2.6 Dreaming or Thinking: Cristina Rivera Garza with Kate Marshall and Dominique Vargas (AV)

ND stages a trialogue this week with MacArthur “Genius” Cristina Rivera Garza and Notre Dame critics Kate Marshall and Dominique Vargas.  Professor Rivera Garza recalls roadtripping through Mexico in a bochito (a Volkswagen). For her, such drives became the mother of literary invention: there was no car radio and when family conversations died down, the window (and not an iPhone) became the screen that occupied her. In a more serious vein, CRG, Kate, and Dominique also discuss the role of linguistic mobility and translation in bringing Rivera Garza’s novels and essays to English-speaking audiences. CRG reflects on how books change when they cross languages and reminds us that the United States is the second largest Spanish-speaking country in the world. This episode productively estranges us from a number of received narratives about national monolingualism and experimental writing.  Professor Rivera Garza rejects the notion of aesthetic individualism and the idealized image of the solitary writer. She declares that language always has plural roots and her work is underpinned by the belief that we only become individuals when community fails.

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Audio: Dreaming or Thinking: Cristina Rivera Garza with Kate Marshall and Dominique Vargas

4.6 Translation is the Closest Way to Read: Ann Goldstein and Saskia Ziolkowski Novel Dialogue

In our season finale, Ann Goldstein, renowned translator of Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan novels, gives a master class in the art and business of translation. Ann speaks to Duke scholar Saskia Ziolkowski and host Aarthi Vadde about being the face of the Ferrante novels, and the curious void that she came to fill in the public imagination in light of Ferrante’s anonymity. In a profession long characterized by invisibility, Ann reflects on her own celebrity and the changing orthodoxies of the book business. Where once having a translator’s name on a book cover would be sure to kill interest, now there are movements to display author’s and translator’s names together. Ann reads an excerpt in Italian from Primo Levi’s The Truce, followed by her re-translation of the autobiographical story for The Complete Works of Primo Levi. She then offers an extraordinary walk through of her decision-making process by honing in on the difficulty of translating one key word “scomposti.” Listening to Ann delineate and discard choices, we are reminded of Italo Calvino’s assertion (echoed by Ann) that translation is indeed the closest way to read. This season’s signature question on “untranslatables” yields another brilliant meditation on word choice and the paradoxical task of arriving at precise approximations. Plus, Ann and Saskia reveal some of their favorite Italian women writers, several of whom Ann has brought into English for the first time. Mentions: –Elena Ferrante –Jennifer Croft –Primo Levi, The Periodic Table –Primo Levi, The Truce, from The Complete Works of Primo Levi –Stuart Woolf, original translator of Levi, If This is the Man –Catherine Gallagher, Nobody’s Story –Italo Calvino –Marina Jarre, Return to Latvia –Elsa Morante, Arturo’s Island –Emily Wilson, only female translator of The Odyssey –Jenny McPhee –Cesare Garboli Find out more about Novel Dialogue and its hosts and organizers here. Contact us, get that exact quote from a transcript, and explore many more conversations between novelists and critics. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
  1. 4.6 Translation is the Closest Way to Read: Ann Goldstein and Saskia Ziolkowski
  2. 4.5a Novel Dialogue Bonus: Jean-Baptiste Naudy Reads from Claude McKay’s "Amiable with Big Teeth"
  3. 4.5 The Best Error You Can Make: Brent Hayes Edwards and Jean-Baptiste Naudy on Claude McKay
  4. 4.4 “A short, sharp punch to the face”: José Revueltas’ The Hole (El Apando) with Alia Trabucco Zerán and Sophie Hughes.
  5. 4.3 Strange Beasts of Translation: Yan Ge and Jeremy Tiang in Conversation

image credit: wikimedia commons

Published by aarthivadde

Associate Professor of English - Duke University

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