Bangla Translations of Latin American Poetry: A Critical Study

by Ranita Chakraborty Dasgupta
Assistant Professor, Amity Institute of English Studies and Research, Amity University, Kolkata, India.



The aim of this study is to map the reception of Latin American Poetry within the corpus of the Bangla world of letters for three decades, from 1980 to 2010. In the 1970s and the 1980s, the influence and reception of Latin American Literatures in Bangla was reflected primarily in the introductions to translations, preludes, and conclusions of translations. During the late 1960s and the early 1970s Latin American poets like Pablo Neruda, Victoria Ocampo, Octavio Paz, and Jorge Luis Borges had caught the attention of eminent Bangla poets like Bishnu Dey, Shakti Chattopadhyay, and Shankha Ghosh who started taking interest in their works. This interest soon got reflected in the form of translations being produced in Bangla from the English versions available. The next two decades saw the corpus of Latin American Literatures make a widespread entry into the world of academic essays, journals, and articles published in little magazines along with translations of novels, short stories and poetry collections by leading Bangla publication houses like Dey’s Publishing, Radical Impressions, etc. This period was marked by a proliferation of scholarship in Bangla on Latin American Literatures. By the 21st century, critical thinking in Latin American Literatures had established itself in the Bangla world of letters.

This chapter in particular studies the translations of Latin American poetry by Bengali poets like Shakti Chattopadhyay, Subhas Mukhopadhyay, Bishnu Dey, Buddhadeb Bhattacharya, Shankha Ghosh, Biplab Majhi among many others. The analysis relates to issues they focus on including themes like self, modernity, extension of time and space, political and poetic resonances, and untranslatability. Through a step by step research of the various stages of translation activities in Bengal and Bangla, it traces how translations of Latin American Literatures begin to take place on literary grounds that had already become sites of engagement with these issues.

The chapter further explores the ways in which all these poet-translators situate their translations in relation to the issues of concern. In addition, it also addresses the question of what they hence contribute to Bangla literature at large. I first chose to explore the ways in which these issues are framed in the reflections and debates on translation in India and Bengal in the 20th century. Thereon I have tried to show how these translations of Latin American poetry developed their own thrust in relation to these issues and concerns.

Keywords: Bangla Translations, Latin American Poetry, poem-translations

This chapter is a part of: Contemporary Translation Studies (Eds. Tian Chuanmao, Ph.D.)

© CSMFL Publications & its authors.


I. Books

  1. Bhattacharya, Buddhadeb, trans. 1984.Chena Ful-er Gandhya: Ek Guchcha Bidheshi Kobita. Kolkata: Dey’s Publishing.
  2. Chattopadhyay, Shakti, Mukul Guha, trans. 1992. American Indian Srestha Kobita. Kolkata: Dey’s Publishing. (Also contains a joint Introduction by both the translators)
  3. De, Bishnu, trans. 2007.Tumi rabe ki Bidheshini: Bishnu De krita Bideshi Kobita-r Anubad Samagra. Kolkata: Dey’s Publishing. (Also contains an Introduction by Bishnu De)
  4. Neruda, Pablo. 2010.Latin America-r Kobi o Kobita: Pablo Neruda. Translated by Biplab Majhi.Kolkata: Anjali Publishers. (Contains a vivid Translator’s Introduction)
  5. Neruda, Pablo. 1976.Pablo Neruda-r Premer Kobita. Translated by Shakti Chattopadhyay. Kolkata: Dey’s Publishing.
  6. Neruda, Pablo. 1988.Pablo Neruda-r Srestho Kobita. Translated by Shakti Chattopadhyay. Kolkata: Dey’s Publishing.
  7. Neruda, Pablo. 1972.Pablo Neruda-r Kobita. Translated by Mangalacharan Chattopadhyay. Kolkata: Sharshwata Library. (Contains Introductions to the First and Third Editions by the translator).
  8. Neruda, Pablo. 1994.Nirbachita Pablo Neruda. Translated by Shubhash Mukhopadhyay. Kolkata: Dey’s Publishing. (Contains a very short Translator’s Note)
  9. Parra, Nicanor. 1992.Nicanor Parra-r Srestha Kobita o Prati-Kobita. Translated by Manabendra Bandyopadhyay. Kolkata: Dey’s Publishing. (Contains a Translator’s Note and an Introduction)
  10. Paz, Octavio. 2010. Latin America-r Kobi o Kobita: Octavio Paz. Translated by Biplab Majhi.Kolkata: Anjali Publishers. (Contains a vivid Translator’s Introduction)
  11. Paz, Octavio. 2008. Octavio Paz: Panchash-ti Kobita . Edited by Aveek Majumdar and Dibyajyoti Mukhopadhyay. Kolkata: Embassy of Mexico, New Delhi and Indo Hispanic Library. (Contains an Introduction by Mexican Poet Elsa Cross)
  12. Ray, Asesh. 2007.Latin America…Ek Najar-e. Kolkata: Codex.
  13. Talukdar, Purushottam, trans. El-Salvadorer Kobita. Kolkata: Codex.

II. Journals

  1. El Camino. Vol. III. 1999. Kolkata: Institute of Spanish Studies.
  2. La Cultura Hispanica. 2nd Issue. January 2009. Kolkata: Codex.
  3. La Cultura Hispanica. 3rd Issue. July 2009. Kolkata: Codex.
  4. La Cultura Hispanica. 4th Issue. May 2010. Kolkata: Codex.
  5. Tibra Kutthar: Bishesh Shonkha. Boimela Volume IV. 2005. Kolkata: Ebong Mushyra.

III. Academic essays in Bangla

  1. Pal, Rabin. 2007. “Daisy Samorar Kobita.” Yugalbandi Spainiyo o Bharatiya Sahityo. January: 174-191.
  2. Pal, Rabin. 2007. “Gabriela Mistraler Rabindranath: Ek Anjla.” Yugalbandi Spainiyo o Bharatiya Sahityo.January: 106-112.
  3. Pal, Rabin. 2007. “Jose Marti: Buddhijibir Bhumika.” Yugalbandi Spainiyo o Bharatiya Sahityo. January: 94-105.
  4. Pal, Rabin. 2007. “Octavio Paz: Kobi o Kobita Prosonge.” Yugalbandi Spainiyo o Bharatiya Sahityo. January: 147-162.
  5. Pal, Rabin. 2007. “Rabindranath o Pablo Neruda.” Yugalbandi Spainiyo o Bharatiya Sahityo.January: 139-146.
  6. Pal, Rabin. 2009. “Chile-r Kobita: Goto koek doshoke.” La Cultura Hispanica 3rd Edition, July: 73-77.

IV. Translated Interviews

  1. Neruda, Pablo. Interview with Rita Guerta.. Tibra Kutthar-Latin Americar Godyo Shahitya. Translated by Rabin Pal. Tibra Kutthar, 2005.
  2. Paz, Octavio. Interview with MacAdam. Tibra Kutthar-Latin Americar Godyo Shahitya. Translated by Dipanjana Sharma and Topomon Ghosh. Tibra Kutthar, 2005.

V. Editor’s Notes, Introductions and Translator’s Notes (collected as part of Critical Academic Commentaries)

  1. Bhattacharya, Utpal. 2004. “Editor’s Note.” Pablo Neruda-r Kobita. Kolkata: Kabitirtha:1-3
  2. Ghatak, Tarun. 2003. “Introduction.” Frederico Garcia Lorca. Kolkata: People’s Book Society: 1.
  3. Talukdar, Purushottam. 2010. “Translator’s Note.” Tomar Ujjwal Aankhi (Spain o Latin America-r Kobita Sangraha). Kolkata: Codex: 1.

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