This book, written by a team of experts from many countries, provides a comprehensive account of the ways in which translation has brought the major literatures of the world into English-speaking culture. Part I discusses theoretical issues and gives an overview of the history of translation into English. Part II, the bulk of the work, arranged by language of origin, offers critical discussions, with bibliographies, of the translation history of specific texts (e.g. the Koran, the Kalevala), authors (e.g. Lucretius, Dostoevsky), genres (e.g. Chinese poetry, twentieth-century Italian prose) and national literatures (e.g. Hungarian, Afrikaans).
This new Oxford guide emphasizes "high-culture" books in translation that have had the most lasting impact on English-speaking culture since the Middle Ages. The largely U.K./U.S. roster of academic contributors provides translation histories and very helpful judgments about which translations are best and most reliable. Early translators of Dostoevsky, for example, smoothed out his often disjointed Russian to make him more acceptable to "Western good taste"; modern translators now see those stylistic "faults" as a polyphonic clashing of voices that should be captured in English. The first 116 pages cover translation theory and history, while the heart of this guide is the 17 geographic sections that follow, starting with African languages, moving through Latin, and ending with the West Asian languages. There are excellent bibliographies and an author index. The best alternative is The Reader's Adviser, currently in its 14th edition from Bowker, but it stresses biographical/critical information and gives little information about the challenges of translation. France (Emeritus Fellow, Univ. of Edinburgh) also edited the New Oxford Companion to Literature in French. Highly recommended for libraries serving scholarly literary programs.--Peter Dollard, Alma Coll. Lib., MI Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.\