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March, 2011

film icon Poeboes Podcast with Daniel Hahn

Daniel Hahn (1973 - ) is a British writer, editor and translator from the Portuguese and Spanish. His translations include works by José Eduardo Agualusa, José Luís Peixoto and José Saramago. In 2007, his translation of Agualusa's The Book of Chameleons was...

On Reviewing Translations: Susan Bernofsky, Jonathan Cohen, and Edith Grossman

This document was submitted to Words Without Borders for our series On Reviewing Translations, based on a collaboration between the three contributors that had been initiated prior to solicitation. SOME THOUGHTS FOR REVIEWERS OF LITERARY TRANSLATIONS You ought to review a translation...

The Writer and the Screenwriter: An Interview with Domenico Starnone

Domenico Starnone has written for film both directly and indirectly: he has over a dozen screenplays to his credit, and has had one of his novels, Denti, turned into a film. This interview was conducted on e-mail. The questions were translated into Italian by Marco Candida, and...

The City and the Writer: In Brooklyn with Tina Chang

Special City Series / New York City 2011 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....

The City and the Writer: In Queens with Irina Reyn

Special City Series / New York City 2011 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....

Jonathan Blitzer’s Film Picks

Les Cousins Claude Chabrol This dark, eerie—and stunted—coming-of-age story has been following me around for months since I recently saw it for the first time.  In a word, it’s the story of an idealistic French provincial who has come to Paris to study law; we...

On Reviewing Translations: Daniel Hahn

I’m a translator, whose translations get reviewed regularly in the mainstream press; I’m also a reviewer who reviews translations regularly in the mainstream press. In probably more or less even numbers, I’d guess—for each one I get, I write one, give or take....

New Series: On Reviewing Translations

This week, we are launching a series to explore the ways that book reviews handle translations. Reviewers and translators each have varied opinions on how translations should be discussed, and on who should be doing the discussing. At a recent panel on the future of book reviewing,...

The Romance of Diva

The first time I saw Diva, I was about the same age as Jules, the French mailman, opera enthusiast, and thief who is its hero. Most likely I saw it at the intimate and old-fashioned Brattle Theater in Harvard Square, one of the places I miss most about Cambridge. Diva is a highly...

The City and the Writer: In Manhattan with Lorraine Adams

Special City Series/New York City 2011 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. —Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities   1. Can you...

The Battle of Algiers

Saadi Yacef headed the Algerian rebel movement, the Front de Libération Nationale, in Algiers until his capture in summer 1957. Unlike his fellow combatants in the movement, murdered in captivity by the French military or blown up by French explosives in their Casbah hideouts or...

Samantha Schnee on Krzysztof Kieślowski’s \“Blue\”

I began going to see foreign films in 1986, the year I got my driver’s license.  My friends and I would meet in the subterranean parking garage of a deserted business complex in downtown Houston every Saturday evening for an 8:30 show in an underground theater, occasionally...

“Hitchcock and Agha Baji”: The MacGuffin in Iran

Behnam Dayani's "Hitchcock and Agha Baji," from our inaugural July/August 2003 issue, combines an Iranian teenage film buff, a Hitchcock classic, and a character straight out of the Arabian Nights to rich and entertaining effect. After seeing Psycho, the Hitchcock-crazed narrator...

À Tout de Suite, written and directed by Benoît Jacquot

In honor of the new Movies Issue, we’re writing about our favorite foreign films; my choice: À Tout de Suite (2005), written and directed by Benoît Jacquot. Conceptually, À Tout de Suite (“Right Now”), based on a memoir by Elisabeth Fanger, sounds...

Adrift on the Nile by Naguib Mahfouz

The fiction of Naguib Mahfouz is marked by a clear, harsh view of modern Egyptian life, and his characters are frequently unsympathetic. Adrift on the Nile, one of the brief novels Mahfouz wrote in the ’60s after completing his massive Cairo Trilogy, is an exception to the rule and...

The City and the Writer: In Staten Island with Vasyl Makhno

Special City Series / New York City 2011 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.—Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities   1. Can you...

Magdy El Shafee’s “Metro” to be Published in English

We're delighted to report that Magdy El Shafee's graphic novel, Metro, will be published by Metropolitan Books in early 2012. Readers will recall that WWB published an extract in February 2008, and that the book was seized on publication in Egypt and Magdy and his publisher put on...

February, 2011

From the Translator: Agnes Scott Langeland on Kjell Askildsen’s \“Dogs of Thessaloniki\”

My first encounter with Kjell Askildsen’s marvelous short stories was in 1995, in an anthology called Et stort øde landskap (A Wide Empty Landscape), published by Oktober in 1991.  Their effect on me was searing. The simple, low-key language had unexpected force, making...

The City and the Writer Introduces Specials

The idea of adding a Specials component to The City and the Writer came while I was in Berlin this past winter 2010. Some cities seduce and intrigue so profoundly that you can’t refrain from wanting more. To touch its mysteries, get lost in its stories, architecture, and forgotten...

The City and the Writer: In the Bronx with Dahlma Llanos-Figueroa

Part of the Special City Series / New York City 2011 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. —Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities 1. ...

Questions for Peter Bush and Teresa Solana

Peter Bush has been translating the fiction of Teresa Solana since 2005, producing sparkling English versions of many of her stories and two of her comic noirs, A Shortcut to Paradise and A Not So Perfect Crime.  Here the couple, both former directors of national translation...

A Interview with Kim Thompson of Fantagraphics Books

Mass media may often associate comics with blockbuster-movie superheroes and kids’ cartoons, but as evidenced by the diverse works from comics and graphic novel publisher Fantagraphics Books, this visual medium wields the power to make hard-hitting political and social commentary...

Chihoi in Action

Kaleidoscope, a marvelous, eye-widening exhibition on the history of Hong Kong comics, is a ten-minute walk down to the river from the center of town. The exhibit is composed of individual units that are practical, durable, and ingeniously designed, like high-end luggage: black, on...

Meeting of the Pharaohs by the Red Sea

Algerian Kamel Daoud is editor in chief of the French language daily newspaper Quotidien d'Oran, where he writes a daily column, or chronique, under the title "Raina Raikoum" [Our Opinion Is Your Opinion].  In a country under state of emergency/political lockdown since 1992, and...

Borges: Faith to See in the Dark

In 2010, as part of the Penguin Classics Series, five new Borges books were released in the states. Last October, three of the editors, Suzanne Jill Levine, Alfred Mac Adam, and Maria Kodama, gathered at the Americas Society in New York City to discuss the project. The books highlight...

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