AUDIO: Two Voices Salon with Karen Emmerich on The Scapegoat by Sophia Nikolaidou


At our most recent Salon, Two Voices invited translator Karen Emmerich to discuss The Scapegoat by Sophia Nikolaidou, her latest translation with Melville House, and the current political and economic atmosphere in Greece. Karen teaches at the University of Oregon and recently won the 2014 PEN Poetry in Translation Award for Diaries of Exile by Yannis Ritsos (translated with Edmund Keeley).

The conversation took place at the Two Lines Offices and touched upon previous works Karen has translated, the comparison of Greek and American publishing traditions, historical and political points in The Scapegoat, and added insights from present translators. Listen in to learn more about current Greek literature and the surprising consequences of a downturned economy.

00:00 Introductions

1:35 Translators sharing projects they’re working on & exciting books they’ve read

10:45 How Karen began translating works

15:05 How people reacted to her first translation

16:13 Karen discussing her latest translation with Melville House, The Scapegoat

17:30 The personal, political and historical aspects of the novel

21:39 Explaining the title, The Scapegoat

24:00 Historical aspects and demands of the novel

26:23 Traditions of Greek publishing and translation editorial work – added perspectives from present translators

39:00 Arguments of the novel: The book’s reprisal of power relations such as the U.S. and the EU playing similar roles in Greece

40:55 Audience Question: I was wondering how you deal with mannerisms that are taken for granted in Greek culture? – Added perspectives from present translators

54:03 What Greek books have you taught in your lit courses?

-Follow-up Audience Question: From the time you had the idea for the book to the time it was printed –how long did it take?

57:38 Discussing the economics of translation

1:03:04 Discussing a future novel’s publication process

1:07:04 Audience Question: The average Greek reader – how would they experience the Pontian Greek in the novel. Is that something you know or had to research?

1:11:27 Audience Question: I’m curious about your focus on current Greek writing and the depth of the Greek crisis – do you feel like it’s starting a new literary movement in Greece?

1:14:30 Audience Question: I have the feeling that more readings and more of a community through poetry is present in Greece –is that what you feel, too?

1:16:30 Discussing very recent changes in the Greek political climate

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