An extraordinary panel of translators and writers celebrated Jenny McPhee’s new translation of Natalia Ginzburg’s novel, Family Lexicon, last Friday at Casa Italiana. The panel, composed entirely of women, was moderated by historian Ruth Ben-Ghiat, and featured Jhumpa Lahiri, Ann Goldstein, Giovanni Calvino, Lynne Sharon Schwartz, and Jenny McPhee. As a surprise guest, Natalia Ginzburg’s daughter, Alessandra Ginzburg, also joined the discussion.
Natalia Ginzburg’s stories of her family were woven throughout the panelists wonderfully collaborative and enticing discussion about the art and science of translation. Among the many ideas explored were Jhumpa Lahiri’s vivid descriptions of climbing into the basement of the novel to examine the mechanics of a writer’s language. Jenny McPhee described Ginzburg’s writing as deceptively simple in style but extraordinarily complex in meaning, using uncomplicated language to reveal layers of meaning.
Casa Italiana had a full house with an overflow room to accommodate as many guests as possible. The conversation, and the stories each woman told, to illuminate their relationship to writing, language, and to mining the depths of another’s writing when translating, were riveting. The serendipitous timing of McPhee’s translation of Lessico Famigliare was not lost on the panel, or the audience, given its relevance to our current political climate.
To find out more about translation and literature, you can look through CALA’s course offerings for the summer semester and register today:
- Introduction to Translation
- Introduction to CAT and Terminology Management
- Reading Dante’s Inferno
- Literature for the 21st Century
- American Noir Novels
- Detective Narratives: From Sherlock Holmes to Inspector Morse and Beyond
- Bob Dylan: American Culture’s Defiant Prophet
- Greek Lyric Poetry
- John Galsworthy’s Forsyte Saga: Men and Women in the Edwardian Age
And for those of you who are serious about learning the art of translation, we also offer an MS in Translation.
Lastly, you can check out more of the pictures from the panel below courtesy of Suzanne Kaplan-Fonseca. Thank you all for such an inspiring event!