Translating Myself and Others (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews

In this this extraordinary collection of essays, Jhumpa Lahiri joyously celebrates the beauty of language through the lens of translation. Lahiri decided to start learning Italian, to which she had no previous ties, as an adult to “feel free” and gain a “second life.” Translation, she argues, rather than being something that does damage to the original, is in fact away of granting new life to what is being said. Perhaps, she says, finding more ways to express the same idea can bring us closer to the essence of its meaning. This book will make you want to return to that new language you’re curious about.

— Caroline


Luminous essays on translation and self-translation by an award-winning writer and literary translator

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.

About the Author

Jhumpa Lahiri is the Millicent C. McIntosh Professor of English and director of the Creative Writing Program at Barnard College. A writer in both English and Italian, she is the author of Interpreter of Maladies, which won the Pulitzer Prize, and the editor of The Penguin Book of Italian Short Stories. She has translated three novels by Domenico Starnone into English.

Product Details
ISBN: 9780691238616
ISBN-10: 0691238618
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publication Date: September 12th, 2023
Pages: 216
Language: English