Return to the Translate This Book! Table of Contents
Download Translate This Book! as a PDF
Buy Translate This Book! as a Physical Book
In my recent translations, I’ve been trying to bring across some contemporary Greek voices that haven’t yet been adequately heard in English, but there are still many classics of Modern Greek literature that really deserve to be translated. One is I Papissa Ioanna (“Pope Joan”), by Emmanuel Roidis. First published in 1866, “Pope Joan” is a wickedly witty historical novel about the life of the legendary (and probably fictional) female pope of the 850s. The book, which also offers a stinging critique of the Greek Orthodox Church, was banned, and Roidis was excommunicated because of it. Lawrence Durrell published a version of the book in the 1950s, but it’s far shorter than Roidis’s Greek, and it would be wonderful to have a complete translation in English. I would also love to see strong translations of the works of the 16th-century Cretan playwright Georgios Chortatsis: the pastoral play Panoria, the tragedy Erofili, and the comedy Katzourbos. These plays are just wonderful, and should be of particular interest to scholars and readers of Renaissance works in English. There are also a whole host of fantastic books that already have been published in good English translations—but the translations are either out of print, or put out by small presses or academic presses with poor distribution. Two of my favorites are William Wyatt’s translation of the stories of Yiorgos Vizyenos, My Mother’s Sin and Other Stories. Vizyenos is a fascinating character, born in 1849 to a very poor family in Thrace, sent to apprentice to his uncle, a tailor in Constantinople; he went on to study child psychology in Leipzig and died in an insane asylum outside of Athens. There’s also the very important trilogy of novels by Stratis Tsirkas, set in Jerusalem, Cairo, and Alexandria during the period 1942-44, that were translated by Kay Cicellis and put out by Knopf in 1974 under a single cover, as Drifting Cities. It would be wonderful to see those re-released.
Karen Emmerich’s translation include I’d Like by Amanda Michalopoulou, Poems (1945-1971) by Miltos Sachtouris, and Landscape with Dog and Other Stories by Ersi Sotiropoulos, just out from Clockroot Books.
More from The Quarterly Conversation:
- Four Greek Writers That You Should (and Can) Read: Translator Karen Emmerich in San Francisco On Tuesday, May 12, the translator Karen Emmerich read from various Greek works that she has translated into English. She spoke before a packed crowd of about 60 in San Francisco’s Minna Gallery at 111 Minna St. and appeared the invitation of San Francisco’s Center for the Art of Translation....
- The Michael Emmerich Interview Elizabeth Wadell talks to the English-language translator of Banana Yoshimoto and Yasunari Kawabata....
Related posts brought to you by Yet Another Related Posts Plugin.
Read more articles by Karen Emmerich