Cover of Translating Neruda by John Felstiner
Translating Neruda
The Way to Macchu Picchu
John Felstiner


284 pages.

Paperback ISBN: 9780804713276



What goes into the translating of a poem? Usually that process gets

forgotten once the new poem stands intact in translation. Yet a verse

translation derives from historical, biographical, and philosophical

research, interpretive analysis of the original poem, and continuous

linguistic and prosodic choices that parallel those the poet made. Taking as a text Pablo Neruda's brilliant prophetic sequence Alturas de

Macchu Picchu (1945), the author here re-creates the entire process of

translation, from his first encounter with the poem to the last shaping of

a phrase that may never come right in English. This many-faceted book

forms an essay on the theory and practice of literary translation, a study

of Neruda's career through 1945, and an interpretation of his major poem, all of which lead to a striking new poem in English, Heights of Macchu Picchu, printed along with the original Spanish. This genesis of a verse translation also includes little-known biographical data, hitherto untranslated poems and prose from the years 1920 to 1945, and new translations of key poems from Neruda's Residence on Earth and Spain in My Heart.

About the author

John Felstiner is Professor of English at Stanford University