Bill Johnston gives a lecture entitled “Epic Foolishness: Translating Epic Narrative for the 21st Century” at the 2018 Bread Loaf Translators’ Conference. He discusses the challenges of translating not only the story of the Polish poem, Pan Tadeusz by Adam Mickiewicz, but its tones of voices, diction, and language in order to convey the feeling the author intended.
Johnston has published over thirty book-length translations from the Polish, including poetry, prose, and drama. He has won numerous awards, including the Best Translated Book Award, the PEN Translation Prize, the AATSEEL Translation Prize (twice), and the Found in Translation Award (twice). He has held fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Guggenheim Foundation. His most recent translations include Julia Fiedorczuk’s book of poetry Oxygen (2017) and Adam Mickiewicz’s epic poem Pan Tadeusz (forthcoming from Archipelago this fall). He teaches literary translation at Indiana University. Johnston’s work has also been published in NER 35.4.
All Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference readings are available online. To hear more, please visit the Bread Loaf website.