The Worlds of Langston Hughes: Modernism and Translation in the Americas (Hardback)Vera M. Kutzinski (author)
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The poet Langston Hughes was a tireless world traveler and a prolific translator, editor, and marketer. Translations of his own writings traveled even more widely than he did, earning him adulation throughout Europe, Asia, and especially the Americas. In The Worlds of Langston Hughes, Vera Kutzinski contends that, for writers who are part of the African diaspora, translation is more than just a literary practice: it is a fact of life and a way of thinking. Focusing on Hughes's autobiographies, translations of his poetry, his own translations, and the political lyrics that brought him to the attention of the infamous McCarthy Committee, she shows that translating and being translated-and often mistranslated-are as vital to Hughes's own poetics as they are to understanding the historical network of cultural relations known as literary modernism.
As Kutzinski maps the trajectory of Hughes's writings across Europe and the Americas, we see the remarkable extent to which the translations of his poetry were in conversation with the work of other modernist writers. Kutzinski spotlights cities whose role as meeting places for modernists from all over the world has yet to be fully explored: Madrid, Havana, Buenos Aires, Mexico City, and of course Harlem. The result is a fresh look at Hughes, not as a solitary author who wrote in a single language, but as an international figure at the heart of a global intellectual and artistic formation.
Publisher: Cornell University Press
Number of pages: 344
Weight: 680 g
Dimensions: 235 x 156 x 28 mm
"Although Hughes is highly regarded in US literature, he may be even more of an iconic figure in Hispanic culture. Kutzinski illustrates how his works, as translated into Spanish, made an indelible mark on Hispanic literature. And as more of his works have been translated in other world languages, Hughes's themes have become globally impactful and universal. Kutzinski also argues that translations of the works of other iconic US writers-especially those of non-US descent-can impact a nation's culture. Kutzinski's research suggests that the possibilities are endless."-Choice (July 2013)
"In The Worlds of Langston Hughes, Vera Kutzinski lays out the theoretical implications and the practical necessity of making translation and translations objects of literary analysis in a creative, multidimensional, compelling, and utterly illuminating way. This book is simply breathtaking."-Natalie Melas, Cornell University, author of All the Difference in the World: Postcoloniality and the Ends of Comparison
"Reading The Worlds of Langston Hughes was a real education for me. No one, to my knowledge, has done such a thorough presentation of the role of translation in literary modernism as it was practiced in the Americas; further, Vera M. Kutzinski has given us one of the very best analyses and evaluations of Hughes's seminal texts. We observe him at work translating, but we also see his works being translated. Kutzinski, a preeminent polylingual comparativist who knows the literatures of the African diaspora as well as anyone, brings a keen understanding of both race and ethnicity to her overarching discussion. She has written an exemplary work, which will be widely influential."-John Lowe, Louisiana State University, author of Jump at the Sun: Zora Neale Hurston's Cosmic Comedy
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