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October, 2011

Argos Books: A New Form for Translation

The Other Music: Selected Poems from the 1970s, by Francisca Aguirre, translated by Montana Ray If I Were Born in Prague: Poems of Guy Jean, versions by Katie Farris and Ilya Kaminsky Argos Books, established last year by three poets and translators, has already built an impressive...

A Dispatch from FIDBA, the International Comics Festival of Algeria

The fourth International Comics Festival of Algiers (Festival International de la Bande Dessinée d’Alger, FIBDA) took place between October 5 and 8, 2011, featuring a wide range of activities, from exhibitions to panel discussions, ending in an awards ceremony. Here’s...

Private Acts: An Interview with Guadalupe Nettel

Born in Mexico City in 1973, Guadalupe Nettel had already won Radio France Internationale’s award for best French-language short story from outside the Francophone world by the time she was nineteen. Since then she has published—among other things—a novel and numerous...

The Black Hat: On Self-Translation and Freedom

There is a lively interest in literature in Iceland, although the foreigner tends to see this in a somewhat romantic light.  Although there are Viking festivals each summer and the foreigner might be under the impression that most Icelanders are widely read in the sagas, this is far...

Roussel, Dreamer of Infinite Space

New Impressions of Africa, by Raymond Roussel, translated by Mark Ford (Princeton, 2011) Impressions of Africa, by Raymond Roussel, translated by Mark Polizzotti (Dalkey Archive, 2011) Of Raymond Roussel’s two books with the word Africa in the title (both of which appeared this...

From the Translator: Yu Jian and the German Enlightenment

Living on “Ilha Formosa” and being one of those translators who likes to get to know his authors before he represents them overseas, I don’t often translate poetry from mainland China, but I couldn’t resist translating Yu Jian's "Beethoven Chronology" and...

The 2011 Nobel Prize in Literature: It’s Tomas Tranströmer

The Nobel Prize in Literature goes to Sweden's great Tomas Tranströmer. The Swedish Academy said it recognized the eighty-year-old poet "because, through his condensed, translucent images, he gives us fresh access to reality." From his "Prelude," translated for us by Rika...

Teaching in Translation: These Pines

With this post we launch our new series on teaching in translation. Whether teaching in their areas of specialization or shouldering introductory world literature courses, teachers at all levels face questions about how to frame foreign literature for their students. How can instructors...

There Is No Escape from Hope: A Memoir of Reading Naguib Mahfouz

The Coffeehouse by Naguib Mahfouz. Translated by Raymond Stock. American University in Cairo Press, 145pp, £16.99 April 2011, ISBN 9789774163517 Reading Naguib Mahfouz in my teenage years was a singular education. I had read a few of his most popular titles—Children of the...

The 2011 Nobel Prize in Literature: Countdown!

News flash: The usually coy Swedish Academy has announced that the Nobel will be awarded Thursday. In the home stretch, Ladbrokes keeps Adonis and Tranströmer to win and place, while Murakami moves into show; Unibet has Murakami leading, with Adonis passing Vijay dan Detha into...

September, 2011

After the Revolution: Tunisia, September

The improbable woman was dressed in black Her diverse shadow and her hallucinations were there only to redefine the furtive with appropriate optimism, I could not elude her —Slaheddine Haddad,"A carters’ tea" September still feels like summer in Tunisia, even more so...

The 2011 Nobel Prize in Literature: Round Two

Resuming last week's conversation, the speculation continues. Britain's suspiciously accurate Ladbrokes bets on Adonis at 4:1, followed by Tomas Transtromer at 9:2 and Peter Nadas at 10:1. Thomas Pynchon and Assia Dejebar are at 12:1, with Ko Un in sixth position at 14:1. ...

The City and the Writer: In Portland with Flávia Rocha

If each city is like a game of chess, the day when I have learned the rules, I shall finally possess my empire, even if I shall never succeed in knowing all the cities it contains....

Beyond the Limits of Genre: An Interview with Muharem Bazdulj

Muharem Bazdulj lives in Sarajevo, works as a journalist for Oslobodjenje daily, and has published more than ten books (novels, short stories, essays, poetry). His books have been translated into English, German and Polish, and his short stories and essays into a dozen more foreign...

Translating the Invisible with Tahar Ben Jelloun

Literature, claims the director of this year's International Literature Festival in Berlin, Ulrich Schreiber, can be our society's political and moral compass. Since 2001, the Festival has given some of the world's most influential writers a place to come together....

On Being Translated from English to English, by Way of Spanish

I was born into Spanish but grew up in English. I was born in Guatemala and lived there until we moved to South Florida with my family, the day of my tenth birthday, in August of 1981, and I immediately fell into this new sound, into this new identity, called English. I grew up in...

\“The Truth About Marie\” by Jean-Philippe Toussaint

“The good, the admirable reader,” said Vladimir Nabokov in his Lectures on Russian Literature, “identifies himself not with the boy or the girl in the book, but with the mind that conceived and composed that book.” Perhaps he was anticipating that current sacred...

The 2011 Nobel Prize in Literature: Our Office Pool

Between the World Cup and the World Series comes high season for world literature: time to place your bets on this year's candidates for the Nobel Prize in Literature. You can read two of the usual suspects, Adonis and Ko Un, right here, as well as laureates Herta Müller, J. M....

Virginia Woolf on the River Plate

I arrived in Montevideo on the first full day of winter in the southern hemisphere. The dark, muddy winter light was a shock after the bright, metallic air of New York on the eve of summer. Montevideo is not a particularly beautiful city. Too much of the old art-deco architecture was...

A Berlin Diary, in Memory of September 11

I spent the academic year 2001–2 in Berlin.  This was a year bracketed by tragedies that took place in my absence—one huge and life-changing for millions of people, one small and life-changing for just a few.  The year began with the terrorist attacks of September...

Layers of Dust and Debris

Another year and its layers of dust and debris. Ten years gone by and the pictures, the words still as sharp and vivid. Glass you dare not touch with your fingers. It all happened across the Atlantic, very far away. The horror reverberating around the planet in a matter of minutes. It...

\“I Still Belong to My Country\”: An Interview with Ali Al Jallawi

Poet Ali Al Jallawi fled Bahrain in April of this year, one of many political activists, journalists, and writers who left the country rather than risk arrest during a crackdown against pro-democracy protests. In the 1990s Al Jallawi had been imprisoned twice, and tortured, as described...

August, 2011

On Being Translated: To Be Written in English

There he was. The Main Character. The description of him. All the words, verbs, nouns, pronouns, syllables. I knew them all. Already. But only in Danish. Not this way around. Because here he was, The Main Character, in English. So much the same. But still so different. In some ways...

Reimagining Hölderlin: A Discussion between Writers and Translators

In a courtyard gathering at NYU’s Deutches Haus, Martin Rauchbauer and Deike Benjoya sat down with Ross Benjamin, Alfed Goubran, and Richard Sieburth last month to discuss the life and work of Friedrich Hölderlin (1770-1843). The idyllic setting of trees, birds, food, wine,...

The Graffiti of Benghazi

Six months after the February uprising, there are several major differences in the physical appearance of Benghazi, Libya’s rebel capital. The city is unmistakably cleaner, the result of a few pre-uprising civic works (including the cleaning of Benghazi’s putrid central lake)...

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