators:
Translating Medieval Japanese Epic and Theatre
Since medieval Japanese cannot accommodate narrative verse, the epic Tale of the Heike appears to be in prose. However, most of it was sung. I therefore translated those passages into verse in order to convey the flavour of performance. There is probably no other way to make the work live in English. As for the theatre of the time, most of it is in verse or quasi-verse, and it, too, was sung, although in a very different way. I will talk about the challenge of bringing both kinds of text to life in my own language.
Royall Tyler was born in England, grew up in the United States and France, and earned degrees from Harvard (1957) and Columbia (1977). After teaching Japanese in the US, Canada, and Norway, he moved to ANU, from which he retired in 2000. He has translated The Tale of Genji (2001), The Tale of the Heike (2012), many medieval Japanese plays, and other works besides. He lives on a property between Canberra and Bateman’s Bay.
While Tolstoy is the easiest of Russian novelists to read, he is perhaps the hardest to translate. In this talk, I will try to explain why, drawing on my experience of producing a new translation of Anna Karenina for Oxford World’s Classics. Hoping also to answer the perennial question “Why do we need another translation?”, I will explore the particular qualities of Tolstoy’s style, which I will compare and contrast with those of his younger contemporary Chekhov.
Rosamund Bartlett was born and brought up in London, and received her doctorate from Oxford in 1991. In addition to the several books she has published, including Wagner and Russia, Shostakovich in Context and biographies of Chekhov and Tolstoy, she has also translated two volumes of Chekhov stories, the libretto for the Futurist opera Victory over the Sun, and, most recently, Anna Karenina, due out later this year. She is based in the UK, but travels regularly to Australia, and is Honorary Associate in the School of Languages and Cultures at the University of Sydney.