Translation as Transhumance
Mireille Gansel, Ros Schwartz, Lauren Elkin, Lauren Hook, JC Duclos, Ros Schwartz, Drew Stevens
Mireille Gansel grew up in the traumatic aftermath of her family losing everything-including their native languages-to Nazi Germany. In the 1960s and 70s, she translated poets from East Berlin and Vietnam to help broadcast their defiance to the rest of the world. In this half memoire, half philosophical treatise Gansel’s debut illustrates the estrangement every translator experiences for the privilege of moving between tongues, and muses on how translation becomes an exercise of empathy between those in exile.
'A revelation.' - Kirkus Reviews. `Pursuing this work of recovery and protection, translators like Gansel could be aligned with Platonists, committed to groping towards the elusive ur-truth of a literary work.' - Marina Warner, LRB. 'Imagine watching the entire flock of migrating monarchs; hundreds of thousands of orange and black pixels creating a mountain in the negative space of their movement. Through tireless effort, sensitivity to history and nuance, deep research into the original artist and landscape, and, finally, "the conviction that no word that speaks of what is human is untranslatable," the translator shows us trees where there are no trees, and leads us over the contours of terrain we will never climb.' - Los Angeles Review of Books. 'A history not just of twentieth century poetry but of that dark century itself, from the rise of the Nazis to the American bombing of North Vietnam, and yields too a rare insight into the nature of language and the splendours and limitations of translation.' - Gabriel Josipovici. `In this memoir of a translator's adventures, Mireille Gansel shows us what it means to enter another language through its culture, and to enter the life of another culture through its language. A sensitive and insightful book, which illuminates the difficult, and often underestimated task of translation-and the role of literature in making for a more interconnected and humane world.' - Eva Hoffman. 'This memoir tells of a life forged by encounters, by the humble desire to reach out to and understand the other. It is a subtle, moving, and at times sad testimony that talks of poetry, the dialogue with consciousness, commitment and values that are essential to literature and to life itself.' - La Quinzaine litteraire. '
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