Karen Emmerich

Associate Professor of Comparative Literature
Email Address: 
Office Location: 
035 East Pyne

Office Hours Spring 2019: Monday and Tuesday 11:00 - 12:00 PM

Periods: nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first century

Languages: Greek, English, Turkish

Research interests: Modern Greek literature, theories of translation, experimental translation, textual scholarship, visual culture

My current research focuses on the overlap in the tasks of the editor and the translator, particularly with regard to the instability of literary works. My forthcoming book, Translation and the Making of Originals, brings recent work in field of textual scholarship to bear on discussions of translation. I argue that translation is not a mere transfer of a given “original” from one language into another, but a process by which an original is, in a sense, “fixed” or created, as translators often have to adjudicate between multiple editions or versions of a text. I have also published articles on the visual and material poetics of Greek poets including C. P. Cavafy, Miltos Sachtouris, and Eleni Vakalo, and on the ways translators and editors have approached the challenges presented by the visual idiosyncrasy and textual instability manifested by these and other works. Before joining the Department of Comparative Literature at Princeton, I was on the faculty of the University of Cyprus (2011-2012) and the University of Oregon (2012-2014) .

My academic commitment to translation as a mode and model for comparative work in the humanities is complemented by my work as a translator of modern and contemporary Greek literature. I have translated eleven books of Greek poetry and prose, and have received translation awards and grants from PEN, the NEA, and the Modern Greek Studies Association.


Translation and the Making of Originals (under contract with Routledge)

Book-length Translations

Christos Ikonomou, Something Will Happen, You’ll See. Archipelago [2016].

Eleni Vakalo, Before Lyricism. Ugly Duckling Presse [2015].

Sofia Nikolaidou, The Scapegoat. Melville House, 2015.

Amanda Michalopouou, Why I Killed My Best Friend. Open Letter, 2014.

Yannis Ritsos, Diaries of Exile (co-translated with Edmund Keeley). Archipelago Books, 2013.

Margarita Karapanou, The Sleepwalker. Clockroot Books, 2010.

Margarita Karapanou, Rien ne va plus. Clockroot Books, 2009.

Ersi Sotiropoulos, Landscape with Dog and Other Stories. Clockroot Books, 2009.

Amanda Michalopoulou, I’d Like. Dalkey Archive Press, 2008.

Miltos Sachtouris, Poems (1945-1971). Archipelago Books, 2006.

Vassilis Vassilikos, The Few Things I Know About Glafkos Thrassakis. Seven Stories Press, 2002.

Articles and Chapters

“The Academy in Crisis and Scholarship in the Public Sphere.” Journal of Modern Greek Studies 33.1 [May 2015].

“The Ordering of Things: Visual Syntax in the Poetry of Eleni Vakalo.” Word & Image 29.4 (2013). 384-408.

“Visibility (and Invisibility).” The Handbook of Translation Studies Vol. 4. Eds. Yves Gambier and Luc van Doorslaer. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 2013. 200-206.

“Reimagining ‘Image’ in the Poetry of Miltos Sachtouris.” Journal of Modern Greek Studies 30.1 (2012): 1-19. Print.

“The Afterlives of C. P. Cavafy’s Unfinished Poems.” Translation Studies 4.2 (2011): 197-212. Print.

“ ‘Impossible Things’: Editing and Translating the Unfinished Poems of C. P. Cavafy.” Arion 17.3 (2011): 111-132. Print.

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