This issue of the Michigan Quarterly Review is devoted to translation in both the specific and the broad sense. We bookend the issue with two stories devoted to translation as an act and translation as a geopolitical reality in a world of many borders as well as languages. We have gathered translations from a host of figures—scholars, critics, poets, novelists—and have reprinted the originals in the original language, not to prove our scholarly bona-fides, but to emphasize translation in yet another sense, the shuttling between different alphabets—let’s translate that word into less loaded ones, like “written symbol-systems”—which manifest different appearances to the reader. The hope is not that readers will instantly turn to their Tibetan or Persian or Hebrew or Greek dictionary and cry—aha! I prefer this or that word or locution, but rather sense the arbitrariness of the English-sign-and-symbol system that our extraordinarily learned translators are bringing to bear on their efforts.
More generally, we also hope you will enjoy some remarkable writing from within and beyond the metropole, as well as fine ruminations on the choices that the translator makes, as well as the context of the originals. We hope, in short, that you will shuttle yourselves into the imagined world conveyed by these many originals and translate them into your own experience with some of the delight and instruction that they have brought the editors of this journal, as we gathered them for you.
ESSAYS: Beth Aviv on what is lost when handwriting is converted to type, Wendy Call on working with Irma Pineda to translate her work in both Spanish and Zapotec, Juan Cole on rescuing Omar Khayyam from the Victorians, Kathleen Heil on Patricio Pron, Adriana X. Jacobs on Anna Herman, Sara Kippur on Jorge Semprun, Lynn Levin on Odi Gonzales, Donald S. Lopez, Jr., on Gendun Chopel
POETRY (with the translator in parentheses): Gendun Chopel (Donald S. Lopez, Jr.), Euripides (Anne Carson), Ghalib (M. Shahid Alam), Odi Gonzales (Lynn Levin), Anna Herman (Adriana X. Jacobs), Omar Khayyam (Juan Cole), Irma Pineda (Wendy Call ), Sohrab Sepehri (Kazim Ali and Mohammad Jafar Mahallati)
FICTION (with the translator in parentheses): Charles Baxter, Tom Earles, Patricio Pron (Kathleen Heil), Jorge Semprun (Sara Kippur)
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