I never planned to write “the book of the course”—I was fully occupied with a biography of Romain Gary. But when in June 2009 a plump, pink-faced person offhandedly remarked at some academic party that “a translation is obviously no substitute for the original”, I pedaled straight home, sat down at my desk and dashed off a squib against that thoughtless cliché.
It struck me that other translation clichés deserved similar treatment. I sketched out short essays against “making it sound like the original”, “traitor, translator”, and “_les belles infidèles_”. It was good to get them off my chest.