Empathy and Engagement in Translation: Langston Hughes’s Versions of Lorca’s Gypsy Ballads

  • Andrew Samuel Walsh
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Languages at War book series (PASLW)


This chapter analyzes Langston Hughes’s translation of Lorca’s Gypsy Ballads, which he began in Madrid in 1937 in the midst of the Spanish Civil War and finally managed to publish in the USA in 1951. It also examines Hughes’s empathy with Lorca’s representation of the oppressed gypsies of Andalusia, which mirrored his defence of African-Americans, his political engagement with the cause of democracy in Spain, and his personal empathy with the proto-martyr figure of Lorca and the latent homoeroticism of his most celebrated verses. Hughes’s version of Lorca’s poetry was a notable example of the propagandistic importance afforded to translation by the Spanish Republic and this chapter examines his literary contribution as a paradigm of ideological commitment and historical memory.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Comillas Pontifical UniversityMadridSpain

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