I don’t know for a fact that William Faulkner wouldn’t have been dumped after one, or maybe two, poorly selling novels, but it sure does seem like this sort of thing is much, much, much more likely in today’s publishing climate than that which predominated in the ’30s and ’40s.
At any rate, committed publishers who respect an author’s work enough not to politely request they dumb it down for a larger audience, and who know how to package that work so that it can be read by a large audience, are a thing that’s always needed.
The . . . continue reading, and add your comments
Courtesy of the good people at Vintage.
This account of several lower class citizens of Dublin describes their activities and tells what some of them were thinking one day in 1904
Thanks to John Lingan for the catch.
Interesting piece in the LARB overviewing the madness that followed the publication of Evelyn Barish’s The Double Life of Paul de Man.
Barish’s bill of indictments is long, detailed, sometimes overwrought, sometimes startling. But it also seems oddly beside the point. Her demystification has a tenuous relation to de Man’s actual critical work, which Barish claims not to really understand — which is an excuse our students might give but which few of us (from them, at least) would accept. The book, in any event, ends in 1960, before de Man’s most important work, so the extension . . . continue reading, and add your comments
I reviewed David Lipsky’s book about his conversations with David Foster Wallace during the Infinite Jest tour for the LA Times, and I gave it a very meh review, because it was only occasionally insightful or interesting. Although, I will say in Lipsky’s favor that I get the sense that he would have ended the project if Wallace’s survivors and literary estate had asked him to.
And in addition to that, Lipsky did at least have the respect to present the conversations without morphing them into some dramatization of someone who may or may not resemble David . . . continue reading, and add your comments
Just learned that in the fall Open Letter Books will be doing a very cool sounding book in honor of the great translator, translation-mentor, and translation-advocate Michael Henry Heim: The Man Between: The Life and Legacy of Michael Henry Heim.
Words Without Borders extracts an essay by Sean Cotter about Heim’s legendary translation of Milan Kundera’s The Unbearable Lightness of Being. I didn’t know this, but originally the title was controversial, as it was rather far from Kundera’s Czech. And, as Cotter explains, it cleared quite a path for itself once it got into the world . . . continue reading, and add your comments
Last week, CR-reader Donato wrote in on this blog to let me know that, despite My Struggle author Karl Ove Knausgaard’s stratospheric levels of fame throughout much of Europe (and now, increasingly, the U.S.), there was one country where his books have failed: Italy. In fact, Knausgaard’s Italian publisher quit after just two volumes of La mia lotta.
I’m intrigued by the whole Knausgaard phenomenon, so I was immediately compelled: just why did Knausgaard’s books fail in an Italian context? So, I sent Donate a few questions, which he graciously answered. Note: Donato isn’t a part of Italy’s . . . continue reading, and add your comments
These days, social media seems to be the way I most often hear about breaking news. But as much as a truism as that’s become for me, I really can’t recall having seen such a diverse and sizable group of people on the same page about an event as when Gabriel Garcia Marquez died yesterday. A sampling of the outpouring on Twitter following a death . . .
So I took the opportunity in my review of Blinding to editorialize a tiny bit about the state of American fiction. My thesis: if you want epic ambition, look overseas.
I don’t think it’s controversial at all to say that in the past decade or so, the great majority of the real shoot-for-the-moon, thrilling novels published in English have appeared in translation. Things life Freedom and The Goldfinch may pack in a lot of pages, but in terms of style, theme, and structure, they’re extremely tame. They’re page-turners that are mean to be plowed through, . . . continue reading, and add your comments
Nice to see that Notes on Conceptualisms has been translated into Spanish, and is attracting some serious attention in that language.
Depending on who you are, that title is either going to really excites you or scare the shit out of you. If you’re part of the latter group, though, there’s no reason for it. The book mostly consists of aphoristic statements about art and literature, all of which are interesting in and of themselves, and even more so when read in order. Yes, as the title suggests, it’s mostly about conceptual art, but in a way . . . continue reading, and add your comments
Sergio Chejfec’s two main English-language translators, interviewed at Asymptote:
Let’s get back to the translating itself. You both have been very fortunate in that you live in the same city as your writers, which isn’t the case for most translators. What kind of collaboration do you have with Chejfec?
Carson: It was important to know Sergio personally and get a sense that he was invested in the project. He’s fascinated by what the translator is doing—it resembles, particularly in its uncertainties and ambiguities, the thought process of his narrator. I found Sergio to be very patient and generous . . . continue reading, and add your comments