Learning About Filicide through Oedipus and Narcissus

I am currently working on my fourth Portuguese-to-English translation, my second non-fiction title. This time, the subject matter is Psychology, more specifically filicide, which is a parent's desire or deliberate act to kill their own child.

Written by Brazilian psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Carmen Dametto, the book explores this theme through the Greek tragedies of Oedipus and Narcissus, and it was published in Portuguese by KBR Editora Digital under the following title: Filicídio: Considerações sobre o narcisismo ("Filicide: Considerations on Narcissism.")

I have confessed my lack of knowledge in Greek mythology before, so this is yet another welcome opportunity to study a little bit more about the myths and tragedies that we all think we already know, since these are stories that have been passed down as cautionary tales and components in literature, movies, and music. Still, there's always something else to learn, a detail here and there that may have been left out of the version you're familiar with and, consequently, shed a new light on the subject.

Talking about these art forms, researching the artistic material mentioned this book has actually led me to a few interactive and inspiring brainstorming sessions. Hamlet is a great example, considering the complicated family dynamics depicted in the Kingdom of Denmark. My favorite movie adaptations of William Shakespeare's play are the ones with Laurence Olivier (1948) and Kenneth Branagh (1996) in the title role. And what a pleasure it is to watch these movies again in preparation for this translation. What other line of work would ever allow me to have this much creative fun and still count as part of the job? :-)


RAFA LOMBARDINO is a translator and journalist from Brazil who lives in California. She has been working as a translator since 1997 and, in 2011, started to join forces with self-published authors to translate their work into Portuguese and English. In addition to acting as content curator at eWordNews, she also runs Word Awareness, a small network of professional translators, and coordinates two projects to promote Brazilian literature worldwide: Contemporary Brazilian Short Stories (CBSS) and Cuentos Brasileños de la Actualidad (CBA).