From Surrealism to İnce Mehmed via the Nuremberg Trials: in memoriam Édouard Roditi
“From Surrealism to İnce Mehmed via the Nuremberg Trials: in memoriam Édouard Roditi”
About the Symposium
The 10th May 2022 marks the 30th anniversary of the death of Édouard Roditi. Born in Paris to a British mother of mixed Flemish-Catholic and Ashkenazi descent and an American father of Turkish-Sephardi origin, Roditi would go on to engage in a dazzling range of linguistic and cultural activities. He was a prolific writer of poetry, short stories, art criticism and social commentary and also published translations into English from French, German, Danish, Portugese and Turkish. The latter included his role in the translation of the first volume of Yaşar Kemal’s İnce Mehmed, for which he collaborated with his cousin, Thilda (Serrero) Kemal. Roditi also occupies an important place in the history of interpreting; he was one of the first professional conference interpreters, interpreting at numerous international events, foremost among them the International Military Tribunal in post-Second World War Nuremberg. Our event is intended to honour Roditi’s remarkable achievements and focus attention on a quite extraordinary life and career.
Clifford Endres first came to Turkey as a Fulbright fellow in 1985. He ended up spending a quarter of a century here, mainly in Istanbul, where, besides teaching at Boğaziçi, he was co-founder of the American Culture and Literature Department at Kadir Has University. His introduction to Édouard Roditi was not personal but literary, by way of the latter’s wonderfully satirical “The Vampires of Istanbul,” a story published in The Delights of Turkey and reprinted in Méditerranéenes 10, a special issue on Istanbul. It was clear that the author enjoyed a special connection with the ancient city, one that spoke both to the historical and the surrealistic imaginations, and that this alchemy was worth exploring.
Christopher Sawyer-Lauçanno first met Édouard Roditi in Paris in 1975 but got to know him much better in the mid-1980s. Sawyer-Lauçanno was then writing a biography of Paul Bowles, and Roditi, a lifelong friend of Bowles, provided him with invaluable insights into Bowles's life and times. Sawyer-Lauçanno and Roditi remained close until Roditi’s death, frequently visiting each other in New York and Paris and corresponding regularly. Not long before Édouard died, they had begun to translate Paul Celan's Romanian poems. Sawyer-Lauçanno taught writing and literature at MIT for more than 25 years, and from 2010-2012 was Visiting Professor at Kadir Has University. He is the author of over 15 books and numerous book-length translations.
Saliha Özçelik is a senior undergraduate student in the Department of Translation and Interpreting Studies at Boğaziçi. She is currently writing her graduation research project on Édouard Roditi’s career as a translator and interpreter.
You may use the link below to join the symposium online, or reserve a seat at room JF 401 (we can only accept 25 people because of the pandemic, so please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to make a reservation). You may find the poster for the event here.