Poland’s Most Famous Translator Dies

Stanisław Barańczak

Stanisław Barańczak

Stanisław Barańczak was born on 13 November 1946 in Poznań. After finishing high school, he attended and graduated from Adam Mickiewicz University, specialising in Polish literature. His literary debut was a poetry volume entitled “Korekta twarzy”. Stanisław Barańczak’s impressive output revolves around four main fields: academic and critical work in the field of literature, essays, poetic work and translation. The most significant of his translations are those of Shakespeare plays, for example Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, As You Like It, King Lear, The Tempest, The Merchant of Venice, Midsummer Night’s Dream, Macbeth and The Taming of the Shrew. “Barańczak’s writing taught us critical thinking, which was independent from mass hypnosis,” wrote Adam Michnik recently. “He is the subject of admiration for all of us engaged in matters of Polish literature. His particular mixture of a poet, a translator and a literary critic all in one, is very unusual. Having said that I admit I value his work as a poet the most,” wrote Czesław Miłosz on the occasion of Barańczak’s fiftieth birthday. The prestigious NIKE award, which Barańczak received in 1990 for his book of poems “Chirurgiczna precyzja”, is one of his most important literary achievements. Critics name his “Dziennik Poranny” published in 1972 and “Widokówka z tego świata” from 1988 as prominent, key works.
reblogged from Newzar

Poland’s Premier Translator Dies

RIP Stanisław Barańczak

RIP Stanisław Barańczak

Stanisław Barańczak, the outstanding Polish poet, translator and literary critic, has died at the age of 68, in Boston, Massachusetts, where he had lived since 1981. For well over a decade he struggled with Parkinson’s disease. He was a key figure for Polish intellectuals of his generation, his students and readers, comanding respect both as a person of integrity and as a brilliant polymath. People who met him recall Barańczak as someone exceedingly gifted, hard-working and prolific, charismatic in his contacts with others yet modest and kind, as well as extremely demanding of himself and principled. He was equally dedicated to his work as a university lecturer, first in Poznań and then at Harvard, as he was to his own writing and translating. His peers admired him for his engagement in the Polish democratic opposition movement in the 1960s and 1970s. Barańczak’s restless mind, discipline and his extraordinary ability to give artistic expression to linguistic and poetic subtleties across languages left an impressive legacy. Antoni Libera, his long-time friend, remembers that Barańczak mentioned having translated over 2,000 poems. “Miłość jest wszystkim, co istnieje” (Love Is Everything That Exists), an anthology of 300 of the most famous English and American love poems selected and translated by Stanisław Barańczak, published in 1992, was a landmark book which introduced many Poles to the poetry of English-writing authors. Barańczak also translated into Polish 24 of Shakespeare’s plays. Polish actors in particular appreciate the lively, sparkling and rhythmic language of these translations. Stanisław Barańczak was an excellent essayist, who left an ample collection of lucid and insightful texts of literary criticism. Importantly for translators and aspiring translators, he published a series of perceptive, discerning and instructive observations on the art and craft of translation with descriptions of some tricks of the trade and explanations of specific linguistic choices. His merits in popularising Polish literature abroad, especially in the English speaking world, an activity he indefatigably pursued as a co-translator and a university lecturer, have been invaluable.
Reblogged from newzar.wordpress.com