Literary Translation Greek ‒ English IIΙ

Teaching Staff: Nikolaou Pashalis
Course Code: LT-7217
Gram-Web Code: ΛΜ1508-1Ε
Course Category: Specialization
Course Type: Compulsory
Course Level: Undergraduate
Course Language: English / Greek
Semester: 7th
Total Hours: 2
Erasmus: Not Available
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Short Description:

In this semester there is an emphasis on the translation of poetry, in the sense that it often presents us with insurmountable difficulties, but also with possibilities for literary experiment. We will examine in detail a range of decisions, contexts and trends in translating poetic texts from Greek into English, as well as dialogues and processes that bring us ever closer to creative writing. We will discuss the place of translation in the work of Greek poets such as George Seferis, Odysseus Elytis, Nasos Vayenas, Katerina Anghelaki-Rooke, alongside issues of influence and intertextuality. Certain practices, such as self-translation, allow us to further reflect on literary translation as part of a poet’s art. 

Objectives - Learning Outcomes:

Upon successful completion of the course, the students will be able to:

  • understand the particular challenges that poetic discourse poses to literary translators
  • enrich their knowledge about the position of poetry and poets in the Greek and English tradition
  • understand the creative possibilities that translators of poetry have
  • produce a wide range of paratexts (introductions, biographical notes, afterwords, etc) that usually accompany translations of poems
  • translate from Greek into English poetic texts of medium and major difficulty
  • critically approach reception issues and investigate the translation of poetry within the context of the history of literature
  • critically approach the translation process and practice in the work of important poets and realize the importance of poetic translations/versions/imitations
  • write research pieces on an area in the study of literary translation



Week 1: Translation and re-translation, II

Week 2: Homer in English

Week 3: Seferis and his other voices: ‘On Gorse’

Week 4: Greek poets in English, II: Anthologies

Week 5: Greek poets in English, I: Literary journals and web publications

Week 6: Research/assignments seminar, I

Week 7: The limits of translation: Versions and experiment

Week 8: The many presences of Cavafy, I

Week 9: The many presences of Cavafy, II

Week 10: A double life: scenes of re-translation, II

Week 11: The Perfect Order, or, anatomy of editing a ‘Selected Poems’

Week 12: Study group presentations, I

Week 13: Study group presentations, II

Suggested Bibliography:

Barnstone, Willis (1993) The Poetics of Translation: History, Theory, Practice. New Haven and London: Yale University Press.

Nikolaou, Paschalis (2015) (ed.) 12 Greek Poems After Cavafy. Μπρίστολ: Shearsman Books.

Nikolaou, Paschalis (2017) The Return of Pytheas: Scenes from British and Greek Poetry in Dialogue. Μπρίστολ: Shearsman Books.

Vayenas, Nasos (2010) The Perfect Order: Selected Poems 1974-2010 (eds./trans. Richard Berengarten and Paschalis Nikolaou)Λονδίνο: Anvil Press Poetry.

Teaching Methods:

Face-to-face/ Guided, collaborative translating in class (students first prepare translations at home), working with texts of increasing difficulty and length, and across several genres. In parallel, we engage with several critical texts in translation studies and comparative literature, also investigating thoroughly a range of paratexts produced by the translator of literature (introductions, biographical notes, afterwords, etc). Study material and updates are further provided through the Department’s e-class platform.

New Technologies:

Use of ICT in teaching


Evaluation Methods:

In addition to weekly literary translation tasks, students are asked to submit a semester assignment. Students can choose from several options: a translation, or re-translation and a commentary focusing on problems encountered during the process, and further addressing productive relationships between the theory and practice of (literary) translation; an essay comparing two or more existing translations of the same text; or a longer research piece, focusing on a particular area in the study of literary translation which counts towards their obligations for both literary translation 7th semester courses in this language pair. A presentation during the final weeks originating in group study contributes to 20% of the final mark.


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