Banville Project: Literature As Translation
When John Banville turned 70 in 2015 one might have thought he would start to slow down, but on the contrary, he seems to go into a higher gear, having two new books in the pipeline for 2017 and doing some teaching stints. He is an author who is already translated into many languages, and one of the leading literary voices in Ireland, so his international scope and appeal to many different cultures made him a suitable subject for our second translation project. The fact that he is strongly influenced by Yeats creates a link to our previous translating project Yeats Reborn (2013-2015); however, Banville's charm is of course the beautiful prose in which he interweaves philosophy and aesthetics. So the EFACIS board decided that we would launch the Banville Project: Literature as Translation.
The Banville Project has two strands:
(a) Translation and comments on the text Fiction and the Dream:
This is an unpublished piece which John Banville gracefully made available for this intercultural exercise. It summarizes his view on literature and the unknowability of the human being which will elicit reactions from scholars and other creative writers.
For each language in this project a team of three people translate the text Fiction and the Dream (available to download here). Often, this team consists a translator, creative writer, and a critic.
(b) For this project we have invited students to translate two key passages from Banville and to write a commentary in English either about the translation difficulty or about the texts themselves. We have suggested the following two epiphanies: the opening of Dr Copernicus p.3-4 in the Minerva edition and the epiphany scene in Eclipse p. 32-33 in the Picador edition; the first passage starts with “At first it had no name” and ends with “Got lost in the straw”, the second one starts with “I clearly recall the day I first became truly aware of myself.” (32) Till “that I carry in me yet, and that yet will overflow at the slightest movement, the slightest misbeat of my heart?” (33) = 4 pages in all. See more details here.
This website contains reactions to the texts and translations, which we hope will continue to grow over time. If you would like us to include your reaction please contact the coordinator. We accept striking observations from junior, mature and specialist scholars at a maximum length of one page.
All participants must agree to the Creative Commons Declaration which gives EFACIS copyright over their final submission.
The project will culminate in The Banville Colloquiuim, 29 November - 1 December 2018. The project timeline is as follows:
- 16 March: publication of Banville’s text & the Project concept on the EFACIS webpage.
- 16 March – 31 May: finding the participants in every language (two or three people: a Banville specialist, a translator and a creative writer)
- Extended to 1st August 2018: translating the text and the reactions to the text
- Until November 2018: collecting the translations and publishing them on the Banville website
- Until February 2019 collecting and publishing student translations on the Benville website
This EFACIS project creates interaction between Ireland and the rest of the world in the form of a complex, multifarious “answer” from different cultures to Banville’s texture which interweaves aesthetics and philosophy in a unique way.
The EFACIS team