The afterlives of C.P. Cavafy's unfinished poems

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Abstract

This article draws on recent developments in translation studies and textual scholarship to consider how the translator, like the editor, grapples with the instability of literary works, which almost always exist in multiple versions and varying textual conditions. It treats the process of translation as a series of overlapping interpretive acts, including not only lexical translation but the selection or construction of the original itself, and the creation of an edition in translation. It takes as its case study a group of poems whose instability begins with the "originals": the unfinished poems of C.P. Cavafy. The unsettled nature of Cavafy's unfinished poems raises questions regarding how such works can be presented both in foreign-language translations and in the language of their original composition. The article discusses two English translations, by John Davis and Daniel Mendelsohn, as well as Renata Lavagnini's 1994 Greek-language scholarly edition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)197-212
Number of pages16
JournalTranslation Studies
Volume4
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language

Keywords

  • C.P. Cavafy
  • editorial theory
  • textual scholarship
  • translation and source text
  • unfinished works

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