The UMF community celebrated faculty who published books in 2013 and 2014 at a reception on March 10. Each faculty member’s book was introduced with remarks from another faculty member, a nice (and relatively new) UMF tradition. Several faculty members from the Humanities were on hand as authors, and we wanted to share some of the commentary on their books.

Clint Bruce, Istrouma, introduced by Linda Britt:

A translator lives between two worlds, and inhabits both.

Clint Bruce lives that creed perhaps better than anyone. His publications place him squarely in that context. He has an article forthcoming from Romance Notes, for example, on “Transatlantic Geographies”, and he has published on trans-francophonie, among his other work. He is a living, breathing ambassador for bi-lingualism (even tri-lingualism… his Spanish is excellent). One of his missions is to promote Francophone cultures; another is to raise awareness of the multiple cultures that make up the foundation of this country.

Istrouma came into being in part because of Clint’s encouragement and persistence as an editor, but mostly because of his commitment to the aforementioned mission. His translation of Istrouma is part of that mission, and a very challenging part at that. The subtlety of a good translation makes the translator invisible, but translation is the closest of reading, thus a more scholarly pursuit than most people realize. It is also editing. And it is creative writing. Istrouma is a Manifesto, described as “a broad history of indigenous America and of colonized peoples across the world that repeatedly returns its focus to the Houma people, native to Southeastern Louisiana.” But in addition to its essays on history, it includes commentary… and poetry! The challenges of elegantly translating these radically different passages (into his second language, in fact) are enormous, but he more than meets the challenges, and the result is a volume that promises “to stand as a major contribution to Louisiana studies.”

As he leaves us at the end of this year to pursue exciting projects elsewhere, I know that he will continue to make major contributions to Francophone studies, through translation and other pursuits. We are happy that our students and our community have been lucky enough to benefit from his commitment to UMF over the last two years. But now, please join me in congratulating Professor Clint Bruce on his beautiful translation, Istrouma.


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