A common territory between writing and literary translation


Date: Tuesday 2 May 2023

Time: 17.00 – 18.30

Location: Nilas Library - Universitetsvägen 10 B, (hus B, plan 5)

The student council at Romklass cordially invites you to an open seminar on the topic of “A common territory between writing and literary translation” led by professional translator Giovanni Agnoloni. The event is open to all students and fika will be provided. We hope to see you there!

Foto Giovanni Agnoloni (Odense)
Giovanni Agnoloni.  Book festival “Lyrik” Odense (Danmark)

Giovanni Agnoloni is an Italian writer and literary translator whose work is mainly based on sound. There ultimately is little difference between the process of writing and that of translating a text into another language. In both activities, in fact, a creative act is implied, which consists in drawing from a palette of emotional and conceptual “voices” inhabiting the author’s mind like vibrational spectrums (or notes, or chords), and in giving them an outer “body” – actually, the words and sentences that the final text is made of.
The writer translates from the implicit text nested in his mind (and soul), and the translator writes a new text while tuning in to the intentions and emotions permeating the source one. Both of them, in different ways, are authors. The most decisive aspect of their activities is their degree of genuineness. While this includes honesty and precision, it does not equal to “impersonality”. On the contrary, the more the result is vivid and capable of making the readers (or listeners) feel there, so as to be transformed by the literary experience, the better it is.
When the text proves so effective, it generally is because it conveys sounds-and-meanings with no rational constraints, since the writer (or the translator) felt it intensely “in the process” – just as musicians respect the score written by the composer, but interpret it personally. On the contrary, when a text is dull and artistically weak, it often is so because the author couldn’t read clearly either in him/herself or in the original writer’s mind.

Giovanni Agnoloni’s talk with the students – open to their questions and remarks – will also be based on examples taken from his books and translations, including some of his own translations into English and a few excerpts of his texts translated into Swedish by Johan Arnborg.

Its overall purpose will be proposing a fascinating journey into the realms of literature, while keeping in mind the unmissable beauty and lesson coming from music and the unmistakable fruitfulness of the practice of meditation.

Giovanni Agnoloni (Florence, Italy, 1976), is a writer and translator. He is the author of the travel memoir Berretti Erasmus. Peregrinazioni di un ex studente nel Nord Europa (2020), the psychological novel Viale dei silenzi (2019) and the dystopian tetralogy Internet. Cronache della fine (2021), and he co-authored the concept-book Da luoghi lontani (2022). He wrote, edited and translated papers on J.R.R. Tolkien, and translated essays on William Shakespeare and Roberto Bolaño, as well as and books by Pope Francis, Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, Peter Straub, Amir Valle and Arsène Wenger. He also translated the Danish poet Kenneth Krabat and the Swedish author Sanja Särman. He translates professionally from English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Swedish and Polish.

His website is www.giovanniagnoloni.com.