The End of Oulipo?

The End of Oulipo? My book (co-authored with Lauren Elkin), published by Zero Books. Available everywhere. Order it from Amazon, or find it in bookstores nationwide. The End of Oulipo

Lady Chatterley’s Brother

Lady Chatterley's Brother. The first ebook in the new TQC Long Essays series, Lady Chatterley's Brothercalled “an exciting new project” by Chad Post of Open Letter and Three Percent. Why can't Nicholson Baker write about sex? And why can Javier Marias? We investigate why porn is a dead end, and why seduction paves the way for the sex writing of the future. Read an excerpt.

Available now from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and direct from this site:


Translate This Book!

Ever wonder what English is missing? Called "a fascinating Life Perecread" by The New Yorker, Translate This Book! brings together over 40 of the top translators, publishers, and authors to tell us what books need to be published in English. Get it on Kindle.

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You Say

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  • Andrija F.: And don't forget to add Elfriede Jelinek, my favorite among
  • Richard: If you search for this Chris Roberts, God being on Amazon (y
  • Seamus Duggan: READ MARILYNNE ROBINSON!!!!! No encouragement needed, althou

Group Reads

The Tunnel

Fall Read: The Tunnel by William H. Gass

A group read of the book that either "engenders awe and despair" or "[goads] the reader with obscenity and bigotry," or both. Info here. Buy the book here and support this site.

Naked Singularity

Summer Read: A Naked Singularity by Sergio De La Pava

Fans of Gaddis, Pynchon, DeLillo: A group read of the book that went from Xlibris to the University of Chicago Press. Info here. Buy the book here and support this site.

Life Perec

Life A User's Manual by Georges Perec

Starting March 2011, read the greatest novel from an experimental master. Info here. Buy the book here and support this site.

Last Samurai

Fall Read: The Last Samurai by Helen DeWitt

A group read of one of the '00s most-lauded postmodern novels. Info here. Buy the book here and support this site.

Tale of Genji

The Summer of Genji

Two great online lit magazines team up to read a mammoth court drama, the world's first novel.

Your Face Tomorrow

Your Face This Spring

A 3-month read of Javier Marias' mammoth book Your Face Tomorrow

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Ten Memorable Quotes from William Gaddis’ Letters

New Books
Here are ten of my favorite moments from these hugely interesting letters.


Interviews from Conversational Reading

New Books
See this page for interviews with leading authors, translators, publishers, and more.


  • Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay by Elena Ferrante September 16, 2014
    Few novelists have captured the rhythms and flow of life with the veracity of Elena Ferrante in her Neapolitan Novels. Following the friendship between Elena Greco and Lila Cerullo from childhood to old age, the tetralogy spans fifty years; over the course of that time, no emotion is too small, too dark, too banal to be recorded. No expense, so to speak, is […]
  • Trieste by Daša Drndić September 15, 2014
    As Drndić reiterates throughout the novel, “Behind every name there is a story.” And Haya Tedeschi’s story is draped in death. Born to a Jewish family that converted to Catholicism and tacitly supported the Fascists in Italy, Haya was a bystander to the Holocaust. She attended movies while Jews and partisans were transported to concentration camps; she pored […]
  • The Tree With No Name by Drago Jančar September 15, 2014
    At the opening of chapter 87—the first chapter found in The Tree with No Name—Janez Lipnik finds himself up a tree, shoeless, and lost in the Slovenian countryside. He makes his way to a house where he is taken in by a woman teacher who is waiting for her lover, a soldier. It becomes clear we are at the height of World War II. Soon after, we follow Lipnik […]
  • Kjell Askildsen, Selected Stories September 15, 2014
    Here, at the midpoint of his narrative, Bernhard, the affectless and purposeless protagonist of "The Unseen," experiences existential near-emancipation at dusk. This retreat toward obscurity in terse, direct language—thematic and stylistic markers of each work in the collection—comes immediately after Bernhard’s sister mentions her plans to enterta […]
  • Berlin Now by Peter Schneider September 15, 2014
    In his new book of essays, Berlin Now, Peter Schneider reveals himself as a gnarled Cold Warrior who has been stricken with many of the maladies common to his generation. With the specter of Communism exorcized, his new enemy is Islam. The book is a collection of short interlocking pieces introducing Anglophone readers to Berlin; it is not being published in […]
  • Paris by Marcos Giralt Torrente September 15, 2014
    In 1999, Marcos Giralt Torrente’s debut novel, Paris, was awarded the XVII Premio Herralde de Novela prize. Despite his success, it took fourteen years for Giralt’s work to appear in English, with the story collection The End of Love arriving in 2013. Now, this year sees the publication of two more books by Giralt: Paris, translated by Margaret Jull Costa, a […]
  • 10:04 by Ben Lerner September 15, 2014
    “It seemed that the [New Yorker] story—which was in part the result of my dealing with the reception of my novel—had been much more widely received than the novel itself,” says the narrator of Ben Lerner’s second novel, 10:04. Perhaps this narrator is Lerner himself—at one point he describes 10:04, within its own pages, as “neither fiction nor nonfiction but […]
  • Theories of Forgetting by Lance Olsen September 15, 2014
    Lance Olsen’s Theories of Forgetting is a masterful work structured around Robert Smithson’s earthwork “The Spiral Jetty.” Olsen’s novel is comprised of three narrations, written each by a separate member of a family. The husband’s and wife’s texts progress in opposite directions across the book, with each page divided among these two inverted texts; though […]
  • An Interview with Lance Olsen September 15, 2014
    The most substantial may be that innovative fiction knows what it is, that someone like me could define it in any productive way, that innovative fiction might somehow be one thing, or somehow consistent through time and space. None of these is the case. That’s exactly what I find most exciting about writing it, reading it, thinking about it. Innovative fict […]
  • The Ants by Sawako Nakayasu September 15, 2014
    In The Ants, we receive a study of existence through ants. That is, there are ants everywhere, ants substituted in every segment of the landscape, yet their behavior seems to reveal something altogether human. Too human. The ants are crushed and disappointed. They are warm and many. They are involved in gang wars and live inside carrot cake. The unique quali […]

Editors’ Picks for 2013: Freelancers Aurélie Maurin and Elianna Kan

Daniel Medin, Senior Editor of The Quarterly Conversation, has compiled favorite reads of 2013 from a number of international literary magazines. To read all the picks in this series, click here.

Aurélie Maurin and Elianna Kan on Poetry

Elianna Kan (New York)

Elianna curates the translation portfolio for each issue of The American Reader, where she is a Senior Editor. She has done editorial work for New Directions, The Paris Review, and Picador, among others.

This year marked the launch of the NYRB Poets series, committed to publishing original translation of important voices in international poetry. The series launched with two fantastic collections: Alexander Vvedensky: An Invitation for Me To Think, edited and translated from the Russian by Eugene Ostashevsky and Matvei Yankelevich and Donald Share’s translation from the Spanish of a collection of Miguel Hernandez’s poems.

I was also thrilled to see Alejandra Pizarnik’s poetry finally translated in English by Yvette Siegert for New Directions’ Pearl series. This particular collection, A Musical Hell, is only a taste of the work of one of Argentina’s most important poets. These poems pulsate with the vitality and sense of foreboding characteristic of most of Pizarnik’s work. Here is a poet rattling at the bars of her inner prison, pouring her frustration into tightly controlled verses. Cortázar applauded her work, marveling at how “so much can be contained in such apparently slight verbal correlatives.” I hope this is not the last we see of this poet’s work in translation.

Other favorites this year included:

Henrik Nordbrandt’s collection of poems entitled When We Leave Each Other, translated from the Danish by American poet Patrick Phillips.

My Poems Won’t Change the World by Patrizia Cavalli, edited by Gini Alhadeff and translated from the Italian by various translators, published by FSG this fall.

Lastly, I was delighted to discover the poems of Romanian poet Simona Popescu while curating the Romanian portfolio for our year-end issue of The Reader. We’ll be featuring Sean Cotter’s marvelous translations in our forthcoming issue.

 

Aurélie Maurin (Berlin/Paris)

Aurélie is a freelance curator, translator and editor for numerous cultural institutions and literary magazines, among them Haus der Kulturen der Welten, Literaturwerkstatt Berlin, European Society of Authors, La mer gelée, Transkrit, and Schreibheft. She is co-editor of the poetry collection VERSschmuggel/reVERSible published by Verlag das Wunderhorn, and her current translation projects include work by Thomas Brasch, Dagmara Krauss, Steffen Popp, Thomas Rosenlöcher, and Daniela Seel.

Translation’s no loss, but rather a journey. It gains ground.

Here is an illustration. At the start of this exercise, I pictured my situation via a title by Friederike Mayröcker [“I just sit there CRUELLY”], then moved through associations that made of each poet a translator.

To translate the strangeness of their fellow poets, Rosmarie Waldrop, Pascal Poyet, Uljana Wolf, Eugene Ostahevsky, and Monika Rinck create new strangenesses. They are masters each at making distance, but also of reinstating distance and strangeness, and they somehow pull this off without ever losing the intimacy of the original’s humor.

They mind the gap. They are all obsessed by words, by each others’ words, and the results are equally addictive. When I read these poets, I have the feeling they’ll go on writing and translating until each word has been savored fully, in every possible combination with every other word.

1.ich sitze nur GRAUSAM da by Friederike Mayröcker, Suhrkamp, 2012.

2. Heiligenanstalt by Friederike Mayröcker, translated into English by Rosmarie Waldrop, Burning Deck Press, 1994.

3.D’Absence abondante by Rosmarie Waldrop, translated by Pascal Poyet into French, Contrat Maint, 2009.

4.“Draguer l’évidence” byPascal Poyet, translated by Uljana Wolf into German, VERSschmuggel, Wunderhorn, 2012, and more soon in Schreibheft).

5. The Life and Opinions of DJ Spinoza by Eugene Ostashevsky, translated by Uljana Wolf and Monica Rinck into German.

6. Daniiel Kharms translated by Eugene Ostashevsky for Oberiu: An Anthology of Russian Absurdism, ed. Eugene Ostashevsky and Matvei Yankelevich, Northwestern, 2006.

7) Rudert! Rudert! byTomaž Šalamun, translated by Gregor Podlogar and Monika Rinck into German, Edition Korrespondenzen, 2012.

8) Hasenhass: Eine Fibel in 47 Bildern by Monika Rinck, Verlag Peter Engstler, 2013.

More from Conversational Reading:

  1. Editors’ Picks for 2013: Schreibheft Daniel Medin, Senior Editor of The Quarterly Conversation, has compiled favorite reads of 2013 from a number of international literary magazines. To read all the...
  2. Editors’ Picks for 2013: The White Review Daniel Medin, Senior Editor of The Quarterly Conversation, has compiled favorite reads of 2013 from a number of international literary magazines. To read all the...
  3. Editors’ Picks for 2013: Vagant Daniel Medin, Senior Editor of The Quarterly Conversation, has compiled favorite reads of 2013 from a number of international literary magazines. To read all the...
  4. Editors’ Picks for 2013: La Tempestad Daniel Medin, Senior Editor of The Quarterly Conversation, has compiled favorite reads of 2013 from a number of international literary magazines. To read all the...
  5. Darwish in Translation We’ll be publishing an excellent review/essay on the late Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish in issue 18 of The Quarterly Conversation. In advance of that, The...

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