Translation and Its Double Vision: The Poetry Translations of Czeslaw Milosz


Dissertation Fellowships in East European Studies


Department of Comparative Literature


Examining the career of Polish poet Czeslaw Milosz from the perspective of his translation work, this dissertation contends that a translation travels in two directions: first when a work of literature crosses from one language to another, and second when knowledge of the translation recrosses back to the original literary culture. As a political exile from Communist Poland living in the US, Milosz is a prime example of a translator manipulating this process of travel, using translation into English as a way first to preserve, then to broaden, and finally to canonize literature in Poland. Thus, this study involves more than an analysis of one poet’s translation work; it informs current translation theory to account for the subtler ways translation wields power in both literary cultures at once.