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Writing between the Lines

Portraits of Canadian Anglophone Translators

Agnes Whitfield

Publication Year: 2006

The essays in Writing between the Lines explore the lives of twelve of Canada’s most eminent anglophone literary translators, and delve into how these individuals have contributed to the valuable process of literary exchange between francophone and anglophone literatures in Canada.

Through individual portraits, this book traces the events and life experiences that have led W.H. Blake, John Glassco, Philip Stratford, Joyce Marshall, Patricia Claxton, Doug Jones, Sheila Fischman, Ray Ellenwood, Barbara Godard, Susanne de Lotbinire-Harwood, John Van Burek, and Linda Gaboriau into the complex world of literary translation. Each essay-portrait examines why they chose to translate and what linguistic and cultural challenges they have faced in the practice of their art. Following their relationships with authors and publishers, the translators also reveal how they have defined the goals and the process of literary translation.

Containing original, detailed biographical and bibliographical material, Writing between the Lines offers many new insights into the literary translation process, and the diverse roles of the translator as social agent. The first text on Canadian translators, it makes a major contribution in the areas of literary translation, comparative literature, Canadian literature, and cultural studies.

Published by: Wilfrid Laurier University Press


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pp. v-vi

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pp. 1-18

The motivation for this book grew out of a desire to explore the individual experience of some of Canada's most eminent contemporary anglophone literary translators, to delve beneath biography in order to capture the intercultural spirit writing between the lines. The translators profiled here will be immediately recognized by readers of Canadian literature and ...

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1. William Hume Blake, or the Translator as Amateur Ethnologist

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pp. 19-36

Philippe Dubé's chronicle of two centuries of social life in Murray Bay, Charlevoix County, Québec, includes a photograph of William Hume Blake (1861-1924) standing by his canoe.1 He has a pipe in one hand and a wicker basket of provisions in the other; his eyes are turned dreamily toward the sky. He is surely about to embark on one of his many ...

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2. Glassco Virtuoso

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pp. 37-52

Speaking of his friend "Buffy" Glassco on CBC radio nearly a year after Glassco's death, D.G. Jones described him as "something of an extraordinary mixture."1 A poet and translator, Glassco (1909-81) had lived a large part of his life in the Eastern Townships and taken an active interest in his rural community. He had delivered the mail along the country roads around ...

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3. Joyce Marshall, or the Accidental Translator

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pp. 53-74

Joyce Marshall is first and foremost a writer whose professional career began in the mid-1930s. Students of Canadian literature know her as the author of two novels and many short stories, a number of which have been broadcast and published. It was not until 1959 that she began what was to become a distinguished career as a literary translator, attracting critical ...

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4. Philip Stratford: The Comparatist as Smuggler

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pp. 75-106

Poet, literary critic, translator, and professor, Philip Stratford (1927-99) was one of the most outspoken representatives of a generation of Canadian intellectuals who believed that translation could effectively bridge the cultural and political gap between English Canada and Québec. In a series of monographs, articles, prefaces, and translator's notes spanning almost thirty ...

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5. On D.G. Jones and Translating Outside

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pp. 107-137

D.G. Jones, to quote fellow writer George Bowering, "embodies the spirit of the Anglo-Saxon poet in a strange wintery land, the first morning outside [European] Eden";1 Bowering's article is intriguingly entitled "Coming Home to the World." In his house in North Hatley, in the Eastern Townships of Québec, the award-winning poet and translator rests sideways ...

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6. Patricia Claxton: A Civil Translator

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pp. 139-168

Patricia Claxton embodies the role of the translator as a civil agent, with rights and responsibilities within a civic society, and more specifically, like the civil engineer, called upon to ensure the constructive and logistical functions that facilitate the safe circulation of people and ideas. The term "civil" has a wide variety of meanings and associations: relating to a ...

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7. Sheila Fischman: The Consummate Professional

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pp. 169-202

Sheila Fischman is doubtlessly one of the best-known and most prolific literary translators working in Canada today.1 An enthusiastic promoter of contemporary Québec literature with close to one hundred book-length translations to her name, she has been a major force in creating an English-speaking audience for the authors of Québec. Over the last thirty ...

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8. Transformations of Barbara Godard

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pp. 203-224

In 1974, the newly formed Association for Canadian and Québec Literatures (ACQL) held an inaugural conference at the Learned Societies Congress in Toronto.1 It was a heady moment in scholarly exchange and the institutional legitimization of our two "national" literatures.2 As the on-site program organizer, Barbara Godard helped Sandra Djwa plan the session ...

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9. Ray Ellenwood: The Translator as Activist

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pp. 225-244

An eloquent and impassioned advocate of the importance of translation to Canadian culture, Ray Ellenwood has been an outspoken champion for those who choose the difficult path of literary translation for the love of it. One of the first presidents of the LTAC (the Literary Translators' Association of Canada) and a long-time member of the executive, Ellenwood ...

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10. Susanne de Lotbinière-Harwood: Totally Between

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pp. 245-266

Recipient of such distinguished awards as the Literary Translators' Association of Canada's John Glassco Prize (1981) and Columbia University's Felix-Antoine Savard Prize (1991), Susanne de Lotbinière-Harwood came to translation almost by accident. In 1979, when working as a journalist for the Montreal Star, she was asked to translate some lyrics by the Québécois ...

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11. John Van Burek: Bringing Tremblay to Toronto

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pp. 267-286

John Van Burek has earned national and international recognition for his work in the theatre as a director, teacher, and translator. In collaboration with Bill Glassco,1 he has been instrumental in introducing and maintaining a French-language and Québec presence in the Toronto theatre scene. Over the last thirty years, he has produced and translated more than ten ...

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12. Linda Gaboriau: Playing with Performance

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pp. 287-308

In an interview published in a special issue of Canadian Theatre Review devoted to theatre and translation, Linda Gaboriau observes that many Canadians are surprised to learn that the mother of Michel Tremblay, the "quintessentially Québécois playwright," was "part Indian, and that her mother grew up in Saskatchewan."1 Many Canadians might also be surprised ...

List of Contributors

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pp. 309-312

E-ISBN-13: 9780889209084
Print-ISBN-13: 9780889204928
Print-ISBN-10: 0889204926

Page Count: 318
Publication Year: 2006