• Translating Myself and Others

  • By: Jhumpa Lahiri
  • Narrated by: Sneha Mathan
  • Length: 5 hrs and 40 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (8 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Sneha Mathan narrates these luminous essays on translation and self-translation by award-winning writer and literary translator Jhumpa Lahiri

With an introduction, afterword, and acknowledgements read by the author

Translating Myself and Others is a collection of candid and disarmingly personal essays by Pulitzer Prize–winning author Jhumpa Lahiri, who reflects on her emerging identity as a translator as well as a writer in two languages.

With subtlety and emotional immediacy, Lahiri draws on Ovid’s myth of Echo and Narcissus to explore the distinction between writing and translating, and provides a close reading of passages from Aristotle’s Poetics to talk more broadly about writing, desire, and freedom. She traces the theme of translation in Antonio Gramsci’s Prison Notebooks and takes up the question of Italo Calvino’s popularity as a translated author. Lahiri considers the unique challenge of translating her own work from Italian to English, the question “Why Italian?,” and the singular pleasures of translating contemporary and ancient writers.

Featuring essays originally written in Italian and published in English for the first time, as well as essays written in English, Translating Myself and Others brings together Lahiri’s most lyrical and eloquently observed meditations on the translator’s art as a sublime act of both linguistic and personal metamorphosis.

©2022 Jhumpa Lahiri (P)2022 Princeton University Press

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Translation as perspective and back again

This book is wonderful. Lahiri demonstrates in delicate detail how language, speaking, and speech are as near, or far, from each other as the mind of the interpreter - or the mind of the interpreter’s interpreter, or translator, and so on.
We bring our own context to the table every time. Each of us is constantly translating by contextualizing what we experience as we move through life and delve more into the language(s) we understand or can speak, or hear. Fewer people have a mother tongue.
This book is a dissertation of sorts, defended with deep knowledge and comprehension, about why critics of Lahiri’s worthiness to dare to write in Italian must, themselves, step back and consider their narrow mindedness, and ignorance. Her argument is one that she cannot lose because it is backed up with examples of who have been well accepted translators or authors (from Ancient Greece and Rome to more recently) and why their linguistic life experience is not dissimilar to her own.
Lahiri’s writing, in this book of measured words, by a literary savant who writes with simplicity, what others struggle to relate to the reader, is a treasure.
Anyone will benefit from reading what she has spent considerable time (and heart) researching, learning, ruminating, and investigating in order to parse out the relevance of chosen words. She has done so to approach carefully important works of literature to make them more accessible.
Brilliant - I am so glad I read this as I assumed it was a new novel and bought it without giving it a second thought. I particularly enjoyed this format (on Audible) because I could understand the Italian better hearing it spoken than I would have reading it. It’s a pleasure to listen to and probably should be re-read several times. At least before and after the works she has translated from Italian to English and the ones she has written in Italian. This would make a good gift for anyone who is a linguist.
Lahiri has sparked my interest in many books I have not yet read.