As mentioned a couple months back, this year’s Wolff Symposium will be taking place today and tomorrow at the Goethe Institut in Chicago.
It all kicks off tonight with the reception honoring Ross Benjamin for winning this year’s Wolff Prize for his translation of Speak, Nabokov by Michael Marr. (Which I still want to read. . . .)
Then tomorrow there’s a day of panels, including a reading from Breon Mitchell’s new translation of Gunter Grass’s The Tin Drum, a conversation on the “Wolff Prize and the Art of Literary Translation” featuring Susan Bernofsky, Krishna Winston, Drenka Willen, Ross Benjamin, and Breon Mitchell (and my translation-loving nerd heart just exploded . . . I mean, holy shit! this is the very definition of a star-studded panel . . . in translation circles, ‘natch), a conversation on “An Increased Interest in Foreign Literatre?” (with Dan Slager of Milkweed, Jeremy Davies of Dalkey, and Dennis Johnson of Melville House—and again, nice, nice, nice), one on “Cultivating Audiences: Particular Examples, Viable Models?” (with Susan B. again, along with Susan Harris of Words Without Borders and German translator Annie Janusch), and finally one on “Publishing Literary Translations and New Publishing Technologies” (which brings back DLJ, along with Henry Carrigan of Northwestern University Press, and Jeff Waxman from Seminary Co-op).
This should be brilliant. And I’ll do my best to recap as soon as possible. Probably when I get back . . . but hey, maybe I could tweet these?
Anyway, it should be excellent . . .
Karel Schoeman’s Afrikaans novel, This Life, translated by Else Silke, falls into a genre maybe only noticed by the type of reader who tends toward Wittgenstein-type family resemblances. The essential resemblance is an elderly narrator, usually alone—or with one other. . .
In Joris-Karl Hyusmans’s most popular novel, À rebours (Against Nature or Against the Grain, depending on the which translated edition you’re reading), there is a famous scene where the protagonist, the decadent Jean des Esseintes, starts setting gemstones on the. . .
There are books that can only wisely be recommended to specific types of readers, where it is easy to know who the respective book won’t appeal to, and Kristiina Ehin’s Walker on Water is one these. What makes this neither. . .
Imagine the most baroque excesses of Goethe, Shakespeare, and Poe, blended together and poured into a single book: That is The Nightwatches of Bonaventura. Ophelia and Hamlet fall in love in a madhouse, suicidal young men deliver mournful and heartfelt. . .
In 1899, Maurice Ravel wrote “Pavane pour une infante défunte” (“Pavane for a Dead Princess”) for solo piano (a decade later, he published an orchestral version). The piece wasn’t written for a particular person; Ravel simply wanted to compose a. . .
Fiston Mwanza Mujila is an award-winning author, born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, who now, at 33, lives in Austria. From what I could find, much of his work is influenced by the Congo’s battle for independence and its. . .
Twenty-One Days of a Neurasthenic is not a novel in the traditional sense. Rather, it is a collection of vignettes recorded by journalist Georges Vasseur in his diary during a month spent in the Pyrenées Mountains to treat his nervous. . .
Founded in 1960 by such creative pioneers as George Perec, Raymond Queneau and Italo Calvino, the Oulipo, shorthand for Ouvroir de littérature potentielle, came about in when a group of writers and mathematicians sought constraints to find new structures and. . .
There’s little to say about a series of prose poems that willfully refuse to identify pronoun antecedents. Or perhaps there are a million things. The poems in Morse, My Deaf Friend— the chapbook by Miloš Djurdjević published by Ugly Duckling. . .
The Crimson Thread of Abandon is the first collection of short fiction available in English by the prolific Japanese writer and all-around avant-garde trickster Terayama Shūji, who died in 1983 at the age of 47. This collection would be important. . .