Matthew Reynolds

Published On


Page Range

pp. 678–701


  • English

Print Length

24 pages

VII. ‘Walk’ and ‘Wander’ through Language(s)

Prismatic Scenes; and Littoral Reading

This chapter offers a close reading of the pair of terms ‘walk’ and ‘wander’ in the English text, and explains the different patterns of significance created in Greek, Estonian, Italian and Chinese, presenting a series of instances in video animations and printed multilingual arrays (with back-translations). It then introduces Javascript animations of ‘Prismatic Scenes’ (the ‘red-room’ and the ‘shape in Jane’s bedroom) created by Paola Gaudio. Finally, it expounds the theory of ‘littoral reading’ – that is, a mode of close reading suited to a world literary text, in which the words’ potential to transform across language difference is continually being activated.


Matthew Reynolds

Professor of English and Comparative Criticism at University of Oxford

Matthew Reynolds is Professor of English and Comparative Criticism at the University of Oxford, where he chairs the Oxford Comparative Criticism and Translation Research Centre (OCCT). Among his books are Prismatic Translation (2019), Translation: A Very Short Introduction (2016), The Poetry of Translation: From Chaucer & Petrarch to Homer & Logue (2011), Likenesses (2013), The Realms of Verse: English Poetry in a Time of Nation-Building (2001), and the novels Designs for a Happy Home (2009) and The World Was All Before Them (2013). He is Chair of the International Comparative Literature Association’s Research Development Committee, General Editor of the Legenda book series Transcript, and a Member of the Academia Europaea.