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Writing between the Lines

Portraits of Canadian Anglophone Translators

Agnes Whitfield, editor

Hardcover 318 pp.

ISBN13: 978-0-88920-492-8

Release Date: March 2006

Online discount: 25%

$85.00  $63.75


Paper 318 pp.

ISBN13: 978-1-55458-616-5

Release Date: January 2016

Online discount: 25%

$39.99  $29.99


eBook availability

The essays in Writing between the Lines explore the lives of twelve of Canada’s most eminent anglophone literary translators, and delve into how these individuals have contributed to the valuable process of literary exchange between francophone and anglophone literatures in Canada.

Through individual portraits, this book traces the events and life experiences that have led W.H. Blake, John Glassco, Philip Stratford, Joyce Marshall, Patricia Claxton, Doug Jones, Sheila Fischman, Ray Ellenwood, Barbara Godard, Susanne de Lotbinire-Harwood, John Van Burek, and Linda Gaboriau into the complex world of literary translation. Each essay-portrait examines why they chose to translate and what linguistic and cultural challenges they have faced in the practice of their art. Following their relationships with authors and publishers, the translators also reveal how they have defined the goals and the process of literary translation.

Containing original, detailed biographical and bibliographical material, Writing between the Lines offers many new insights into the literary translation process, and the diverse roles of the translator as social agent. The first text on Canadian translators, it makes a major contribution in the areas of literary translation, comparative literature, Canadian literature, and cultural studies.

Critic, translator, and poet, Agnes Whitfield has published extensively in and on literary translation and Quebec literature. President of the Canadian Association for Translation Studies from 1995 to 1999, Seagram Visiting Chair at the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada from 2003 to 2004, she is former director of and currently teaches at the School of Translation at York University in Toronto.


“Since the time of the inaugural funding of literary translations by the Canada Council in the early 1970s ... many important assessments of the theory and practice of Canadian literary translation have been published.... To that distinguished list of scholarly studies must now be added this recent work edited by Agnew Whitfield.... Writing between the Lines is and will remain a useful and very informative collection of insights into the labours and achievements of some of Canada’s most distinguished anglophone translators.”

— John J. O’Connor, University of Toronto Quarterly, Letters in Canada 2006

“This well-edited volume reveals the hidden humanity that enables cross-cultural communication. In the detail of lives, in the variety of backgrounds and goals, these biographies upset countless facile generalizations about translation and translators. They show why translation is so important to Canada, and why Canada is now important for translation.”

— Anthony Pym, Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Tarragona, Spain. Author of The Moving Text: Localization, Translation, and Distribution (2004).

“This book is a tribute to those who smuggle culture across the anglophone and francophone divide into Canada—the literary translators.”

— Antoine Sirois, professor emeritus, Université de Sherbrooke. Author of Mythes et symboles dans la littérature québécoise (1992).

Writing between the Lines will find a useful place on the shelves of students, researhers, and general readers interested in translation in Canada.... The essays have been very consistently edited and are without exception interesting and detailed...[and] reveal the rich diversity in translation approaches.”

— Glen Nichols, Canadian Literature