(Re-) translating the Italian classics for the 21st century: Boccaccio, Machiavelli, Leopardi

  • Friday 26 February 2010

Session 1: ‘(Re-)translating…’

Peter Hainsworth (Oxford): Translating the «Decameron». «Vaghe donne» and questions of register

Tim Parks (IULM, Milan): Concerning the ways in which a translator can keep faith with long-dead writers

Gerry Slowey (Birmingham): «L’impossibilità di ben tradurre  dall’antico nel moderno». Has Leopardi got us wrong?

Session 2: ‘... for the 21st century’

A general discussion led by Susan Bassnett (Warwick)

Speaker profiles

Susan Bassnett

Susan Bassnett is Professor of Comparative Literature in the Department of English and Comparative Literary Studies at Warwick. Author of over 20 books, her Translation Studies, (3rd ed., 2002) which first appeared in 1980, has remained consistently in print and has become the most important textbook around the world in the expanding field of Translation Studies.  Her recent publications in the field include: The Translator as Writer, ed. with Peter Bush (Continuum 2006) and Translation in Global News, with Esperança Bielsa, (Routledge, 2008); she is currently writing a new book on translation for the Routledge Critical idiom series.

Peter Hainsworth

Peter Hainsworth has lectured in Italian at Hull, Kent and Oxford Universities. He has published on a wide range of Italian literature, particularly medieval and modern poetry, and co-edited with David Robey the Oxford Companion to Italian Literature (2002). Since retiring in 2003, he has concentrated on literary translation. He has just completed a selection from Petrarch’s works (both Italian and Latin) for Hackett Publishing. He is currently working on a selection of stories from the Decameron for Penguin Classics.

Tim Parks

Born in Manchester, Tim Parks studied English literature at Cambridge and Harvard, moving permanently to Italy in 1981. Author of three bestselling books on Italy, plus a dozen novels, including the Booker short-listed Europa, he has translated works by Moravia, Tabucchi, Calvino and Calasso. While running a post-graduate degree course in translation at IULM University, Milan, he writes regularly for the LRB and the NYRB. His critical work, Translating Style, presents a literary approach to translation problems, which are also addressed in his new translation of Machiavelli’s The Prince, published by Penguin in 2009.

Gerry Slowey

Gerry Slowey graduated from the University of Birmingham and lectured in Italian at the University of Aberdeen before returning to teach in Birmingham until his retirement in 2008. He has written on various aspects of Italian culture, and has translated mainly in the area of music, from 16th- and 17th-century Italian madrigals and dialogues for Decca to Domenico Scarlatti’s La Dirindina for Ricordi. He is a member of the translation team, and translation advisor, for the first complete English-language edition of Leopardi’s Zibaldone, to be published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux and by Penguin in 2012.

The symposium is supported by the AHRC-funded Zibaldone Project and the Leopardi Centre at Birmingham.