Alejandra Pizarnik as Translator

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Abstract / Description of output

Argentinian poet Alejandra Pizarnik (1936-1972) is a key figure in Latin American poetry of the second half of the 20th century, and although her poetry has been the focus of much attention, her work as a translator has to date been relatively overlooked, despite translation being a prominent aspect of her working practice. This article examines in detail Pizarnik's two major published translation projects: La inmaculada concepcion (1972), a translation of the key surrealist work L'Immaculee conception (The Immaculate Conception, 1930), co-authored by Andre Breton and Paul Eluard, and La vida tranquila (1972), her version of Marguerite Duras' little known second novel La vie tranquille (The Quiet Life, 1944). The article argues that Pizarnik's translations are systematically inflected by her own thematic obsessions and aesthetic convictions, and shaped by the radically changed socio-literary context of the moment of translation. Her version of Breton and Eluard grows out of her critical relationship to surrealism S objectification of women, and her rendering of Duras's idiosyncratic style responds to her search for a more woman-centred and poetic prose discourse. Through Duras, Pizarnik is able vicariously to fulfill her longstanding desire for writing a novel.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)43-66
Number of pages24
JournalThe Translator
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2010

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Gender
  • Paul E‰luard
  • Surrealism
  • Marguerite Duras
  • André Breton
  • Alejandra Pizarnik


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