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If This Be Treason


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About the Author

Gregory Rabassa is the recipient of multiple prizes and the translator of One Hundred Years of Solitude, among other classic works.


Without Rabassa (romance languages & comparative literature, Queens Coll.), few English speakers would have encountered the works of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Julio Cortazar, Mario Vargas Llosa, Jorge Amado, and numerous other Spanish- and Portuguese-language writers. Rabassa's translations of these writings have made him one of the leading translators of Latin American literature. So why call translation treason? He addresses that question in Part 1, "The Onset of Perfidy," with reflections on the nuances of language, his linguistic background (he is fluent in five languages), and his surprising methods of translation-he begins while reading the text the first time. Ironically, this technique allows him to escape "literary treason" by remaining true to the writer's narrative and intent. In Part 2, "The Bill of Particulars," he devotes each chapter to an author-30 in all-whose works he has translated into English, describing his relationship with that author and the background of the work. This is certainly an academic work, even a bit dry at times, but quite suitable for college libraries. Yet clarity and anecdotes render it engrossing and accessible to many public library patrons as well.-Nedra Crowe-Evers, Sonoma Cty. Lib., CA Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

"If translators are the anonymous heroes of contemporary literature, its anonymous superhero is Gregory Rabassa." -- The New York Times Book Review
"The best Latin American writer in the English language." -- Gabriel Garcia Marquez
"Widely considered one of the greatest practitioners of his craft." -- The New York Times
"In this supple narrative, packed with erudition and yet leavened by Rabassa's mordant, often self-effacing wit, less becomes more." -- Newsweek
"Excellent literary entertainment. Read these pages while sipping a Brazilian caipirinha, and you'll spend a fine and mellow evening." -- Michael Dirda - The Washington Post
"An insider's view that is available nowhere else, and everyone, neophytes as well as past or present Spanish majors, can profit from it." -- The LA Times Book Review

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