During the early 1950s, Argentine writer Julio Cortázar was commissioned by UNESCO to translate Edgar Allan Poe's prose into Spanish. Cortázar's deep knowledge of the English language and his acquaintance with the life and work of the American writer meant that, over the ensuing decades, he produced renditions which are still considered to be among the most literary of all twentieth-century Spanish translations of Poe's work. This article presents a detailed analysis of two paragraphs from “The Tell-Tale Heart,” comparing Cortázar's translation with other, more recent Spanish versions. I aim to show that although Cortázar's rendering is in many ways the most faithful to the original text, his sometimes nonstandard use of Spanish substantially changes the meaning of the original. For this reason, speakers of Peninsular Spanish may have difficulty in understanding his translation, and might not fully appreciate the unity of effect around which Poe composed this story.
Poe's Unity of Effect Called into Question: Revisiting Cortázar's Translation of “The Tell-Tale Heart”
josé r. ibáñez is Assistant Professor of American Literature and English Studies at the University of Almeria, Spain. He is coeditor of Contemporary Debates on the Short Story (Peter Lang, 2007), and has published, with Blasina Cantizano, Una llegada inesperada y otras historias (Encuentro, 2015), an anthology in Spanish of thirteen stories by Ha Jin. He has also published articles and book chapters on American Southern literature (O'Connor, Dubus, Crone, Gautreaux), the Jewish American short story (Malamud, Englander), and the reception of Edgar Allan Poe among nineteenth- and twentieth-century Spanish authors. He is a board member of the Edgar Allan Poe Spanish Association (EAPSA).
José R. Ibáñez; Poe's Unity of Effect Called into Question: Revisiting Cortázar's Translation of “The Tell-Tale Heart”. The Edgar Allan Poe Review 1 April 2018; 19 (1): 76–87. doi: https://doi.org/10.5325/edgallpoerev.19.1.0076
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