The themes raised by Matthew Reynolds' Likenesses: Translation, Illustration, Interpretation will be discussed by Dr Jason Gaiger (Ruskin School), Dr Adriana Jacobs (Oriental Studies) and Dr Nick Halmi (English).
Translation, illustration and interpretation have at least two things in common. They all begin when sense is made in the act of reading: that is where illustrative images and explanatory words begin to form. And they all ask to be understood in relation to the works from which they have arisen: reading them is a matter of reading readings. Likenesses explores this palimpsestic realm, with examples from Dante to the contemporary sculptor Rachel Whiteread. The complexities that emerge are different from Empsonian ambiguity or de Man's unknowable infinity of signification: here, meaning dawns and fades as the hologrammic text is filled out and flattened by successive encounters. Likenesses follows on from the argument of Reynolds's The Poetry of Translation (2011), extending it through other translations and beyond into a wide range of layered texts. Browning emerges as a key figure because his poems laminate languages, places, times and modes of utterance with such compelling energy. There are also substantial, innovative accounts of Dryden, Stubbs, Goya, Turner, Tennyson, Ungaretti and many more. Matthew Reynolds teaches at Oxford where he is a Fellow of St Anne's College and The Times lecturer in the English Faculty. It has been said of him that 'the best critics, like the best poets (in Browning's words) impart the gift of seeing to the rest: Reynolds has this gift of seeing and imparting' (TLS). His earlier books are The Poetry of Translation, The Realms of Verse 1830-1870, the novels The World Was All Before Them and Designs for a Happy Home(/i), and editions of Dante in English and of Manzoni.