This is a bit of an interlude post in the series. I don’t have a picture of Charlotte—she wasn’t at the ALTA conference—so I’m hardly following through on the “visible” aspect of these entries, but after writing about the “most published translators” of the past few years, it was brought to my attention that Charlotte Mandell should basically top this list.
Which is true. Over the past two years, she’s translated:
Abdelwahab Meddeb, Tombeau of Ibn Arabi and White Traverses, with an afterword by Jean-Luc Nancy. (Fordham University Press, 2009)
Jean-Luc Nancy, The Fall of Sleep. (Fordham University Press, 2009)
Jonathan Littell, The Kindly Ones. (HarperCollins, 2009)
Pierre Bayard, Sherlock Holmes Was Wrong: Reopening the Case of the Hound of the Baskervilles. (Bloomsbury, 2008)
Jean Paulhan, On Poetry and Politics (co-translated with Jennifer Bajorek and Eric Trudel). (University of Illinois Press, 2008)
Marcel Proust, The Lemoine Affair. (Melville House, 2008)
Peter Szendy, Listen: A History of Our Ears. (Fordham University Press, 2008)
Pierre Birnbaum, Geography of Hope. (Stanford University Press, 2008)
Honoré de Balzac, The Girl with the Golden Eyes. (Melville House, 2008)
Mathias Enard, Zone. (Open Letter, 2010)
Which is phenomenal, impressive, Herculean even. Just in terms of total pages, this is impressive (Zone’s a long book, but not nearly as long as The Kindly Ones), but in terms of overall quality, difficulty of the texts, etc., this is an incredible feat.
And just to explain: The reason Charlotte didn’t pop up on the list yesterday is because a number of these are works of nonfiction, which aren’t logged into our database. I wish we could track nonfiction to, but we’re only three people (and honestly, I’m the only one who enters stuff into the database), who also have to run a publishing house, write grants, sell books, teach interns, etc., etc. But one day! One day when we receive a healthy-sized grant from a progressive foundation/individual/government organization who realizes the true value of this study, we’ll be able to add on nonfiction, kids books, graphic novels . . . And go back in time so that we can better identify translation/publication trends. So if you know anyone with a little extra money . . .
Anyway, since I can’t make her visible with an ALTA pic, instead I’ll just repost this video of a conversation between Charlotte and E.J. VanLanen that took place here in Rochester a couple months ago and features a very odd moment of chair theft:
And Charlotte—keep up the amazing work!
Prose translators will likely disagree, but I believe translating poetry requires a significant level of talent, a commitment to the text, and near mania, all of which suggests that the undertaking is the greatest possible challenge. The task is to. . .
The biggest issues with books like The Subsidiary often have to do with their underpinnings—when we learn that Georges Perec wrote La Disparition without once using the letter E, we are impressed. Imagine such a task! It takes a high. . .
Following The Infatuations, Javier Marías’s latest novel seems, like those that have preceded it, an experiment to test fiction’s capacity to mesmerize with sombre-sexy atmospheres and ruminative elongated sentences stretched across windowless walls of paragraphs. Thus Bad Begins offers his. . .
Death by Water, Kenzaburo Oe’s latest novel to be translated into English, practically begs you to read it as autobiography. Like The Changeling, as well as many other works not yet released in English, Death by Water is narrated in. . .
Jocelyne Saucier’s Twenty-One Cardinals is about the type of unique, indestructible, and often tragic loyalty only found in families. For a brief but stunningly mesmerizing 169 pages, Twenty-One Cardinals invited me in to the haunting and intimate world of the. . .
We know so very little; so little that what we think to be knowledge is hardly worth reckoning with at all; instead we ought to settle for being pleasantly surprised if, on the edge of things, against all expectations, our. . .
Many of Virginie Despentes’s books revolve around the same central idea: “To be born a woman [is] the worst fate in practically every society.” But this message is nearly always packaged in easy-to-read books that fill you with the pleasure. . .
Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer’s La Superba is appropriately titled after the Italian city of Genoa, where, after escaping the pressures of fame in his own country, the semi-autobiographical narrator finds himself cataloguing the experiences of its mesmerizing inhabitants with the intention. . .
It took reading 44 pages of Intervenir/Intervene before I began to get a sense of what Dolores Dorantes and Rodrigo Flores Sánchez were up to. Recurring throughout these 44 pages—throughout the entire book—are shovels, shovel smacks to the face, lobelias—aha!. . .
As presaged by its title, contradiction is the theme of Peter Stamm’s novel, All Days Are Night. Gillian, a well-known television personality, remains unknowable to herself. And Hubert, a frustrated artist and Gillian’s lover, creates art through the process of. . .