Today is International Translation Day, and to celebrate, we feature some of the translated works in punctum’s catalog.
Constantin Noica, Pray for Brother Alexander, translated from the Romanian by Octavian Gabor
Constantin Noica’s (1909–1987) Pray for Brother Alexander is a meditation on responsibility, freedom, and forgiveness. On the surface, the book describes events and people from Noica’s life during his time in a political communist prison in Romania. However, the volume is not a historical account only, but rather an honest introspection into how a human being may keep sanity when everything around him makes no sense.
Enrique Dussel, Pedagogics of Liberation: A Latin American Philosophy of Education, translated from the Spanish by Dvid I. Backer and Cecilia Diego
Enrique Dussel is considered one of the founding philosophers of liberation in the Latin American tradition, an influential arm of what is now called decoloniality. While he is astoundingly prolific, relatively few of his works can be found in English translation — and none of these focus specifically on education. Founding members of the Latin American Philosophy of Education Society David I. Backer and Cecilia Diego bring to us Dussel’s The Pedagogics of Liberation: A Latin American Philosophy of Education, the first English translation of Dussel’s thinking on education, and also the first translation of any part of his landmark multi-volume work Towards an Ethics of Latin American Liberation.
Nachoem M. Wijnberg, The Jews, translated from the Dutch by Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei
The Jews is an anti-historical thriller in the form of a Talmudic tragicomedy, taking place sometime during the Second World War. Stalin and his Minister of Security Beria are worried about the political developments in Germany, where Martin Heidegger has replaced Adolf Hitler as Chancellor of the Third Reich. Suspecting that the Frankfurt School, headed by Vice-Chancellor Walter Benjamin, has masterminded this takeover, he dispatches two Jewish actors, Salomon Maimon and Natalia Goncharova, to investigate the situation in the hope of uncovering the extent of the Jewish conspiracy.
A Boy Asleep Under the Sun: Versions of Sandro Penna, edited and translated from the Italian by Peter Valente
Peter Valente’s first encounter with Sandro Penna’s poetry was while translating Pier Paolo Pasolini. At the time, Valente was reading a biography on Pasolini and learned of his close friendship with Penna. Pasolini insisted that among serious readers of poetry, Penna could not be ignored. Born in Perugia on June 12, 1906, Sandro Penna lived most of his life in Rome (he died there on January 21, 1977), except for a brief period in Milan where he worked as a library clerk. When Pasolini arrived in Rome in 1950 he sought out Penna to “show him around.” He knew that Penna was in love with the same ragazzi who prowled the outskirts of Rome.
Euripides, Hippolytus, translated from the Greek by Sean Gurd
Euripides wrote two plays called Hippolytus. In this, the second, he dramatized the tragic failure of perfection. This translation comes in two forms; the first presents a simulacrum of the text as it might have appeared in unprocessed form to a reader sometime shortly after Euripides’ death. The second processes the drama into the reduced but much more distinct form of modern print translations.
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