Chris Wiesenthal is a Professor in the Department of English and Film Studies, University of Alberta, Canada. Her books include works of literary criticism, poetry, an edited poetry collection, and a biography, The Half-Lives of Pat Lowther, short-listed for Canada’s Governor-General’s Award for Literary Nonfiction in 2005. Recent work includes poetry, creative non-fiction and critical essays on creative writing pedagogy, the late French Canadian novelist Gaètan Soucy, and contemporary writers Anne Carson and Aislinn Hunter. In 2017, she will be Visiting Professor in the Centre for Creative and Cultural Research at the University of Canberra, Canberra, Australia.

Ad Verbum

Translation as Transportation and the (Running) Catullan Glossary

Approaching translation as an activity, this essay considers the translation poetics encoded in Anne Carson’s Nox, a double elegy which deploys a hybrid form of glossary-bilingual dictionary as an essential component of its form. Carson’s work not only reveals translation as a recursive, layered process over time, but merges features of the classical glossarium and dictionary to work together ironically, as a means of actively subverting meaning, paradoxically destabilising comprehension even as it is ostensibly established. In this regard, Nox not only flags linguistic and cultural differences along the lines suggested by Lawrence Venuti’s notion of a ‘foreignizing’ method of translation; it also emphatically underscores the translator’s power to obscure the very border between the production and reproduction of meanings.