Thursday, January 21, 2010

3 items involving David Wallace

by J J Cohen
  1. David Wallace was kind enough to send me an offprint of his recent article "Problematics of European Literary History, 1348-1400," just out in The Construction of Textual Identity in Medieval and Early Modern Literature, ed. Indira Ghose and Denis Renevey. Those of you who read the GW MEMSI blog may remember that he gave a version of the piece as a talk here in DC last year. The essay is a challenging meditation on thinking literary history outside the constraints of nation, proposing an itinerary-based approach. Well worth checking out. There is a marvelous website in progress for the project here on which the journeys may be plotted and the stopping points mapped. The Guggenheim Foundation has supported this ongoing, massive project through a grant.
  2. I'd left the offprint of David's essay on the dining room table and found my twelve year old son reading it as he ate his morning bowl of cereal. "I have nothing to read!" he stated, giving me an accusing look for not having purchased more novels from the Dragonlance series for him. "Look what I'm reduced to!" Before I could formulate a smart reply, he did add, "It's pretty good, actually."
  3. David also sent me the news that Prof. Alireza Mahdipour of Urmia University in Iran has translated some of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales into Farsi. They have been published by Cheshmeh Publishers of Tehran. Professor Mahdipour writes that they are "in two volumes of bilingual edition, and in verse form, Mathnavi, which is nearer to heroic couplet." Fascinating how Chaucer travels. I have PDFs of some of these translations; please email me if you would like to see them.


Viator said...

Quite a lad you've got there. I'm not a parent (beagles notwithstanding), but I'm rather hoping you'll have embarked on a parental tips blog by the time I get there.

Eileen Joy said...

David Wallace et alia's collaborative Guggenheim-funded project, "Regeneration: A Literary History of Europe, 1348-1418," looks utterly fascinating and it is also just the sort of project that demonstrates the relevance of medieval studies to the contemporary global polis--in this case, to all sorts of contests and debates [political, linguistic, cultural, nationalist, and otherwise] over what constitutes "Europe" and why that matters. It also looks like, once completed, this project will fundamentally alter the way in which something like a "literary tradition" would have to be taught, with a definitive move from so-called "nationalisms" to "trans-nationalisms" and the like. Very exciting.

Suzanne Akbari said...

It's interesting to notice which of the Canterbury Tales Prof. Mahdipour has chosen for the first selections in his bilingual edition -- vol 1 is the Gen Prol, NPT and Pard Prol and T. I don't know to what extent these were chosen to accommodate the inclinations of censors, but they're interesting choices, maybe motivated by the cross-cultural referents in the NPT and Pard T. Prof. Mahdipour has rendered the CT in a standard literary Farsi verse form (Mathnavi), which is also a nice expression of how 'western' text can be assimilated into 'eastern' forms. I hope his work finds a North American or European distributor for the bilingual readers in the Iranian diaspora. And the kind of work that David Wallace is doing is tremendously enabling both for this sort of cross-cultural exchange and interaction, and also in the effort to construct a fuller, more truthful history of the medieval past.