Competing with Illustrious Forerunners: Browne, Borges, and Bioy Casares

Gareth Wood

in Javier Marías's Debt to Translation

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780199651337
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191741180 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Modern Languages and Literature Monographs

Competing with Illustrious Forerunners: Browne, Borges, and Bioy Casares

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This chapter takes on further close reading of Marías's translations, on this occasion another of the substantial projects of his early career, translating Sir Thomas Browne. Initially, the chapter discusses Marías's dismissal of the Spanish version of William Faulkner's The Wild Palms produced by the Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges. Borges's fame as a polyglot, translator, and writer doubtless underpins Marías's desire to supersede this particular illustrious forerunner. Discussion of Marías's claims in relation to The Wild Palms is used as a way of broaching a comparison of Marías translation of the fifth chapter of Hydriotaphia by Sir Thomas Browne with that produced jointly by Borges and Adolfo Bioy Casares. Browne's treatise on ancient burial rites, and its fifth chapter in particular, are regarded as among the finest pieces of English prose ever written and the analysis of two Spanish versions provides a rich opportunity to examine the relative merits of Marías and Borges as translators. Efraín Kristal's critical study of Borges the translator provides a source for insight into the Borges industry.

Keywords: Sir Thomas Browne; Hydriotaphia or Urn Burial; Jorge Luis Borges;Adolfo Bioy Casares; Efraín Kristal; William Faulkner; The Wild Palms

Chapter.  13069 words. 

Subjects: Literature

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