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About this Conference and Conversation Series

Watch the recording for this event below:

Join us for Week 12 of Translating the Future as we continue our series of conversations between translators with Channeling Ghost Languages of Europe” with Martin Puchner and Peter Constantine, moderated by Tess Lewis.

What is lost when a language is lost? How can all that the language meant be conveyed to someone outside its community of speakers? Martin Puchner, whose forthcoming book is on Rotwelsch, a secret thieves' cant of the Central European underworld, discusses linguistic hauntings with Peter Constantine, a terminal speaker of Arvanitika, spoken in the Corinthian mountains of southern Greece, with translator Tess Lewis moderating.

Click here to register for this event and for the link to the livestream. Free and open to the public, the livestream will start at Tue, July 28th, at 1:30 PM (EDT).

The conversations will be hosted by Esther Allen & Allison Markin Powell. *Viewers can submit questions during the livestreaming at [email protected].

Speaker Bios:

Peter Constantine’s recent translations include works by Augustine, Solzhenitsyn, Rousseau, Machiavelli, Gogol and Tolstoy. He is a Guggenheim Fellow and was awarded the PEN Translation Prize for Six Early Stories by Thomas Mann, and the National Translation Award for The Undiscovered Chekhov. He is the director of the Program in Literary Translation at the University of Connecticut, the publisher of World Poetry Books, and editor-in-chief of New Poetry in Translation. Among the last speakers of Corinthian Arvanitika, a language of Greece, he is currently involved in documentation and conservation efforts on behalf of this severely endangered language.

Martin Puchner is the Byron and Anita Wien Professor of Drama and of English and Comparative Literature at Harvard University. His prize-winning books and anthologies range from philosophy to the arts, and his best-selling Norton Anthology of World Literature and his HarvardX online course have brought 4000 years of literature to students across the globe. His most recent book, The Written World, which tells the story of literature from the invention of writing to the internet, is being translated into twenty languages. He is a member of the European Academy and has received numerous awards, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Cullman Center Fellowship at the New York Public Library, the Berlin Prize, and the Massachusetts Book Award. His forthcoming book, The Language of Thieves, interweaves family memoir with a reflection on Rotwelsch, the underground language of Central Europe, which he learned from his father and uncle.

Tess Lewis is a writer and translator from French and German. Her translations of Walter Benjamin, Maja Haderlap, Philippe Jaccottet, Christine Angot and others have received several awards including the 2016 ACFNY Translation Prize, the 2017 PEN Translation Prize, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. She has written on European literature for World Literature Today, Partisan Review, The American Scholar, Bookforum, among other journals. She is an Advisory Editor for The Hudson Review and a curator of Festival Neue Literature, New York City’s annual festival of German language literature in English.

Translating the Future:

Visit Translating the Future page here for the complete conference Program, video recordings of previous events in this series, as well as archival audio recordings, articles, the original program, and more history from PEN's 1970 World of Translation conference.

This conference and conversation series is co-sponsored by PEN America, the Center for the Humanities at The Graduate Center, CUNY, and the Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library, with additional support from the Martin E. Segal Theatre Center.