Gilgamesh and the Translation of Philological Crises with Sophus Helle

Wednesday, April 6, 2022 - 4:45pm to 6:30pm

392 Cohen Hall,  249 S. 36th Street

The Babylonian epic Gilgamesh holds a special place in the world literary sphere, as one of the oldest texts that continues to be widely read. Sophus Helle, who has recently published a new translation of the epic into English, will offer an introduction to this ancient text and its modern life, focusing on the question of how translators engage with the cruxes and crises that are peculiar to premodern works which survive only in manuscript form. Philologists are used to dealing with such challenges as fragmentary texts, manuscript variants, hapax legomena, and the like, but how are these crises best recreated in translation?

Sophus Helle is currently a postdoctoral researcher at Freie Universität Berlin. He previously translated Gilgamesh into Danish with his father, the poet Morten Søndergaard.

Co-sponsors:  Program in Comparative Literature and Literary Theory, Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, Department of Classical Studies