Images of tradition, translation, trauma

Parker, Janet (2011). Images of tradition, translation, trauma. In: Parker, Janet and Mathews, Timothy eds. Tradition, Translation, Trauma: The Classic and the Modern. Classical Presences. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 11–28.



This book deals with ‘Heaney’s refreshments: those of Pope, Walcott, Cavafy, Seferis,Ritsos; of Ahl on his Aeneid, and, not least, Heaney’s own, with Kavanagh and Longley. And with how Classic texts achieve presentness while being simultaneously and dialogically rooted in, drawing on, and forming intertexts with the past. And with exploring how that achievement is translated: passed on, received, affecting subsequent cultures, setting up the question of what this says about the processes by which texts affect over time and over space.

The initial international colloquia asked troublesome as well as refreshing questions:about the Classic and the Modern: about tradition and ‘traditionary texts’; about Modernist poets’ intertextual incorporation of the past; about the disruption, price, and pain of dislocation from tradition the Modern (necessarily?) entails . . .

The texts that run through the book are ‘extraordinarily open and adaptable [offering] structures and stories that are good to think with, functioning as imaginative models, or metaphors’. Some are concerned with why this is so, and some with the imaginative models or metaphors that are used to ‘think with’.
At the start of our collaboration, Susan Bassnett challenged us to develop unconstricting models of translation, raising images, questions, metaphors, and generating the resonances and dissonances that run through this book.

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