Master Class – How does Kafka sound like Kafka, Borges like Borges and Flaubert like Flaubert? It is the task of the translator to master the stylistic nuances that give each of these writers his own distinctive voice.
Careful control of tone, diction and syntax are key to the translator's art, and becoming familiar with the translator's toolkit is an excellent way for any writer to improve her understanding of how style and voice are created in writing prose.
In this four-part master class, we will be analyzing and retranslating short passages from a number of works written originally in several different languages, always with an eye to discovering how voice is created in the original text and exploring different ways of reimagining this voice in English. We will visit Gregor Samsa's bedroom on one particularly trying morning, then drop in on characters including Mme Bovary, Anna Karenina and the scholars investigating Uqbar and Tlön, and also look at brief excerpts of contemporary writing from Germany and elsewhere. Exercises will focus on craft: rhythm, pacing, tone, syntax and style level.
Please be in possession of a Roget's thesaurus (indexed, not in dictionary form—the Roget's International Thesaurus published by HarperCollins is a good choice). No knowledge of a foreign language required.
See the Writing MFA Program page for all course information and requirements.