Professor translates Spanish novel

Posted on February 12, 2008 by Suzanne Ramsey

Pam DeWeese, professor of Spanish at Sweet Briar College, has completed an English translation of “360° Diary,” a novel by Spanish author Luis Goytisolo. To be released by Peter Lang Publishing in March, “360° Diary” is the first of Goytisolo’s novels to be translated into English.

Goytisolo is a well-known Spanish writer and author of many novels, travelogues and op-ed pieces. In 1993, he won Spain’s National Prize for Literature and he is a member of the Spanish Royal Academy of Literature.

“I have thought for a long time that something of his should be translated into English so, during my last sabbatical, I made it my project,” DeWeese said. “I didn’t know if I would like translating — or would be any good at it — and certainly this author’s work is very challenging, given its richness of language and image, plays on words, levels of meaning, etcetera, but I tried it and really enjoyed it.”

DeWeese, who has taught at Sweet Briar for more than 15 years, has worked with Goytisolo for more than 20. While a doctoral student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, she wrote her dissertation on his work. She also wrote a book, “Approximations to Luis Goytisolo’s Angagonia” about his 1,500-page novel, and a biography on the author for the Dictionary of Literary Biography.

“Of course, being able to consult with the author was wonderful,” she said. “I felt more confident that I was capturing his meaning, especially in difficult passages. Luis Goytisolo and I chose this novel from among his other works because the diary format makes it very easy to read for someone just becoming acquainted with his work, and yet the novel employs many of his major themes and [is] a good demonstration of his style.”