This interactive talk took place on September 22, 2021, and offered a practitioner’s reflections on the making of a new translation of Adam Mickiewicz’s 1834 narrative poem Pan Tadeusz, widely referred to as “Poland’s national epic.” They spoke about the challenges presented, and the questions posed, by this particular act of translation, including those of imagined and actual readership; the role of aesthetic pleasure in the reading experience; and translation as trespass.

Bill Johnston’s rhyming verse translation of Adam Mickiewicz’s epic poem Pan Tadeusz (Archipelago Books, 2018) won the 2019 National Translation Award in Poetry and the 2019 AATSEEL Translation Prize. Johnston’s other awards include the Found in Translation Award for Tomasz Różycki’s mock-epic poem Twelve Stations (Zephyr Press, 2015), as well as the PEN Translation Prize and the Best Translated Book Award, both for Wiesław Myśliwski’s novel Stone Upon Stone (Archipelago Books, 2010). He has also translated the work of Julia Fiedorczuk, Tadeusz Różewicz, Magdalena Tulli, Andrzej Stasiuk, and Jerzy Pilch, among others. He has held fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts (twice), the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Guggenheim Foundation. In 2014 he was awarded the Transatlantyk Prize for contributions to the promotion of Polish literature abroad. He teaches literary translation at Indiana University.

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