Tag Archive for romance languages

French Students Offer a Glimpse of Wesleyan’s History

Students from Wesleyan’s French 325 class Museums, Objects and Empire, recently presented a pop-up exhibition on the history that surrounds Wesleyan’s former museum that once occupied Judd Hall from 1871 to 1957.

Students from Wesleyan’s French 325 class Museums, Objects and Empire, recently presented an exhibit on the history that surrounds Wesleyan’s former museum that once occupied Judd Hall from 1871 to 1957. Included was information on the Wesleyan’s missionary past; history on Javanese gamelan and ethnomusicology at Wesleyan; and a mummy, acquired by Wesleyan in the 1880s.

Wesleyan to Offer Muslim Studies Certificate

muslimstyThe certificate, approved by the faculty on April 25, was proposed by steering committee members Peter Gottschalk, professor of religion, director of the Office of Faculty Career Development; Typhaine Leservot, associate professor of French studies, chair of the Romance Languages and Literatures Department, associate professor of letters; and Ioana Emy Matesan, assistant professor of government, tutor in the College of Social Studies.

“Students in the certificate program will gain an appreciation for the diversity among Muslims geographically, culturally, historically, and religiously,” Leservot said. “They will become accomplished in multi-disciplinary and inter-disciplinary approaches to the study of Muslim communities and their expressions and productions. In an American setting in which stereotypes reduce the more than 1 billion Muslims around the globe to singular caricatures, this represents no small accomplishment.”

The Muslim Studies Certificate will mirror an existing certificate in Jewish and Israeli Studies. Students must complete six designated courses in a range of areas, including contemporary society and practice; literary, artistic and musical studies; and historical inquiry. Courses involving Muslim studies already offered by more than a dozen faculty members will be included.

“This new certificate will highlight Wesleyan’s remarkable collection of faculty, courses, and resources for students interested in studying the lives of Muslims around the globe,” Gottschalk said. “Our faculty teach and conduct research in fields as diverse as Arabic, art history, College of Letters, English, French, government, history, music, religion, and Spanish. As Muslims become increasingly prominent in the United States, the number of faculty and students alike interested in Muslim studies has expanded.”

“The certificate aims to maximize students’ education in Muslim traditions by providing a structured program to guide their studies,” he added. “This will require students to diversify their exposure across disciplines and divisions, period and place.”

At a time when American Muslims are becoming increasingly marginalized, the certificate “will also help our non-Muslim students better understand a set of groups and traditions increasingly the target of disinformation and prejudice,” Matesan said. “Meanwhile, it would signal to our Muslim students and potential applicants that Wesleyan recognizes the diversity and significance of Muslim traditions.”

Shapiro’s Poetry Translations Featured in Hyper-Texts

Norman Shapiro, professor of romance languages and literatures, and Wesleyan’s Distinguished Professor of Literary Translation, is one of the poets featured in the August 2016 “The Hyper-Texts,” a prestigious website honoring individual American poets with chosen examples from their work.

Shapiro’s poetry translations include “Innocents We,” translated from the French words of Paul Verlaine; “To the Reader,” translated from the French of Charles Baudelaire’s Au Lecteur; “Invitation to the Voyage” translated from the French of Charles Baudelaire’s L’Invitation au Voyage and “End of the Day” translated from the French of Charles Baudelaire’s La Fin de la Journée.

Among Shapiro’s many translations are Four Farces by Georges Feydeau, which was nominated for a National Book Award; The Fabulists French: Verse Fables of Nine Centuries, named Distinguished Book of the Year by the American Literary Translator’s Association; One Hundred and One Poems by Paul Verlaine, which won the Modern Language Association of America’s Scaglione Prize in 2001; and Charles Baudelaire: Selected Poems from “Les Fleurs du mal,” the last published by the University of Chicago Press. With his next volume of La Fontaine translations, Shapiro will have done all the Fables, to go along with a volume of La Fontaine’s Contes. Other books of translations include Lyrics of the French Renaissance (published by Yale University Press), The Comedy of Eros (published by University of Illinois Press), and two forthcoming including a collection of nine centuries of French women poets to be published by Johns Hopkins, and a collection of one-act comedies by Eugène Labiche.

Shapiro Translates Anthology of French Poet Cécile Périn

51foxWquF1L._SX332_BO1,204,203,200_Norman Shapiro, professor of French and the Distinguished Professor of Literary Translation, is the author/translator of The Gentle Genius of Cécile Périn: Selected Poems (1906-1956), published by Black Widow Press, 2016. This comprehensive bi-lingual anthology covers the full expanse of Périn’s (1877-1959) works.

“A reader of Cécile Périn’s work cannot help being struck by the spontaneous and intuitive nature of her poems, effortlessly flowing from one subject to another, touching the reader by their unstrained yet profoundly beautiful images and sounds,” Shapiro said.

Despite limited bibliographical resources available on Périn’s life, The Gentle Genius provides readers with sufficient material to embrace fully her talent and confidently identify her as a significant femme de lettres. For contemporary readers, this work gives renewed access to the world of female imagination in the mostly male-dominated field of early and mid-20th-century French poetry. Her images of female sexuality, free and uncensored, are placidly combined with descriptions of nature and human emotions-not overly romanticized-to create a harmonious and warm verse, candid and authentic, yet no less profoundly artistic.

Shapiro is an Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres de la République Française and a member of the Academy of American Poets.

RL&L Presents Two Evenings of Theater

Italian Play (4)Two evenings of theater will be presented by the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures this month. Both events are free and open to the public and will take place at the department’s common room at 300 High Street in Middletown, Conn.

Students from French 281 and Theater 291 will present three plays in French on Dec. 9 at 6 p.m.: “Tu honoreras ton père et ta mère”  or “You Will Honor Your Father and Mother,” by Samira Sedira; “Ah! La belle vie” or “Oh! The Good Life,” by Anne Giafferi; and “First Lady,” by Sedef Ecer. A reception will follow. The evening is sponsored by the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures, the Thomas and Catharine McMahon Fund, and the Center for Pedagogical Innovation.

Non tutti i ladri vengono per nuocere” or “The Virtuous Burglar,” by Dario Fo, will be performed entirely in Italian, with a plot summary in English, on Dec. 11 at 7 p.m. A reception will follow. The play is directed by Hannah Skopicki ’18, stage managed by Ryan Dobrin ’18, and produced by Camilla Zamboni. The evening is sponsored by the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures and the Thomas and Catharine McMahon Fund.

Shapiro Translates Collection of French Cat Poems

fe-linesNorman Shapiro, professor of French and the Distinguished Professor of Literary Translation, collected and translated a book, Fe-Lines: French Cat Poems through the Ages. The collection was published by University of Illinois Press in October 2015.

The French have long had a love affair with the cat, expressed through centuries of poetry portraying the animal’s wit and wonder.

Spanning centuries and styles, Shapiro reveals a remarkable range of French cat poems, with most works presented for the first time in English translation. Scrupulously devoted to evoking the meaning and music of the originals, Shapiro also respects the works’ formal structures. Pairing Shapiro’s translations with Olga Pastuchiv’s illustrations, Fe-Lines guides the reader through the marvels and inscrutabilities of the mystique féline.

As Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres de la République Française and member of the Academy of American Poets, Shapio has published numerous award-winning collections, including The Complete Fables of Jean de La Fontaine.

Publication of this book has been aided by a grant from the Thomas and Catharine McMahon Fund of Wesleyan, established through the generosity of the late Joseph McMahon.

Hispanic Film Series Playing in Goldsmith Family Cinema

On Thursdays in September and October, Wesleyan is hosting a four-part Hispanic Film Series showcasing the power and artistry of contemporary Latin American and Spanish film. All films will be shown at 8 p.m. in the Goldsmith Family Cinema, and are free and open to the public. The series is sponsored by the Thomas and Catharine McMahon Fund, the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures, and the Latin American Studies Program.

The films being shown are as follows:

Sept. 24–Relatos Salvajes (Wild Tales)

Oct. 1–Mosquita Y Mari

Oct. 8–La Isla Mínima (Marshland)

Oct. 15–Hotel Nueva Isla

More details on each film are available in the posters below. For more information, please contact Ana Perez-Girones at aperezgirone@wesleyan.edu.

Hispanic Film Graphic

Poisson Discusses Simone de Beauvoir on France Culture Radio

Catherine Poisson

Catherine Poisson

Associate Professor of French Catherine Poisson recently participated in a radio series on the French writer and intellectual Simone de Beauvoir. The series aired the week of August 17-21 on the France Culture network; it can be heard online here.

Taped in Paris, New York and Chicago, the Grande Traversée (the “great crossover”) show sought to reveal another Simone de Beauvoir, considering every stage of her life–from the dutiful daughter to the independent and engaged woman to, finally, breaking the taboo of old age. It showed her as passionate and multi-voiced—intimate and political, unleashed in her youth diaries and love letters, audacious in her novels, rigorous in her autobiography.

Appearing in multiple episodes in the series, Poisson discussed the personal and literary companionship of Beauvoir with Jean-Paul Sartre and Nelson Algren. She also talked about Beauvoir’s complex relationship with America, and read excerpts from America Day by Day, Beauvoir’s book recounting the four-month journey she took from coast to coast in the U.S., immersing herself in the country’s culture, customs, people and landscape.

Shapiro Reads from Fables in a Modern Key

Norman Shapiro, professor of french.

Norman Shapiro

On June 28, Norman Shapiro, professor of French, provided light verse readings, including a passage from his recently translated Fables in a Modern Key, as part of the Find Your Park summer festival event series. The reading took place at Longfellow House–Washington’s Headquarters in Cambridge, Mass.

Shapiro is a member of the Academy of American Poets and an Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres de la République Française.

Fables was written by by Pierre Coran (whose real name is Eugene Delaisse), a poet and novelist of the Belgian French-language. One of Begium’s most renowned poets with some 45 poetry books published to date, he also is the author of 25 published novels, 24 books of fables, hundreds of comic book stories, and several albums which have been translated into more than a dozen languages. His children’s stories and fables are published around the world, but this the first selection of his fables to be translated into English in a full length book format.

Longfellow House–Washington’s Headquarters National Historic Site was home to 19th century poet and scholar Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and his family from 1837–1950. The historic 1759 colonial mansion also was General George Washington’s first major headquarters during the American Revolution. The house and its collections were a gift to the nation from Longfellow’s descendants in 1972. Its extensive collections and grounds represent more than 250 years of America’s history and literature.

Shapiro’s book can be found here.

Shapiro Translates Haitian Poetry Collection

haitianpoetryNorman Shapiro, professor of romance languages and literatures and the Distinguished Professor of Literary Translation, translated the book Poetry of Haitian Independence, published by Yale University Press in May 2015.

At the turn of the 19th century, Haiti became the first and only modern country born from a slave revolt. During the first decades of Haitian independence, a wealth of original poetry was created by the inhabitants of the former French Caribbean island colony and published in Haitian newspapers. These deeply felt poems celebrated the legitimacy of the new nation and the value of the authors’ African origins while revealing a common mission shared by all Haitians in the young republic: freedom from oppressors and equality for all.

This collection of Haitian verse written between 1804 and the late 1840s sheds a much-needed light on an important and often neglected period in Haiti’s literary history. Editors Doris Kadish and Deborah Jenson have gathered together poetry that has remained largely unknown and difficult to access since its original publication two centuries ago. Featuring translations a foreword by the Haitian-born novelist Edwidge Danticat, this volume describes a turning point in Haitian and world history and makes a significant corpus of poetry accessible to a wide audience.