[it] shakes my whole breathing being: Rethinking Gender with Translation in Anne Carson’s “A Fragment of Ibykos Translated Six Ways”

Adrienne K. Ho Rose

Abstract


Anne Carson’s “A Fragment of Ibykos Translated Six Ways” expresses new possibilities for the contemporary retranslation of ancient Classical texts. My article argues that Carson’s powerful, ground-shifting retranslation enlists significant procedural constraints to offer a progressive re-reading of the heteronormative, conventionally gendered garden in Ibykos Fragment 286. Carson retranslates Fragment 286 six times using only vocabularies from selected topical and literary source texts with contexts remote from the original. As a result, vocabularies and scenarios shift—from Romantic love to microwave operations—but the structural and rhetorical gestures of the fragment are retained. Conventional gender roles are not merely reversed nor is the garden simply transformed. Carson’s six versions transcend the emphasis on gendered textual signals by leaving gender aside to investigate performative reading and translation practices more closely.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5399/uo/konturen.10.0.4513

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