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Articles tagged "Literature In Translation"

The Watchlist: September 2016

Every month, Words without Borders reviews editor M. Bartley Seigel shares a handful of recently released or forthcoming titles he’s excited about, books he hopes you’ll agree are worth our good attentions. From Akashic Books, Brussels Noir, edited by Michel Dufranne; translated from the Dutch by Katie Shireen Assef; ISBN 9781617753985; US$11.96. Says the publisher: “Akashic Books continues its groundbreaking series of original noir anthologies, launched in 2004. Each...

The Watchlist: May 2016

Every month, from the reviews desk to you, Words without Borders editor M. Bartley Seigel shares a handful of new and noteworthy titles he’s excited about. He thinks you should be excited about them, too. From Oneworld Publications, Masha Regina by Vadim Levental, translated from the Russian by Lisa Hayden; 288 pages; ISBN 1780748612: US$19.00. Says the publisher: “Masha dreams of becoming one of the great European auteurs. But first she must escape the drudgery of her daily...

Olja Savičević’s “Adios, Cowboy”

A teenager from the provinces set out for the big city. She was to make a new life there, one filled with the success, love, and excitement that had been cruelly denied to her so far. But things didn’t turn out as planned. Instead of fulfilling her potential, she dropped out of college. Instead of achieving success, she found herself at a dead-end job. And, of course, she didn’t find love. After those “several lost years,” she has packed...

Ji Xianlin’s “The Cowshed - Memories of the Chinese Cultural Revolution”

I first became acquainted with the works of noted Indologist, linguist, and translator Ji Xianlin in the early 1980s, when I was a student of foreign literature in China. He had translated the famous Indian epic, Ramayana, from the original Sanskrit to Chinese, and an excerpt of Ji's translation appeared in my textbook. I remember devouring the beautifully translated verses in an unheated classroom in Shanghai as my mind was transported to the tropical forest of Panchavati, where Prince...

Heldenplatz

(Common room in a senior citizen home. Two elderly men in wheelchairs. The first is watching the one o’clock news, the second is devouring an apple pastry.) FIRST MAN: The nerve. Everyone cheers for him on the Heldenplatz and then he goes and cuts deals with the Russians. SECOND MAN: Yes, that was a mistake. But, come now, it was so long ago, at some point there’s got to be an end— FIRST MAN: That’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about...

Sergei Lebedev’s “Oblivion”

“The past,” William Faulkner famously wrote, “is never dead.” His dictum is twisted in countries beset by political amnesia, where that past is not just dead, but often full of the dead—innocents murdered by firing squads, starved to death in labor camps, buried and forgotten in mass graves. In such circumstances, it’s the novelist’s task to resurrect the anonymous dead, or to reveal how their spirits haunt their nation’s amnesiac psyche. In...

Viva Translation!

In 2010 the acclaimed American writer Lydia Davis published a new English translation of Gustave Flaubert’s acclaimed novel Madame Bovary. The convergence of so much acclaim did not, of course, go unnoticed. In October of that year Jonathan Raban’s three-page review of the event came out in the New York Review of Books, and in November Julian Barnes devoted a whole bunch more pages to it in the London Review of Books, making full use of that praiseworthy and often thrilling...

André Schiffrin, 1932–2013

André Schiffrin, founder of the New Press and former editor-in-chief of Pantheon Books, died yesterday in Paris.  Schiffrin played a major role in bringing literature in translation to English-language readers, first at Pantheon, where he published Jean-Paul Sartre, Günter Grass, Michel Foucault, Julio Cortázar, Marguerite Duras, and many others, and later at his New Press, publishers of our Literature from the Axis of Evil. Anyone interested in the...

Where Are the Women in Translation?

I’ve never been good at math, or maybe I should say, I never liked math enough to be good at it, even if I did get the odd A in the subject in high school. So I don’t have a clue how to divide 3% by 26%, for example. I searched on the Internet, and found calculators that were very handy for the research I was doing for what has turned into this blog, but I’ll have to leave it to you to work out what twenty-six percent of three percent is. Not an awful lot. As most of...

It’s Not a Crime: Reading and Analyzing Translated Thrillers

Crime fiction is a popular and pleasurable genre, but it’s also an educational one, especially if you read translated crime fiction. In my role as the schools and libraries liaison for the British Centre for Literary Translation, which is based at the University of East Anglia in England, I give talks to a wide range of groups, encouraging them to read translated literature. Translation tends to intimidate general readers, for a variety of reasons, so I do my best to explain and...

Best Translated Book Award Fiction Longlist Announced

Three Percent, the resource for international literature based at the University of Rochester, has announced the fiction longlist for the 2012 Best Translated Book Awards. The twenty-five nominees include books by WWB authors David Albahari, Sergio Chejfec, Johan Harstad, Dany Laferrière, Inka Parei, Thomas Pletzinger, and Magdalena Tulli, and translators Thomas Beebee, Ross Benjamin, Margaret B. Carson, Deborah Dawkin, Ellen Elias-Bursać, David Homel, and Bill Johnston. We...

Bitte, Ich Spreche Nur Amerikanisch

                                                             For Yakov, Enrica, and Tanya I’d like to bracket these observations between two half-remembered New Yorker cartoons. The...

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