Princeton University professor David Bellos will deliver the Hansmann Lecture at Hamilton College on Thursday, Nov. 8, at 4:10 p.m., in the Taylor Science Center’s Kennedy Auditorium. Bellos is a professor of French and comparative literature at Princeton, where he also directs the Program in Translation and Intercultural Communication. His lecture, titled “Translation and the Meaning of Everything,” is free and open to the public.
Bellos began his academic career studying nineteenth century French literature, following the evolution of writing styles from the poem to the novel. He has authored biographies of renowned French novelists and filmmakers Georges Perec, Jacques Tati and Romain Gary.
He also works as a translator; his studies focus not on what is lost in translation, but what is gained. Bellos’ most recent book, and the main talking point of his upcoming lecture, is titled Is That a Fish in your Ear? Translation and the Meaning of Everything. He takes an irreverent approach to cross-cultural communication by focusing on the realities of imperfect translation. Bellos will be the fourth speaker in Hamilton’s Humanities Forum.
The 2011-13 Hamilton College Humanities Forum examines the promises and problems of translation across languages, times and cultures. The topic includes not only literary translation, but also translation from one artistic medium to another (for example, novel to film), as well as the work of translation within intercultural exchange and social transformation. The two-year long Forum will include presentations by artists, filmmakers, linguists, poets, scholars, philosophers, theorists, writers and others who explore or engage in translation in our age of global communication.