Translations as Literature

Matthew Reynolds, Fellow and Tutor in English Language and Literature, Oxford, gives a talk for the 2013 Oxford Alumni Weekend

Translations are never as good as their originals - or so we tend to think. But why should that be? Surely translation can involve gain as well as loss? But, if it does that, doesn't it stop being translation and turn into something else: a 'version', 'interpretation' or 'poem in its own right'? The 2013 St Anne's Founding Fellows Lecture will explore these questions with the help of a range of wonderful translations into English, such as Dante, Virgil, Homer, Zamyatin, Dryden, Pope, Ciaran Carson, Natasha Randall and Peter Robinson. We will discover what it means for a piece of writing to be at once a translation and a work of literature.