Toni Morrison in Translation

The Cornell World Gender in Translation International Research Network will present a round table discussion around the translations of Toni Morrison's works, Friday, October 1st, 3:30-5:00, Klarman Hall Rm. 164. The featured speaker will be Mme. Dominique Bourgois, the French editor, literary agent, and ‘porte-parole’ of Toni Morrison’s works in French at the Christian Bourgois Publishing House.


Dominique Bourgois not only edited Morrison’s works but also carefully supervised their translations and organized numerous events which contributed to the international success of Toni Morrison. She curated the month-long series of cultural and artistic events at the Louvre Museum, in 2006, which was ultimately the basis of the documentary film, The Foreigner’s Home (directed and produced by Rian Brown, Oberlin College, 2018). Toni Morrison decided to center the multiple events around the revolutionary oil painting, The Raft of the Medusa by Theodore Géricault, 1819) which depicts an actual shipwreck off the coast of Senegal. Dominique Bourgois’s intent was to invite the visitors/ participants/ actors to talk about and reflect upon and enact the cultural and conceptual construction of the “foreigner” and “otherness.”


Mme. Bourgois will open the Roundtable with a discussion of the territory of editor and promoter of the Morrison French translations, from long before the Nobel Prize through the last book of essays. This will be followed by readings of selected excerpts from Morrison's The Bluest Eye from some of CU Library’s fifteen translated versions of the novel.*

The discussion will also focus on some “untranslatable” expressions of some of Morrison's titles, e.g., The Bluest Eye, Beloved, Home, Playing in the Dark, God Help the Child.

*Readers are heartily invited to read in Chinese, Korean, Spanish, French, Italian, Turkish, Georgian, Portuguese, Polish, Hungarian, Japanese, Persian, German, Hebrew, and Czech.

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Dominique Bourgois