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Livestreamed on this page on Tuesday 28 July 2020 at 10:30 a.m. PDT (San Francisco, UTC -7) / 12:30 p.m. CDT (Chicago, UTC -5) / 1:30 p.m. EDT (New York, UTC -4) / 18:30 BST (London, UTC +1) / 19:30 CEST (Berlin, UTC +2).

United States
Tuesday 28 July 2020

Channeling Ghost Languages of Europe

with Martin Puchner and Peter Constantine, moderated by Tess Lewis

Tuesday 28 July 2020

PEN America, the Center for the Humanities at CUNY Graduate Center, and the Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library presented Channeling Ghost Languages of Europe livestreamed on the global, commons-based, peer-produced HowlRound TV network at howlround.tv on Tuesday 28 July 2020 at 10:30 a.m. PDT (San Francisco, UTC -7) / 12:30 p.m. CDT (Chicago, UTC -5) / 1:30 p.m. EDT (New York, UTC -4) / 18:30 BST (London, UTC +1) / 19:30 CEST (Berlin, UTC +2).

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.

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.

About this Conference and Conversation Series

Translating the Future launched with weekly hour-long online conversations with renowned translators throughout the late spring and summer and will culminate in late September with several large-scale programs, including a symposium among Olga Tokarczuk's translators into languages including English, Japanese, Hindi, and more.

The conference, 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, commemorates and carries forward PEN's 1970 World of Translation conference, convened by Gregory Rabassa and Robert Payne, and featuring Muriel Rukeyser, Irving Howe, Isaac Bashevis Singer, and many others. It billed itself as "the first international literary translation conference in the United States" and had a major impact on US literary culture.

The conversations are hosted by Esther Allen & Allison Markin Powell.

About HowlRound TV

HowlRound TV is a global, commons-based peer produced, open access livestreaming and video archive project stewarded by the nonprofit HowlRound. HowlRound TV is a free and shared resource for live conversations and performances relevant to the world's performing arts and cultural fields. Its mission is to break geographic isolation, promote resource sharing, and to develop our knowledge commons collectively. Participate in a community of peer organizations revolutionizing the flow of information, knowledge, and access in our field by becoming a producer and co-producing with us. Learn more by going to our participate page. For any other queries, email tv@howlround.com, or call Vijay Mathew at +1 917.686.3185 Signal/WhatsApp. View the video archive of past events.

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