Archive for April, 2006

LAUNCH ON 10 MAY 2006, MANCHESTER: ‘In Dialogue with Saramago: Essays in Comparative Literature’

A ground-breaking volume of comparative studies relating to José Saramago will be launched in Manchester, England on 10 May 2006. I myself have a contribution. I will be there myself and will of course report more!

Details: ‘In Dialogue with Saramago: Essays in Comparative Literature’ Edited by Adriana Alves de Paula Martins and Mark Sabine 2006: Manchester, University of Manchester, Manchester Spanish and Portuguese Studies Series Price: GBP 9.00 Available from: Dept of Spanish and Portuguese Studies, University of Manchester, M13 9PL, England ISBN: 0 9539968 8 3

The editors are very grateful to the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation and the Fundação Luso- Americana para o Desenvolvimento for their financial support for the publication of this volume.

Launch: The launch will take place on Wednesday 10 May 2006 from 4 pm to 6 pm, in Room S.3.1 of the Humanities Building, Lime Grove, Manchester University. There will be a short address by Dr. Ana Paula Arnaut from the Portuguese Department of the University of Coimbra.


Mark Sabine & Adriana Alves de Paula Martins, Introduction: Saramago and the politics of quotation;  Ellen W. Sapega, Saramago’s ‘genius’: Camões, Adamastor, and Ricardo Reis;  David Frier, Of false dons and missed opportunities, or how Calisto Elói and Ricardo Reis failed Portugal; Orlando Grossegesse, About words, tears, and screams: Dante’s Commedia revisited by Borges and Saramago; Helena Carvalhão Buescu, The encounter as failure to meet: Saramago’s Todos Os Nomes and Dostoevsky’s White Nights; Maria Irene Ramalho Santos, All the names: José Saramago and lyric poetry; Christopher Rollason, How totalitarianism begins at home: Saramago and George Orwell; José N. Ornelas, Convergences and divergences in Saramago’s Ensaio sobre a Cegueira and Camus’s The Plague; Mark Sabine, Levantado do Chão after One Hundred Years of Solitude: the telling of time and truth in Saramago and García Márquez; Adriana Alves de Paula Martins, The poetics of correction in Gore Vidal’s Burr and Saramago’s História do Cerco de Lisboa; Paulo de Medeiros, Saramago and Grass

**Note added 14 October 2009: My own essay, on Saramago and Orwell (pp. 105-120), has been placed on the reading list for the course ‘Descobrir Saramago’ (‘Discovering Saramago’)  to be offered from 2 to 6 November 2009 to secondary school teachers of Portuguese, organised by the Centro de Formação da Associação de Escolas de São Miguel e Santa Maria (Azores, Portugal) – see entry on this blog for 13 October 2009

**Note added 8 September 2010: the same essay is now also quoted and linked to in the English-language Wikipedia entry on José Saramago:,

and in a piece on Saramago by the Irish novelist William Wall:

(Three Monkeys Online – book blog – 31 August 2010) – "José Saramago – an appreciation"

(see entry for 8 September 2010). 


Both José Ornelas’ chapter and my own are cited in:

Krista Brune (University of California, Berkeley), The Essayistic Touch: Saramago’s Version of Blindness and Lucidity – Mester (Dept of Spanish and Portuguese, University of Los Angeles), 39(1), 2010,89-110 –


My chapter is on-line at:





Me permito recomendar a tod@s, y muy especialmente, a l@s educadores/as,

la obra cibernética, excepcionalmente interesante, de la argentina KARINA CRESPO (escritora, poetisa,

periodista, pedagoga), en el campo educacional y no sólo. Karina me ha hecho el

favor de contactar conmigo a través de esta bitácora, y así se lo devuelvo.


Entre otras cosas, notaremos su estatuto oficial como moderadora del weblog

"Webcreatividad" del Portal Educativo del Estado Argentino.


Hallaréis por la Red, por ejemplo, estos textos de su autoría, de enorme

interés: <; < <; >


y: <; < <; >


En mi entender, estos textos rebosan de ideas fecundas para cualquier



Tampoco puedo dejar de lado el sitio donde se ubican las poesías de


Los poemas vienen acompañados, en su mayoría, por fotos que

alumbran de una manera excepcional los sentimientos que encuadran

los textos, y esto dentro de los patrones del mejor gusto posible.


¡Difícilmente tendría palabras para recomendaros suficientemente

la obra creadora de Karina en su tan impresionante y abarcativo conjunto!


Now on-line are the full, revised texts of my three papers on translation issues

delivered in March 2006 at Jawaharlal Nehru University (New Delhi).

If you are interested, please download.

Here are details.




 Revised text of a paper given by the author at the International Workshop

on “Intercultural Studies Today: Challenges and Imperatives”, held at the

School of Languages, Literature and Culture Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru

University (JNU) New Delhi), 9-11 March 2006.



 One of the great minds of the twentieth century, Walter Benjamin – a name

cited with reverence in Translation Studies circles even though he produced

only a sliver of reflections on the subject – has put forward philosophical

arguments in favour of an ontological equality of source and translated

texts. As a recent commentator, Diego Fernבndez, has observed, “human

languages, in Benjamin’s conception of language, maintain a relationship of

affinity – not through being like each other or similar to each other, but

through kinship” . Translation thus becomes a matter not of similarity or

identity (translated text copies source text) but of affinity in difference

(translated text and source text are two objects, separate yet akin and

equal in value). In his early, esoteric text “On Language as Such and on

the Language of Man” (1916), Benjamin affirms: “Translation attains its

full meaning in the realisation that every evolved language … can be

considered as a translation of all the others” , perceiving translation as

a succession not of similarities but of transformations, and thus pointing

towards a vision of source and translated text as ontological equals.





Revised text of a paper given by the author at the International Workshop

on “Intercultural Studies Today: Challenges and Imperatives”, held at the School of

Languages, Literature and Culture Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) New Delhi), 9-11 March




 The theme of this paper requires that we establish the nature of the object

of study: what precisely is the thing that we are used to calling Indian

Writing in English, or IWE? I shall begin my discussion with some remarks

from over three decades ago, by the late David McCutchion, one of IWE’s

earliest and still one of its most pertinent critics. In the introduction

to his eponymous book on the subject published in 1969, McCutchion writes:

“The fascination of Indian writing in English lies … in the phenomenon … of

literary creativity in a language other than the surrounding mother tongue”

, and goes on to pinpoint some of the characteristics, both assets and

drawbacks, of that phenomenon. Notably, he highlights the particular

technical difficulties posed by the use of dialogue in IWE works: “It would

require very exceptional gifts and total bilingualism to express directly

in English the lives of people who do not themselves speak English” , while

noting the very specific positioning of the Indian intellectual writing in

English, in terms which, though today they require rephrasing for gender,

remain perceptive and eloquent: “What the Indian poet or novelist may

present … is his own experience as a man educated to think and feel in

Western categories confronting the radically different culture all around

him” . McCutchion supposes a surface-and-depth model: under the

English-language surface lies a “radically different” Indian mind.





‘Problems of translating Indian Writing in English into Spanish, **

Note added 5 July 2010

1) The first lecture, “Translation as Dialogue”, has been published in:

Perspectives on Comparative Literature and Culture in the Age of Globalization, eds. Saugata Bhaduri and Amar Basu, London, New York, New Delhi: Anthem Press, 2010, pp. 29-39 (for details, see entry on this blog. 4 July 2010). 

It has also been quoted, in the context of translation theory in a globalising world, in the article:

 ” Problems and Prospects of Translating Yorùbá Verbal Art Into Literary English: An Ethnolinguistic Approach” by:

Tajudeen SURAKAT (Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria),

included in the 2008 yearbook of the  International Association for Translation & Intercultural Studies –

and available on-line at:



has been published in JNU’s journal JSL. Details:

JSL (New Delhi), No 9, Spring 2008, pp. 20-39; on-line at:



with reference to “A Married Woman” by Manju Kapur

(translated as “Una mujer casada” by Dora Sales Salvador)’

Author of paper: Dr Christopher Rollason


This paper was given at Jawaharlal Nehru University (New Delhi) on 7 March 2006, as part

of the event “Writers’ Meet”. In its composition I was able to count on the help of both Manju

Kapur and Dora Sales, and Manju Kapur herself honoured the seminar

with her presence!



In our times, the Indian capacity, as identified early by Macaulay, for “facility and correctness” of expression in English manifests itself in the multiform literary phenomenon known as Indian Writing in English (or IWE), and Manju Kapur, whose work concerns us here, is one of a long and by now familiar list of highly-regarded living practitioners. IWE remains controversial in certain Indian critical circles, being regarded as “insufficiently Indian” or “inauthentic”, notably when practised by expatriates or non-resident Indians (a stricture which does not apply to Manju Kapur, who lives in Delhi). The position continues to exist that writers in Indian languages are somehow more “Indian” than those who write in English – this despite the fact that translation takes place within India in all possible directions: between Indian languages; from Indian languages to English (as with Tagore); and from English to Indian languages, as with the Hindi, Marathi and Bengali versions of Vikram Seth’s A Suitable Boy. At all events, IWE is certainly not a problem-free genre, and some of its inherent cruxes were perspicaciously outlined as early as 1968, by the pioneering critic David McCutchion, who, in his volume Indian Writing in English, asked a set of questions which are still pertinent today: “To what extent are Indian writers in English truly bilingual? … Is it possible to truthfully recreate the dialogue of people all around speaking the regional languages, or should the Indian writer in English confine himself to those who actually use English? … In so far as the Indian writer in English does write for his fellow Indians and not the overseas market, what audience does he have in mind?” . Today, it needs to be remembered that successful IWE novelists write for a market that is by definition hybrid – for an English-speaking but Indian public at home, and for a much broader but still Anglophone readership abroad encompassing Britain, the US, Canada, the rest of the English-speaking world, and, indeed, non-native speakers such as Dutch, Danes or others who feel comfortable reading in English. The readership is further enlarged by translation, which may be into Indian or non-Indian languages. An IWE writer’s “foreign” (i.e. non-Indian) readership is divided between a group who read the books in the original and a second group, further removed from the text, who approach them via translation. Like any IWE writer, Manju Kapur occupies a particular position vis-à-vis the English language and the IWE genre itself, which reflects her personal and educational history. In parallel, her translator, Dora Sales, operates from within a specific cultural space which requires defining.


El texto completo y revisado de la conferencia que di el 7 de marzo de 2006
en la Jawaharlal Nehru University (Nueva Delhi)
se ubicaca en:
‘Problems of translating Indian Writing in English into Spanish,
with reference to “A Married Woman” by Manju Kapur
(translated as “Una mujer casada” by Dora Sales Salvador)’
La conferencia fue integrada en el seminario “Writers’ Meet” (“Encuentro de autores”).
Se publicará en HISPANIC HORIZON, órgano de la JNU.
En su composición tuve el honor de contar con el apoyo y los consejos tanto
de Manju Kapur como de Dora Sales. La propia Manju Kapur muy graciosamente
consintió participar a mi lado en el seminario.
Hay un extracto del texto inglés en el mensaje correspondiente (6-4-06) en lengua inglesa.