We tend to take it for granted that the world needs more translated works. The dictates of common wisdom state that reading translated works help us understand the reality of foreign cultures. But what if translation, which erases at least some nuance from works of literature, instead “sifts out the foreign or the unsettling in the name of easy consumption”? In The Irish Times, Michael Cronin reviews a recent book by NYU professor Emily Apter.
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.
Let’s play a game: a “lazy Sunday” version of a Choose Your Own Adventure novel. Ready? Good. Imagine you’re hanging out with Junot Díaz today. What do you want to do? Select Option A to go barhopping. Select Option B to go comic book shopping. Select Option C to read an excerpt from his new book, This Is How You Lose Her. Or Select Option D to read Leah Hager Cohen’s review of the collection. There is no wrong answer.
Annalee Newitz asks “What does science fiction tell us about the future of reproductive rights?“
At Open Letters, Rohan Maitzen writes about her awakening to the chasm between an academic appreciation for books and “a more personal, affective, and engaged vision of criticism. It has been surprising and exciting to me to realize how blinkered I was about non-academic book culture, and chastening to realize how little use my own specialized reading has been as preparation to join in.”
Out this week: The Animals by Christian Kiefer; The Precious One by Marisa de los Santos; A Reunion of Ghosts by Judith Claire Mitchell; The Lost Boys Symphony by Mark Andrew Ferguson; The Wisdom of Perversity by Rafael Yglesias; The Shadow of the Crescent Moon by Fatima Bhutto; The Wednesday Group by Sylvia True; Night at the Fiestas by Kirstin Valdez Quade; and Notes from a Dead House, a new Dostoevsky translation by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky (whom we’ve interviewed). For more on these and other new titles, check out our Great 2015 Book Preview.