In many of Queens’ 62 library branches, copies of books are being borrowed are in Korean, Chinese or Spanish. A library branch in Astoria, responding to its own diverse readership, carries children’s books in Arabic, Bengali, Chinese, Russian, Portuguese and Gujarati. Striving to cater to the intensifying globalization of its surrounding streets, the New York neighborhood library speaks your language as never before.
At Full Stop, the editors interview Susan Bernofsky, who directs the literary translation program at Columbia and has published translations of works by Robert Walser, among other writers. She talks about German phrases that rarely appear in English, as well as the ethics of translating a work faithfully: “I think it’s the translator’s responsibility to be so attuned to the requirements of a given text (and the universe of the author) that these inevitable interventions are always appropriate and never arbitrary or willful,” she says. You could also read Tanya Paperny on the translator Michael Henry Heim.
Elissa Schappell thinks writers need to stop whining. “Writers seem to think that by virtue of intellect or sensitivity that we suffer more than others, that the work we do is more necessary than other work. This idea is not only ridiculous, it’s shameful,” she wrote after 2paragraphs asked her “What Do You Like Least About Being A Writer?” Pair with: our interview with her earlier this year.
How can we not link to this? Mickey Hess creates a mock-Millions essay in refashioning Cathy Day’s essay about “the novel problem” in MFA programs as “The Light-Bulb Filament Problem: 7 Thoughts on Academia’s Sheet Metal Crisis.” Clever response to the ongoing MFA debate or just plain silly?
Do you want to start a small press? Take advice from Spencer Madsen of Sorry House. In his article “I Made the Mistake of Starting a Small Press and So Can You” at The Toast, Madsen recommends making the book look “better than a breakfast burrito” and listening to 2 Chainz to get started. Pair with: Our article on how Curbside Splendor became a small press to watch.
Accusations of plagiarism – the real kind, which is not to be confused with “self-plagiarism” – just keep following Turkish writer Elif Şafak, don’t they? Lydia Kiesling previously reported on the fiasco around her book Iskender last August, but now more allegations are surrounding the cover art on Şafak’s latest novel, Şemspare.
What do you do if you’re Leo Tolstoy, 20 years old and being treated in isolation for venereal disease? Start a diary, of course. Because you’re Tolstoy, you’ll probably use this diary to make a plan of your day, and then comment on how your actual activities line up with your ideals (“not quite,” usually). And, to be as Tolstoy-ish as possible, why not rate all your actions on a general moral scale? An example: “Arose somewhat late and read, but did not have time to write. Poiret came, I fenced, and did not send him away (sloth and cowardice). Ivanov came, I spoke with him for too long (cowardice). Koloshin (Sergei) came to drink vodka, I did not escort him out (cowardice).” And so on. For some long-term perspective, pair with The Millions‘s perennially popular “Tolstoy or Dostoevsky? 8 Experts on Who’s Greater.”