Translation has been a crucial process in world culture over the past two millennia and more. In the English-speaking cultures many of the most important texts are translations, from Homer to Beckett, the Bible to Freud. Although recent years have seen a boom in translation studies, there has been no comprehensive yet convenient guide to this essential element of literature in English. Written by eminent scholars from many countries, the Oxford Guide to Literature in English Translation meets this need and will be essential reading for all students of English and comparative literature. It highlights the place of translation in our culture, encouraging awareness of the issues raised, making the translator more visible. Concentrating on major writers and works, it covers translations out of many languages, from Greek to Korean, from Swahili to Russian. For some works (e.g. Virgil's Aeneid) which have been much translated, the discussion is historical and critical, showing how translation has evolved over the centuries and bringing out the differences between versions.
Elsewhere, with less familiar literatures, the Guide examines the extent to which translation has done justice to the range of work available. The Guide is divided into two parts. Part I contains substantial essays on theoretical questions, a pioneering outline of the history of translation into English, and discussions of the problems raised by specific types of text (e.g. poetry, oral literature). The second, much longer, part consists of entries grouped by language of origin; some are devoted to individual texts (e.g. the Thousand and One Nights) or writers (e.g. Ibsen, Proust), but the majority offer a critical overview of a genre (e.g. Chinese poetry, Spanish Golden Age drama) or of a national literature (e.g. Hungarian, Scottish Gaelic). There is a selective bibliography for each entry and an index of authors and translators.