Mallarmé Online Translation Case Study – Competition Results

Earlier this year, we launched an online case translation case study using manuscripts from Récréations postales by Stéphane Mallarmé. Posting images of these manuscripts on this site, we invited visitors to look at these short poems and a prose translation and then propose their own versions in what ever form or language suits.

At the same time, colleagues at the Universities of Leeds, Glasgow, Oxford, St Andrews and Bristol circulated the same materials to their students as part of a translation competition. Over 40 submissions were received and today we’re pleased to announce that the winner is James Baty (Oxford) who offered a version of Mallarmé’s quatrain to the painter Berthe Morisot (‘Mrs Eugène Manet’):

Apporte ce livre quand naît

Sur le Bois l’Aurore amaranthe

Chez Madame Eugène Manet

Rue au loin Villejust quarante

When amaranthine Dawn shall rise

above the Bois, transport this tome

to Madame Manet’s waiting eyes

at forty, Rue Villejust, her home.

Mallarmé’s Quatrain to Berthe Morisot in Special Collections at the Glasgow University Library

Our judges, Martin Sorrell (Professor Emeritus at the University of Exeter) and Jennifer Higgins (Director of the Translation Exchange) commented: ‘It’s deceptively simple, and captures the lovely understated feel of Mallarmé’s French.’

As a prize for the competition, James has been sent a copy of Stéphane Mallarmé: The Poems in Verse, signed by the translator, Peter Manson who has inscribed the copy with an unpublished version of one of Mallarmé’s occasional verses.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be adding submissions from the competition to the site. So check back for more examples. The online case study will remain open for more translations until the end of October. For our final network event at Glasgow in December, we shall be launching a digital exhibition of a larger selection from the same manuscripts and aim to incorporate as many of these different translation suggestions into the accompanying materials as we can manage. So why not submit your own!


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