Monday, August 20, 2012

From BOMB magazine: An interview with Mary Jo Bang, poet and translator

Mary Jo Bang recently published a new translation of Dante's Inferno - a modernized translation that seems to have caused quite a stir.

Zachary Lazar interviewed the translator for BOMB magazine:
Imagine a contemporary translation of Dante that includes references to Pink Floyd, South Park, Donald Rumsfeld, and Star Trek. Now imagine that this isn’t gimmicky—this is the hardest but most important part to imagine. Imagine instead that the old warhorse is now scary again, and perversely funny, and lyrical and faux-lyrical in a way that sounds sometimes like Auden, sometimes like Nabokov, but always like Mary Jo Bang. 
The article also links to the entire translation of Canto XXXIV.

A very brief excerpt (verses 61-69):

"Quell'anima là sù c'ha maggior pena",
disse 'l maestro, "è Giuda Scarïotto,
che 'l capo ha dentro e fuor le gambe mena.
“That soul up there suffers the worst,”
My teacher said. “Judas Iscariot.
His head stays inside, while his kicking feet stick out.
De li altri due c'hanno il capo di sotto,
quel che pende dal nero ceffo è Bruto:
vedi come si storce, e non fa motto!;
Those other two whose heads hang down,
The one dangling from the dark mug is Brutus—
Look how he thrashes without uttering a word—
e l'altro è Cassio, che par sì membruto.
Ma la notte risurge, e oramai
è da partir, ché tutto avem veduto".
The other is Cassius, who looks much more muscular
Without his skin. But night’s coming again
And we have to go. We’ve seen all there is to see.”

1 comment:

  1. Amazing timing--I happen to be reading the Inferno right now, and am just coming up on this canto! This will make fascinating reading in juxtaposition. Thanks!


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