From Library Journal
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Nearly every reader of a literary work translated into English reads with the disadvantage of not being able to judge the fidelity of the translation. The encyclopedia helps those dependent upon translations to make that assessment. Its articles on Georges Bernanos, Cicero, Gustave Flaubert, Homer, Czeslaw Milosz, Aleksandr Pushkin, Shiga Naoya, Jules Verne, and other authors follow a pattern consisting of brief biography, a bibliography of works translated into English, a signed essay, and a bibliography of additional items for "further reading." The essays identify the challenges specific works and authors pose for translators and the quality of the work of the translators who have taken these on. For example, the essay on Homer analyzes the strengths and weaknesses of translations by Chapman, Dryden, Pope, A. T. Murray, Richard Lattimore, Robert Fitzgerald, and others. Just as knowledge of the body of critical literature on a poem, a play, or a novel can add depth to a reader's experience, these essays assessing translations can also add depth to understanding. In the case of works translated multiple times, they can also help readers select the best translation or at least the translation most congenial to their tastes.
Other types of articles cover the work of significant translators (John Dryden, Ezra Pound) or theorists (Matthew Arnold), major topics (Deconstruction and literary translation, Gender and gender politics in literary translation, Improving on the original), and various languages. Articles on Arabic, Czech, modern Greek, Hungarian, Norwegian, Russian, etc., describe the ease or difficulty with which English and the other language mesh through literary translation and the challenges inherent in conveying into English meaning originally expressed in the other language. All articles also conclude with unannotated reading lists. The volume closes with title, translator, and general indexes.
Mona Baker's The Routledge Encyclopedia of Translation Studies (Routledge, 1998) explores many of the topical areas and examines translation traditions in various languages. However, it does not specifically address the issues involved in translations into English. Encyclopedia of Literary Translation into English complements Baker's work and will meet the needs of advanced students of world literature. REVWR
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