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Translators, translations and editions of Machado de Assis works in English - Helen Caldwell and the University of California Press

Grant number: 19/00643-5
Support Opportunities:Scholarships abroad - Research
Effective date (Start): April 24, 2019
Effective date (End): May 30, 2019
Field of knowledge:Linguistics, Literature and Arts - Literature - Brazilian Literature
Principal Investigator:Hélio de Seixas Guimarães
Grantee:Hélio de Seixas Guimarães
Host Investigator: Elide Valarini Oliver
Host Institution: Faculdade de Filosofia, Letras e Ciências Humanas (FFLCH). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Research place: University of California, Santa Barbara (UC Santa Barbara), United States  


The field research scheduled between April 24 and May 30, 2019 at the Center for Portuguese Studies at the University of California Santa Barbara under the supervision of Professor Élide Valarini Oliver is meant for conducting a survey of primary sources, namely materials that help us to trace the intellectual and editorial paths that led American professor, translator, and critic Helen Caldwell to translate Dom Casmurro, published in English for the first time in 1953, as well as study the relation between the translation of this novel and the production of Caldwell's two studies on Machado de Assis, The Brazilian Othello of Machado de Assis (1960) and Machado de Assis - The Brazilian Master and his Novels (1970). The research at the Center for Portuguese Studies will consider books and materials that belonged to the translator and critic, which were donated to the center by Professor Frederick Williams. The research will not be limited to these materials, but will also be conducted in other libraries and archives of the University of California system, such as the Department of Classics at the Los Angeles campus, where Caldwell taught for three decades; and the Bancroft Library in Berkeley, which holds the documents of the University of California Press, the academic publisher that from 1960 to 1980 was the main publishing house for works by Machado de Assis in English and was also in charge of publishing the above-mentioned critical studies by Helen Caldwell.Helen Caldwell's literary translation and criticism project is aligned with the first translations into English of Machado de Assis's novels, which were published in the first half of the 1950s. These translations changed the landscape for the circulation and reception of Machado's work and, consequently, caused tensions that until then had never surfaced between the central figure of the Brazilian literary canon and the figure of an international writer of classical proportions. The research laid out here is connected with other projects and funding provided by FAPESP (please see pages 13-14) and is part of a project supported by a Level 2 National Scientific Research Council (CNPq) Research Productivity Scholarship (Bolsa de Produtividade em Pesquisa, nível 2), which is aimed at studying the English translation of Epitaph of a Small Winner (Memórias póstumas de Brás Cubas), Dom Casmurro and Philosopher or Dog? (Quincas Borba), and the Careers of their respective translators, William Grossman, Helen Caldwell and Clotilde Wilson. The intention is to study the three cases of translation individually; understand them as a group and part of a process for internationalizing the work of Machado de Assis in the context of post-war geopolitics and inter-American relations; and take stock of the effect that these translations into English had on the interpretation and enshrining of Machado's work and figure in Brazil.

Matéria(s) publicada(s) na Revista Pesquisa FAPESP sobre a bolsa::
El redescubrimiento de Machado de Assis 
Revisiting Machado de Assis 
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship:
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