One of Mexico’s greatest 19th century poets, Agustín F. Cuenca (1850-1884) was born in Mexico City. In 1868 he founded the Netzahualcoyotl Literary Society (named after the legendary Aztec philosopher king), together with other intellectuals like Manuel Acuña. As a journalist he contributed to the major Mexican publications of his day. He was a writer who was politically associated with the progressive liberal movement of his time, as is reflected not only in his writings as a journalist but also in his literary works. In 1881 he wrote the play “La Cadena de Hierro”, which was staged several times at the Teatro Nacional de México, and is now considered one of the greatest works of Mexican drama. Today Cuenca is considered a poet of the transition from the Romantic to the Modernist period, with a style that was both multi-faceted and experimental.
So here you are, sloughing off the cold in the warmth of this sidewalk cafe where great bar radiators blaze like fires from on high, in each upper corner, the heat raging, insane, flushing the stiff flesh of your face red, and your fingers, too stiff to clasp onto anything, as if millions of years of evolution have been undone, and here you are, Neanderthal Man, or something earlier, some creature without opposable thumbs, without the ability to grasp, prodding awkwardly at the coins in the palm of your hand…
In recent decades, many theorists of literary translation have stressed the importance of foregrounding the source culture of the translated text, to avoid what Lawrence Venuti describes as the inherent tendency of translation towards domestication, whereby the translation becomes “imprinted by the target culture, assimilated to its positions of intelligibility, its canons and taboos, its codes and ideologies” (2008: 18). As mediators for the source culture, translators have an ethical duty to convey that culture effectively to target culture readers, resisting the assimilative undertow of the translation process while at the same avoiding the temptation of easy exoticism, falling back on cultural tropes and stereotypes which, instead of enlightening and challenging target culture readers to better understand the rich complexities of the source culture, only serve to reinforce their preconceived ideas about that culture.
Conference, seminar and concert
Glendon College, York University
Friday, October 27, 11.00 a.m.
Mexico is experiencing one of the most difficult periods of its modern history. Human rights, governability, corruption, security, inequality, education, health, the environment, justice, and bilateral relations with the United States: all these are aspects of national life about which different national and international organizations, media outlets, academics and civil society are raising their voices in warning.
If you want to get under the skin of a country before you visit, its literature is a great place to start. Literary texts can reveal a vast array of insights into a country, from its politics and history to its religion and morals. They can also provide unusual takes on its popular culture and system of values. The literature of Mexico is a good example of this. Literary translation is enabling non-Spanish speaking readers to lift the lid on Mexican culture and understand the country and its past. If you want to discover this fascinating country from all angles, then read on!
The global success of a business relies on effective communication, and professional translation agencies offer the best solution to ensure this. Nearly every industry benefits from translated materials in some aspect of their business. Marketing messages, HR policies, global patent filing, and clinical trials all need to be rendered professionally into other languages to ensure local regulations are met, compliance mandates are adhered to, and your new market understands your brand messaging.
Alejandro Rossi (1932-2009) was one of Mexico’s most outstanding writers and philosophers of the twentieth century. Born in Italy to an Italian father and a Venezuelan mother, in the 1950s he arrived in Mexico, where he is remembered best today for his work as a philosopher and for his collaboration with Octavio Paz in the latter’s various cultural initiatives. As a writer, he is best known for his book Manual del distraído (“Manual of the Absent-Minded” 1978), a collection of essays and short stories that combine the thoughtful perspective of the philosopher with the aesthetic concern of the litterateur. Another example of this combination is El cielo de Sotero (“Sotero’s Heaven”, 1987), a short story that explores the universal and at the same time particularly Latin American themes of colonialism, social inequality, and revolution. It appears here now in its first published English translation, by Janice Goveas.
At the start of this year, the Diálogos website had some technical issues that unfortunately resulted in the temporary suspension of posts on the Diálogos Online Forum, as well as the removal of all the articles posted in the last few months of 2016. This technical setback, combined with an extremely busy start to 2017 due to a number of large projects, compelled me to place the Forum on hiatus for a few months. At last, I’m happy to announce that the articles that had been removed have now been restored to the Forum, and the extended hiatus has now come to an end.
As of this month, the Diálogos Online Forum has been publishing short stories, poetry, opinions and information related to Hispanic culture and Spanish-English translation for ten years. The Forum began in January 2007 as Diálogos Online Magazine, a quarterly publication featuring articles on Hispanic culture in Canada and translations of Hispanic literature. A total of eight issues were published online in 2007 and 2008; then, in 2009, the online magazine format was adapted to a blog-style journal, including all of the original articles published in the Magazine in its archives.
It was the most oft-repeated comment in the hours after Fidel Castro’s death that he was probably Canada’s favourite dictator. Canadians certainly never approved of the methods used by Fidel Castro to govern Cuba; press censorship and political repression, his insistence that the unions be managed by the government, and the arbitrary practices of his revolutionary courts would never have been welcomed in a democratic and diverse country like Canada.