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  • The Limits of Literary Translation: Expanding Frontiers in Iberian Languages eds. by Javier Muñoz-Basols et al.
  • Ana Osan
Muñoz-Basols, Javier, Catarina Fouto, Laura Soler González, and Tyler Fisher, eds. The Limits of Literary Translation: Expanding Frontiers in Iberian Languages. Kassel: Reichenberger, 2012. Pp. 370. ISBN 978-3-937-73497-2.

The Limits of Literary Translation brings together seventeen essays that examine the shifting linguistic frontiers in literary translation among Iberian languages, as well as translation between them and other languages. The essays are grouped into three sections according to the genres they address—narrative, poetry, and drama—, and the volume concludes with a final section, titled “Beyond the limits: New Trends in Literary Translation.”

The first part, “The Limits of Literary Translation in Prose Narrative,” addresses the translations of books by canonical and present-day Hispanic authors. In the opening essay, Milton Acevedo considers the challenges presented by the difficulties of translating archaic diction and achieving historical fidelity in several of Arturo Pérez-Reverte’s novels. Branka Kalenić Ramšak, in a second essay, applies the principles uttered by Don Quixote regarding translation to two translations and one adaptation of Don Quixote in order to evaluate the function of translation in the way Cervantes’s masterpiece was received in Slovenia. Daniela Omlor studies Julián Marias’s use of translation as a metaphor for the difficulties encountered when dealing with the reality of human experience in his novel Tu rostro mañana. It is refreshing to hear her say that, ultimately, the final step in translation must be carried out by the reader. In the closing essay of this first part, Sarah Roger shows that Borges values the text itself first of all, but understands that there is a close relationship between the text, the author, and its translator.

“The Limits of Literary Translation in Poetry,” the second part of this book, exposes an ample point of view on the methodologies of translating poetry in different languages. John Rutherford, in the initial essay, claiming that literary translation should be a mixture of domestication and estranging, goes on to describe how he translated the Medieval Galician cantigas. The second essay, by Pasuree Luesakul, delves into the translation of Neruda’s Veinte poemas de amor y una canción desesperada from Spanish into Thai. Luesakul explains that Thai is a tonal and monosyllabic language and that, by using domestication and a certain foreignness, he hoped to create an acceptable cultural space that could satisfy the expectations of the Thai readers of these poems. In a third essay, Ronald Puppo makes us aware that, while translating the nineteenth-century Catalan poet Jacint Verdaguer’s epic of Catalonia, Canigó: Llegenda pirenaica del temps de la Reconquista, he was able to discover a number of “intertextual others,” and he brings to light the resolution of problems he had with the translation of Verdaguer’s verses by turning to his Anglophone contemporaries. Clara Marías Martínez, in a fourth essay, scrutinizes the ten Spanish translations from the fifteenth to the sixteenth centuries of Petrarch’s Sonnet 132 “S’amor non è.” After analyzing the different translations, she ponders whether they can be categorized as imitations or simply translations. Finally, in the fifth essay, Marcello Giugliano focuses on the translation of the mimesis of orality in Robert Frost’s poems, and concludes that, depending on the emphasis of what devices the translator decides to place in the text, he/she will achieve a change in the balance of the poem in order to imbue life into new configurations.

The last part dealing with genre, “The Limits of Literary Translation in Theatre and Dramatic Monologue,” contains five essays. In the first one, Jorge Braga Riera wonders whether there are limits to drama translation, and to what extent translations destroy the literature of the original texts when personal interpretations of the plays exceed the projected limits of the translator’s [End Page 519] assignment. In the following essay, Amaranta Saguar García evaluates two translations of Celestina into German that the sixteenth-century humanist Christof Wirsung did within a period of fourteen years, and attributes the differences to the translation techniques...