Absinthe 24 pushes and prods Hellenism beyond its geographic and cultural comfort zones, and sets it tumbling off beyond both internal and external borders of its nation-state, in a wide-ranging but always site-specific and localized itinerary. At each stop along the way, this Greekness finds its plurals—hence the “Hellenisms” of the title. While they present no unified topography, tongue or even topic, these Hellenisms map out the contours of a shared conversation. Today’s Hellenism isn’t limited to Hellas, nor to the Hellenic language. The selected texts in this volume explore Greece from the perspective of visitors, displaced persons, and marginalized people looking in, or, conversely, from the perspective of locals striving to break out.
Edited by Megan Berkobien and María Cristina Hall, Barings // Bearings collects sixteen pieces of contemporary women’s writing in Catalan together with the brilliantly understated illustrations of the artist Elisa Monsó.
This special issue of Absinthe witnesses a living, Catalan language through the emotional labor of translation. It is also a testament to the thriving worlds of women’s writing in Catalan, with time-travelling fiction by Bel Olid (tr. Bethan Cunningham), regrets on pregnancy sublimated into an airborne taxi ride in a story by Tina Vallès (tr. Jennifer Arnold), Mireia Vidal-Conte’s poetry reflecting on Virginia Woolf’s suicide (tr. María Cristina Hall), a story of revenge on an abusive elderly woman by Anna Maria Villalonga (tr. Natasha Tanna), as well as reflections on war, bookstores, and generational conflict in post-Franco Spain. These often surreal pieces of Catalan fiction are informed by several essays and works of literary memoir, including those by Marta Rojals (tr. Alicia Meier) on the state of the Catalan language and Najat El Hachmi (tr. Julia Sanches) on the conditions of growing up in Catalonia as the daughter of Moroccan parents. These latter pieces resist and explore the contours of multilingualism, highlighting the intra- and interlingual reality of spoken Catalan alongside Spanish and Amazigh. Barings // Bearings invokes the feeling of a people through the work of a new generation of translators.
Absinthe 28: Orphaned of Light features contemporary literature of migration translated from and to Arabic. In short stories, creative nonfiction essays, poetry, and selections from novels, a multiplicity of migration experiences is brought to the fore: life in diaspora, undocumented labor, refugeehood, human trafficking, internal displacement, exile.
This issue brings together names familiar to readers of Arabic literature in translation, such as Ghassan Kanafani and Saadi Youssef, with writers making their English-language debuts, such as Dearborn, MI-based Kurdish Iraqi poet Gulala Nouri and Libyan novelist Mohamad Alasfar. Likewise, the issue includes veteran translators Marilyn Booth, Nancy Roberts, and Khaled Mattawa alongside newcomers, several of them graduate students at the University of Michigan.
Each piece is accompanied by a translator’s reflection that meditates on the work’s themes as well as the creative process of translation, and the issue’s poetry is presented in a side-by-side Arabic-English format.
Absinthe 28 comes to us at a time when, according to the UN, one in every 78 people on earth is displaced. This collection serves as a reminder that translation and migration are inextricably linked.
Absinthe 29: Translating Jewish Multilingualism showcases the variety of languages and genres in which modern Jewish writers have expressed themselves. Spanning short stories, essays, poetry, and selections from novels, the selection of literary works featured in this issue of Absinthe cuts across distinctions between European and non-European literary traditions and addresses diverse themes, including social class, gender, immigration, religious traditions, love and marriage, and the act of writing itself.
Rather than consider disparate Jewish languages and histories in isolation, we bring them into conversation within an open-ended framework that explores Jewish multilingualism in the modern world. The multilingual narrative of Jewish modernity told through them, in seven languages, spans from the 1880s to the 2020s.
Its wide geographical distribution ranges from Tel Aviv to São Paulo through Buenos Aires, Istanbul, Thessaloniki, Livorno, Warsaw, Prague, and Chicago. Each text and context exhibits different aspects of the Jewish encounter with the conditions of modern society, exemplifying the ways in which Jewish writing engages and negotiates different cultures and traditions.
The new volume of Absinthe foregrounds the multilingual legacy of Jewish migration and diasporic life that has become ubiquitous in modern Jewish writing, and it is evident in the enriching and disruptive presence of multiple languages and literary traditions in each of these texts. The title of this volume, Translating Jewish Multilingualism, refers both to the English translations of these texts and to the processes of translation, mediation, and hybridization encapsulated in the works themselves.
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