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Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages and Linguistics


Amaryllis Furness wins Phoebe Taylor Prize for outstanding Spanish translation

Phoebe Taylor, an MMLL student at Clare College from 2007-2011

The 2024 Phoebe Taylor Prize for outstanding work in Spanish Translation was awarded to Amaryllis Furness for her project on the 1949 short story “Raíz del sueño” by Marta Brunet.

Like Phoebe’s project, this translation focuses on a Latin American author, with Amaryllis taking up the work of a Chilean writer.

Amaryllis’ project is a highly effective translation of Brunet’s complex novel that is both faithful to the original text and highly readable. Amaryllis opens her work with a biographical note on the author which discusses her historical and literary context, paying special attention to questions of gender.

Noting that Brunet published her work at a time when women’s writing was considered trivial, Amaryllis draws attention to how “Raiz del sueño,” like other works by Brunet, subverts unjust structures of power in ways that evoke the author’s own context and situation as a female writer.

The introductory essay also underscores the short story’s unique style, such as its lack of specific historical, lexical and geographic bearings, which Amaryllis notes, captures an experience of enclosure.

While this registers and articulates questions related to women’s position in 1940s Chile, Amaryllis also draws on a more contemporary context, specifically the enclosure that a generation of young people, including our students, experienced with the Covid pandemic, which curtailed their ability to freely interact with the outside world.

The introduction also thoughtfully lays out some of the translation challenges, especially the task of translating the laconic language of Brunet’s text, evidenced by the title itself which abounds in ambiguity. The translation carefully and accurately recreates this language as well as the mood, imagery and tone of the original. Examiners praised the work, calling it excellent and noting that it reads as a publishable version of a novel that has never been translated into English.

We are immensely grateful to Phoebe’s family for supporting the department’s students, and for helping us honour the work of brilliant young scholars, like Phoebe and Amaryllis, who use the Translation Project as a way of putting their language skills and finely tuned literary sensibilities to highly creative ends.

Maite Conde (UTEO in Spanish and Portuguese)

25 June 2024