Modern and Contemporary Literature Research Seminar: 'Mourning in Translation: An Elegy’s Six-Hundred-Year Journey'

This talk reflects on the extraordinary six-hundred-year journey made by an elegy that the American poet-philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson repeatedly translated, years after his son’s death. What happens to the original poem that the Persian classical poet Sa‘di wrote for his son when it crosses into a sixteenth-century Ottoman Turkish commentary, which makes it available to a nineteenth-century German translation, before arriving in Emerson’s hands? This cross-cultural, translingual, transhistorical reworking of another grieving father’s poem can help us probe questions about the relations among elegiac poetry, translation, and mourning.

To be followed by a drinks reception