New books at a glanceTranslating Rimbaud’s Illuminations Exeter: University of Exeter Press, 2006. vi + 328 pp. ISBN 0-85989-769-9 15.99 £.
Reviewed by Denise Merkle
Clive Scott’s highly original study forges innovative lines of inquiry, while being a pleasure to read thanks to its fluid prose, thorough research and clear presentation of the translation techniques with which the literary critic-cum-translator is experimenting. The author links detailed analysis of poetic form to the evolution of fundamental aesthetic principles in order to offer extensive new readings of selected prose poems by Rimbaud. In particular, he demonstrates that “the translator’s imagination can operate more effectively if it fully exploits the space of the page” (blurb). The book is also intended to generate broader critical debate on the interpretation of prose poetry, while offering original analytical methods which facilitate the study of poetic form. Reassessing his thoughts on the translator’s task and art in light of novel theoretical approaches combined with detailed evaluations of poems and translations, Clive Scott pursues his quest for his own personal style of translation. His most recent contribution to the development of innovative literary translation techniques applicable specifically to the translation of poetry will be of interest to creative writers, literary translators and literary translation scholars alike.