Translation as Transhumance
Translation as Transhumance
This half memoir, half philosophical treatise is a humanist meditation on translation.
Translated by Ros Schwartz
Foreword by Lauren Elkin
Mireille Gansel grew up in the traumatic aftermath of her family losing everything—including their native languages—to Nazi Germany. In the 1960s and 70s, she translated poets from East Berlin and Vietnam to help broadcast their defiance to the rest of the world.
Winner of a French Voices Award, Gansel’s debut illustrates the estrangement every translator experiences for the privilege of moving between tongues, and muses on how translation becomes an exercise of empathy between those in exile.
"A revelation." —Kirkus Reviews
"Rich and moving." —Los Angeles Review of Books
"This is a book full of fascination and joy for anyone involved in or simply curious about translation. Beyond this, with its call to look beyond our own borders, it is a remarkably prescient book for our times." —The Skinny
“A tribute to the courage and bravery required in every true translation.” —World Literature Today
"At a time in which words are losing their meanings and border walls are once again growing tall, Gansel illustrates for her reader the difficult work of border crossing." —Cleaver Magazine
“This is a small but richly rewarding book, packed with gems about the challenges and unexpected delights of translation, which will prove irresistible not only to translators but also to all those who have ever wondered just what is involved in translation.” —European Literature Network
“In Translation as Transhumance, a venerable, inveterate literary translator, who has made the world her literary home, is herself translated; impeccably so, by prizewinning French specialist, Ros Schwartz. They are two translators who richly deserve each other.” —The Jewish Chronicle
"Extraordinarily thoughtful and thought-provoking from beginning to end." —Midwest Book Review
“Deeply insightful and humanistic.” —Bookwitty
“In this memoir of a translator’s adventures, Mireille Gansel shows us what it means to enter another language through its culture, and to enter the life of another culture through its language. A sensitive and insightful book, which illuminates the difficult, and often underestimated task of translation—and the role of literature in making for a more interconnected and humane world.” —Eva Hoffman, author of Lost in Translation: A Life in a New Language
“A history not just of twentieth century poetry but of that dark century itself, from the rise of the Nazis to the American bombing of North Vietnam, and yields too a rare insight into the nature of language and the splendors and limitations of translation.” —Gabriel Josipovici, author of What Ever Happened to Modernism?
"This memoir tells of a life forged by encounters, by humble desire to reach out to and understand the other. It is a subtle, moving, and at times sad testimony that talks of poetry, the dialogue with consciousness, commitment and values that are essential to literature and to life itself." —Marina Warner, author of Once Upon a Time: A Short History of Fairy Tale
Interested in teaching this book? Download a sample educator's guide here!