The 5-1: Get to Know Translator Elizabeth Harris

5-1 Questionnaire

Elizabeth Harris

Elizabeth Harris has translated Italian authors like Domenico Starnone,
Mario Rigoni Stern, Giulio Mozzi, and Marco Candida. Her recent
translations appear in The Missouri Review, The Kenyon Review, and Words Without Borders, as well as in Dalkey Archive’s Best European Fiction 2010
(Mozzi) and Best European Fiction 2011(Candida).

1.Name your 5 favorite translated books:
Achh! Hard! The older translations
of these aren’t considered the most “accurate.” But I fell in love with
the authors with these translated versions, and it’s hard to let go…

Anton Chekhov’s Short Stories
, Norton Edition, various translators
Collected Stories of Isaac Babel, translated by Walter Morison (OOP)

Madame Bovary
by Gustave Flaubert, translated by Francis Steegmuller

One Hundred Years of Solitude
by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, translated by Gregory Rabassa

Complete Stories of Franz Kafka
, translated by Willa and Edwin Muir

2. Name 4 favorite translators:
Achh again!

Constance Garnett
William Weaver
Gregory Rabassa
John DuVal

3. Name 3 books you wish you could translate:

Elio Vittorini’s Conversazione in Sicilia
Premo Levi’s Se Questo è un uomo (currently being re-translated by another of my favorite translators, Ann Goldstein)
Giovanni Verga’s Collected Stories

Pipedreams, all.

4. Name 2 things you try to avoid when you translate:

I try to avoid translating work I don’t love: when I translate something I don’t love, I get depressed.

I also try to avoid imposing myself too much on the original story or
novel even while I also always try to remember that my translation has
to work, has to be beautiful, in English.

5. What are you working on now?
I’m just finishing up a story collection by Giulio Mozzi, Questo è il giardino (This is the Garden).
I’m also working on Marco Candida’s novel, Il diario dei sogni (“Dream Diary”).

Constance Garnett
William Weaver

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