Karen Van Dyck - "Three Summers" and "Austerity Measures" - Anastasia Giannakidou and Jennifer Scappettone

Thursday, October 10, 2019 - 6:00pm - 7:00pm
Event Presenter/Author: 
Karen Van Dyck

“I feel a sense of complicity with this book.”Albert Camus

A discussion with Karen Van Dyck, translator of Margarita Liberaki’s Three Summers and editor of Austerity Measures: The New Greek Poetry. She will be joined in conversation by Anastasia Giannakidou and Jennifer Scappettone. A Q&A and signing will following the discussion.

At 57th Street Books

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About Three Summers: Three Summers is the story of three sisters growing up in the countryside near Athens in the years before the Second World War. Living in a big old house surrounded by a beautiful garden are Maria, the oldest sister, as sexually bold as she is eager to settle down and have a family of her own; the beautiful but ever-distant Infanta; and Katerina, dreamy but also keenly inquiring, through whose eyes this story of three summers over which the girls’ lives take the shape of adulthood is mostly observed. The girls share and keep secrets, fall in and out of love, try to figure out their parents, take note of the doings of friends and neighbors, wonder at others and themselves. And Katerina, we sense, though she may have lost her childhood to time, will find herself in the future as a writer.

When Three Summers came out in French, Albert Camus was moved to write a letter to Margarita Liberaki: “The sun has disappeared from books these days. That’s why they hinder our attempts to live, instead of helping us. But the secret is still kept in your country, passed on from one initiate to another. You are one of those who pass it on. I feel a sense of complicity with this book.” Karen Van Dyck’s luminous translation brings a beloved classic of modern Greek literature to life in English.

About Austerity Measures: The 2008 debt crisis shook Greece to the core and went on to shake the world. More recently, Greece has become one of the main channels into Europe for refugees from poverty and war. Greece stands at the center of today’s most intractable conflicts, and this situation has led to a truly extraordinary efflorescence of innovative and powerfully moving Greek poetry. Karen Van Dyck’s wide-ranging bilingual anthology—which covers the whole contemporary Greek poetry scene, from literary poets to poets of the spoken word to poets online, and more—offers an unequaled sampling of some of the richest and most exciting poetry of our time. 

About the author/translator: Karen Van Dyck is the Kimon A. Doukas Professor of Modern Greek Language and Literature in the Classics Department at Columbia University. She is the founder and former director of Hellenic Studies and has also been an active member of the Institute for Research on Women, Sexuality and Gender, the Institute of Comparative Literature and Society, the European Institute and the Istanbul Global Center. Her books include Kassandra and the Censors, The Rehearsal of Misunderstanding, The Scattered Papers of Penelope, Austerity Measures: The New Greek Poetry, winner of the London Hellenic Prize (2016) and most recently Margarita Liberaki's classic coming of age novel Three Summers (2019). Her essays and translations have appeared in The Guardian, LARB, and World Literature Today.  Last Spring she was a fellow at the Columbia Institute for Ideas and Imagination in Paris where she was researching her book A Different Alphabet which explores the role of translingualism and translation in the production of literature by and about the Greek Diaspora since the 1880s.

About the interlocutors:  Jennifer Scappettone is an associate professor of English, Romance languages and literatures, creative writing, and gender and sexuality studies at the University of Chicago who works at the juncture of scholarly research, translation, and the literary arts, on the page and off. She is the author of "Killing the Moonlight: Modernism in Venice" (Columbia University Press, 2014), a finalist for the Modernist Studies Association Book Prize; and her translations of the polyglot poet and refugee from Fascist Italy, Amelia Rosselli, were collected in "Locomotrix" (University of Chicago Press, 2012), which won the Academy of American Poets’s biennial Raiziss/De Palchi Prize. Scappettone curates PennSound Italiana, a sector of the audiovisual archive hosted by the University of Pennsylvania devoted to marginalized and experimental voices in Italian contemporary poetry. She is completing “From Pentecost to Babel,” a book manuscript devoted to modernist and postwar poets whose expansions of poetic form in two and three dimensions carve out a space between national languages—reoccupying the utopian ideals of globality manifest in the futurist “wireless imagination” while deterritorializing both the poetry and the ideology of the fatherland.

Anastasia Giannakidou is a Professor of Linguistics and the College at the University of Chicago. She studied Classical Philology and Linguistics at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece, and received her PhD in Linguistics from University of Groningen, the Netherlands. She is the founder and director of the newly established Hellenic Studies Center at the University of Chicago. She is also a co-director of the Center for Gesture, Sign and Language, and a collaborator with the Bilingualism Research Lab at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Anastasia main interest is on linguistic meaning and the relationship between meaning and form. Apart from Modern Greek, she has done also comparative work on German, Dutch, Spanish, Basque, Korean, and Mandarin Chinese— and has worked on diachronic syntax and semantics. She is the author of numerous books including Polarity Sensitivity as Nonveridical Dependency, Definiteness and Nominalization, Mood, Tense, Aspect revisited. Her articles have appeared in, among others, Linguistics and Philosophy, Natural Language and Linguistic Theory, The Linguistic Review, Lingua. Anastasia is presently working on a book entitled Truth and Veridicality in Grammar and Thought, forthcoming with University of Chicago Press, where she looks at the category of mood (indicative subjunctive) in Greek and Italian as a window to the relation between language, truth, and our perception and understanding of reality.


Event Location: 
57th Street Books
1301 E 57th Street