Over the past few months I’ve dropped hints here and there about the Reading the World podcast series that Erica Mena and I put together. We came up with the idea out of the last ALTA conference, and at the MLA convention this past December, we talked with a number of translators about their work and various issues related to international literature.
Well, at long last, we’re ready to release the first episode, featuring Lawrence Venuti, translator, theorist, and scholar. He talked with us about Edward Hopper, a collection of poems by Catalan author Ernest Farres that Venuti translated and that was published by Graywolf earlier this year.
In contrast to some of the upcoming podcasts—which include conversations with Susan Harris, Esther Allen, Suzanne Jill Levine, and Bill Johnston—this one’s a bit on the long side, but well worth it. Venuti is fascinating to listen to, and the way he breaks down his translation—and Farres’s project as a whole—is spectacular.
Anyway, you can listen to the podcast via this post, or by downloading it through iTunes (assuming that iTunes will start working again—it was having “technical difficulties” yesterday). And stay tuned—we’ll release episode #2 at the beginning of March . . .
Though far from the most convincing reason to read literature in translation, one common side effect is learning of another culture, of its history. Within that, and a stronger motivation to read, is the discovery of stories not possible within. . .
Despite cries that literature is dead, dying, and self-replicating in the worst way, once in a while a book comes along to remind readers that there’s still a lot of surprise to be found on the printed page. To be. . .
“I was small. And my village was small, I came to know that in time. But when I was small it was big for me, so big that when I had to cross it from one end to the other,. . .
A few weeks after moving into a farm house in the Welsh countryside, Emilie, an expatriate from the Netherlands, starts to think about her uncle. This uncle tried to drown himself in a pond in front of the hotel where. . .
Think back to the last adventure- or action-type book you read. Wasn’t it cool? Didn’t it make you want to do things, like learn to shoot a crossbow, hack complicated information systems, travel to strange worlds, take on knife-wielding thugs,. . .
In Aira’s Shantytown, while we’re inside the characters’ heads for a good portion of the story, the voice we read on the page is really that of Aira himself, as he works out the plot of the book he’s writing.. . .
Noir is not an easy genre to define—or if it once was, that was a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away; as a quick guess, maybe Silver Lake, Los Angeles, 1935. When two books as different as. . .
Some time ago I read this phrase: “The page is the only place in the universe God left blank for me.”
Pedro Mairal’s short novel The Missing Year of Juan Salvatierra is more about these blank spaces than the usual full. . .
“What if even in the afterlife you have to know foreign languages? Since I have already suffered so much trying to speak Danish, make sure to assign me to the Polish zone . . .”
So reads a typical aphoristic “poem”. . .
If you somehow managed to overlook the 2012 translation of Andrés Neuman’s breathtaking Traveler of the Century (and woe betide all whom continue to do so), you now have two exceptional works of fiction from the young Argentine virtuoso demanding. . .