George Borrow (1803-81) was a British novelist, traveler, and linguist, famous for his books on the English Gypsies and his novels Lavengro (1851) and The Romany Rye (1857). The two anonymous pieces in this issue are in Poggadi-Jib (broken language), spoken by English Gypsies, a language also called Angloromany. They are from George Borrow's book Romano Lavo-Lil (1874). Modern Romany scholars have questioned the authenticity of the songs and poems in Borrow's collection. As Tim Coughlan points out in his book Now Shoon the Romano Gillie: Traditional Verse in the High and Low Speech of the Gypsies of Britain (2001), it is unclear whether some of the songs and poems were actually written by Borrow or whether he "merely sought to embellish an existing text."
Peter Constantine’s most recent translations are Self’s Murder, by Bernhard Schlink (Vintage Books, 2009), Sophocles’s Three Theban Plays (Barnes & Noble Classics, 2008) and The Essential Writings of Machiavelli (Modern Library, 2007). He was awarded the PEN Translation Prize for Six Early Stories, by Thomas Mann, and the National Translation Award for The Undiscovered Chekhov. His translation of the complete works of Isaac Babel received the Koret Jewish Literature Award and a National Jewish Book Award citation. He has recently translated Within Four Walls: The Correspondence between Hannah Arendt and Heinrich Blücher, 1936-1968 for Harcourt, and Gogol's Taras Bulba, Tolstoy's The Cossacks, and Voltaire's Candide for Modern Library. He was one of the editors for A Century of Greek Poetry: 1900-2000 and The Greek Poets: Homer to the Present (W.W. Norton, 2010). He is currently working on a translation of The Essential Writings of Rousseau for The Modern Library. He is the recipient of a 2010 Guggenheim Fellowship for his translation of Emmanuel Roidis.
Photograph by Erick Paiva Nouchi