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Meet the Author: Bill Johnston

A verse translation of Pan Tadeusz: The Last Foray in Lithuania by Adam Mickiewicz

Wednesday, September 26, 2018, 5:00pm

CAHI House, 1211 East Atwater Avenue

Years in the making, Bill Johnston’s verse translation of Adam Mickiewicz’s Pan Tadeusz: The Last Foray in Lithuania is a monumental achievement. Mickiewicz’s epic verse provides a rich overview of early nineteenth century Poland and Lithuania. In the words of Edward Hirsch, Pan Tadeusz combines “the charm of a fairy tale and the capaciousness of a novel.” The poem interlaces many narrative threads, including the homecoming of Pan Tadeusz from his studies in the city, a feud between local families over ownership of a ruined castle, clandestine preparations for Polish participation in Napoleon’s anticipated invasion of Russia, and more.

Bill Johnston is Professor of Comparative Literature at Indiana University, Bloomington, and “one of the premier translatorsof our age” (Richard Sieburth). He has received fellowships and awards for his translations from Found in Translation, the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the PEN America Center, and Three Percent. He was awarded the PEN Translation Prize and Three Percent’s Best Translated Book Award in 2012 for Stone Upon Stone by Wiesław Myśliwski (Archipelago Press, 2011).