„Translating (as) Infinite Jest“

Reading & Workshop with Ulrich Blumenbach

Seminal novel, ingenious translation.

The novel Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace (1962 – 2008) was published in 1996 and is regarded as a masterpiece of US-American literature. Like no other writer of his generation David Foster Wallace knew the Oxford English Dictionary by heart, was highly educated and could mimic various linguistic styles perfectly. Thus his book became not only an encyclopedic novel with 388 endnotes, some of which stretching themselves even over pages. The novel also displays a huge arsenal of figures, each of them speaking more or less in a unique way.

Ulrich Blumenbach receives the Basler Kulturpreis 2016.

Despite these challenges the Basel based translator Ulrich Blumenbach was not intimidated by this seminal novel and took up the task of translating it over the course of six years, as precise as creative and affectionate. Since the German translation has been published in 2009, Ulrich Blumenbach received numerous prizes for his excellent translation, e.g. the Hieronymusring für besondere Leistungen in der literarischen Übersetzung (2009), the Prize of the Leipzig Book Fair in the category Translation (2010) and the Basler Kulturpreis (2016).

In the context of my seminar David Foster Wallece’s Infinite Jest Ulrich Blumenbach will be visiting the English Seminar. This visit will contain a reading in English and German as well as a workshop, in which Ulrich Blumenbach will grant us some insights into his work and the art of translating. The workshop and reading will be conducted mostly in German but of course we are happy to translate, if required, and take questions in English. 

Everyone interested is very welcome to join!

The event will take place on Friday, April 28 from 4 to 6 pm at the Great Lecture Hall of the English Seminar of the University of Basel, Nadelberg 6, 4051 Basel.