Chad Post on What's Wrong with "Why Translation Matters"

At The Quarterly Conversation, we’ve got Chad Post’s review/essay of Edith Grossman’s Why Translation Matters.

Granted, Chad is sympathetic to a lot of what Grossman has to say, but he also has some significant disagreements with her. Have a look at the review to see more. Here’s a taste:

Grossman knows as well as I do that it’s almost impossible to get these sorts of publishers to change their ways. Yes, they do publish some amazing books, and yes, a few of the houses really do try and pay attention to the rest of the world. But the arguments that Grossman puts forth here—the impact translated literature and foreign ideas can have on writers, that literature is one of the best ways to understanding other cultures—are arguments that could be bunched under the idea that publishing international literature is a “moral obligation.” Yes, I’m painting with a broad stroke here, but having had conversations with executives at these very publishing houses Grossman lambasts, I know how they view these sorts of statements. Yes, that’s all fine and good, but we exist to make money, publish books people want. That sort of thing is for nonprofits and university presses.

For my own part, I think there are good arguments on both sides, and I’m glad this debate is being had. And it’s a hell of a lot more important than this silly conversation about Yann Martel’s new book.


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