1998 entries in WWB Daily
Bud Parr on Witold Gombrowicz
Bud Parr, over at Chekhov's Mistress has a brief review of Witold Gombrowicz's short story collection Bacacay (Archipelago Books) that's a great preview of the quirky, beautiful style of this underread master of 20th-Century fiction. Parr's favorite story, Adventures, was also one that we loved. For the intrigued, here's a complete a list of other works by Gombrowicz that we've featured in the past.
Jack Kerouac Sur la Route
It seems like everyone is celebrating the 50th anniversary of On the Road by recreating Jack Kerouac's trip across America, but Pierre-Olivier Labbe's blog at Le Monde Online is a wonderful reminder of the original spirit of Kerouac's journey. As Labbe describes it, Ce reportage photographique propose d'emprunter le m'me chemin, 50 ans après Kerouac, et de partir à la rencontre de cet immense pays, pour en tirer une mosaïque de portraits et de paysages...
New Fiction from Daniil Kharms
Look out for never-before-translated short fiction by Russian absurdist and Words without Borders author Daniil Kharms in this week's issue of the New Yorker. Kharms' work, suppressed by the Soviet government during his lifetime and still underrepresented in translation, is a must-read for his inventiveness and his wry brilliance. The pieces are translated by Eugene Ostashevsky, Simone Schneider, and Matvei Yankelevich, whose translation of a new collection of selected writings by Kharms...
On July 23 the theater director, playwright and writer George Tabori died. Unfortunately, Mr. Tabori is not widely known outside Germany and Austria. His relative obscurity doesn't do justice to the quality of his texts. (I cannot judge the quality of Mr. Tabori as a theater director. I have never seen a play directed by him.) The English version of Wikipedia lists Mr. Tabori as a Hungarian. He was born in Hungary, but he has never worked in Hungary, nor has he written anything...
Welcome Three Percent!
The indefatigable Chad Post and E.J. Van Lanen have just launched their wide-ranging blog at the University of Rochester, appropriately entitled Three Percent, which reflects the percentage of books translated into English every year in the U.S. Congratulations to both Chad and E.J. on this fresh, and already active, resource for literature-philes. Not ones to rest on their laurels, they, along with Nathan Furl, are also kickstarting a new press, Open Letter, which will publish 12 works of...
A Visa Success?
Over at Inside Higher Ed, they're reporting a visa success story that goes to show mostly just how hard it is to get a visa in the current environment. Waskar Ari, a Bolivian national and professor at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln receives his US work visa, but only after the University sues the federal government following its initial rejection of his application. A graduate of Georgetown University, Ari was hired by the University of Nebraska for a tenure track position for which...
This Week in Diacritics
With this issue, we present our most challenging translation: the redesign and re-engineering of the WWB site. During the transition, a number of codes and special characters were muddled, including—mortifyingly—our beloved diacritics. Which got me thinking about these sherpas of foreign languages. In English orthography, letters are rugged individualists, shunning the help of accents to carry the tone, and diacritics tend to fluster native speakers of English. (If you...
This forum is for teachers of world literature to exchange ideas on using WWB in the classroom. Tell us your favorite story to teach, activities you've used for teaching literature in translation, post your own syllabi, and/or ask questions of your fellow teachers. This is your forum. We look forward to your ideas and thoughts.
This forum is for you, our readers interested in translation, practitioners of translation, and others, to ask questions, exchange ideas, and share thoughts on the topic of translation. If you wish to ask our translators a question, please note who your question is for and/or the name of the relevant WWB story in the subject line of your email. Every so often we will throw out some questions ourselves. Our first one is: tell us your story of an íuntranslatableë word.
Words Without Borders Book Groups
Tired of the same six titles on display at the store and want some recommendations on what to read next? Looking for a few, cool people to talk about the newest titles from the international scene? If so, join in the Words without Borders book clubs. Each forum will run for a month, so tune in any time and join the conversation. Easy to use, this is your chance to speak out about some great books, and international literature today.
Reading Adam Phillips
Last fall I briefly met the American author Benjamin Kunkel in a hotel in Amsterdam. All foreign authors who come to Amsterdam stay, for some reason, in the Ambassade Hotel, and since I don't have an apartment in Amsterdam I stay in the Ambassade Hotel as well. Yes, I do have a mother in Amsterdam, a lovely mother, but both for her sanity and my own, it's better that I stay in a hotel.It's unavoidable in a place like the Ambassade that you run into authors, but my meeting with Mr. Kunkel...
The Smallest Publisher in the World
What are you willing to do for your favorite book? If you consider yourself a book lover, think again. What follows is the most incredible story I've ever heard about loving a novel. Last December, after a reading in Padua, I was approached by a young woman who gave me a book as a present. "I am the publisher," she told me. "And I'd like to tell you the story behind this book, but not now. This place is too crowded and noisy. Can I write you an email?" I thanked her for the gift and I...
The Illusion of Return
Last Monday, I had lunch in London with the Lebanese-Palestinian author Samir El-Youssef. We were supposed to go to a Lebanese restaurant called Beirut Express, but since it was too crowded there, he took me to another Lebanese restaurant nearby.Next to our table there was a small artificial lake with a few orange fish in it. It was probably made for guests who have run out of conversation. The main reason I wanted to meet with El-Youssef was my trip to Lebanon in April. As I reported...
The Moral Responsibility of the Author
There are so many book fairs out there that you could keep yourself busy for one year traveling from one book fair to the next. Last I weekend, I was in Turin, Italy for 48 hours at the Turin Book Fair. At every book fair there is this moment that I ask myself: What is the purpose of the book fair, again? Yes, for agents and publishers the purpose is to buy and sell rights. However, I believe that most rights are sold outside the various fairs nowadays. But for authors,...
The Brooklyn Rail in Translation
The Brooklyn Rail has boldly launched a new initiative to publish translations of both short fiction and plays online. In Translation promotes literary translations and encourages collaboration between translators, authors, editors and publishers. Their launch issue presents Excerpts from Sodom and Berlin by Yvan Goll and translated from the French by Donald Nicholson-Smith, as well as An Unfindable Book by Antonio Delfini and translated from the Italian by Michael F. Moore.