50 Outstanding Translations from the Last 50 Years

The Literary Saloon points me to: 50 Outstanding Translations of the Last 50 Years.

I certainly won’t quibble with the inclusion of Barbara Wright’s courageous rendition of Exercises in Style, but I will say that if ever a book is crying out for a new translation, this is it. Wright’s language may have been correct when she made her translation in 1958, but much of it just seems completely off-base now. I’d like to see a new translation, one that uses period language that has stayed a little more relevant than the words Wright chose.

Another thing about Wright’s translation: it’s all in British English! That’s, of course, fine if you’re English, but I think American readers deserve a translation of this work that relies so heavily on slang written in an idiom that they find more natural.

And lastly, Wright (perhaps inevitably) took numerous liberties with her translation–if anything, Exercises is, page for page, as good a collection of the untranslatable as you’re likely to find. Well, I’d like to see someone else’s creative intellect take a shot at solving some of the problems that Wright tackled.

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Funny, I just picked up a nice copy of this at a used bookstore while in Greece, but after reading maybe a third of it I was regretting I hadn’t held out for a newer translation (hers is fun… but pretty distracting.)
But I guess there isn’t one… odd.
And that Matt Maddin comic sounds great — Cheers.


The Surrender is Veronica Scott Esposito’s “collection of facts” concerning how she embraced her true gender.


Two long essays of 10,000 words each on sex in—and out of—literature . . .

The first essay dives in to Nicholson Baker’s “sex trilogy,” explaining just what Baker is up to here and why these books ultimately fail to be as sexy as Baker might wish.

From there the book moves on to the second essay, which explains just why Spaniard Javier Marías does right what Baker does wrong . . .


5 essays. 2 interviews.

All in all, over 25,000 words of Latin American literary goodness.

3 never-before-published essays, including “The Digression”—a 4,000-word piece on the most important digression in César Aira’s career.

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