Edited by Humphrey Tonkin and Maria Esposito Frank
[Studies in World Language Problems 3] 2010
► pp. 139–160
The Brazilian concrete poets Haroldo de Campos (1929–2003) and Augusto de Campos (b. 1931) emphasize creative translation of a synchronic selection of world literature as an integral part of neovanguard poetics and criticism. “Transcriação/transcreation” was the term coined by HC to characterize a new approach to creative literary translation, launched in Brazil with their joint translations of many of the founders of contemporary poetics, Pound, Mallarmé, cummings, Mayakovsky, and Joyce. Departing from a linguistic approach to expressive language, HC applied “transcreation” theory to his translations of Chinese poetry, Japanese haiku, and the biblical book of Genesis, among others. The translators’ goal was phonetic, syntactical, and morphological equivalency, aided by the flexibility of the Brazilian Portuguese language. AC’s translations range from French Provençal poetry to cummings, while HC’s last published translation was a Greek/Portuguese bilingual edition of The Iliad. The theory of transcreation was first applied to a constructivist, linguistic current of twentieth-century vanguard poetics, and more broadly to a synchronic construction of tradition and linguistic analysis in many languages, literatures, and periods. The translations of the Brazilian Concrete poets thus added an essential and influential component to the concept and practice of world literature. Their work as translators made available in Portuguese a more complete and complex reading of poetics grounded in language than was available in many other major languages.
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