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 recent translations include works by Augustine, Solzhenitsyn, Rousseau, Machiavelli, Gogol, and Tolstoy. He is a Guggenheim Fellow and was awarded the PEN Translation Prize for Six Early Stories by Thomas Mann, and the National Translation Award for The Undiscovered Chekhov. He is the director of the Program in Literary Translation at the University of Connecticut, the publisher of World Poetry Books, and editor-in-chief of New Poetry in Translation.
Photograph by Annette Hornischer