“How earnest, ironic, condescending, moralistic and simply funny a Tolstoy should the translator inhabit? Perhaps the only way to render Tolstoy’s variable voice is to continue producing ever-varying translations.” Masha Gessen looks at the latest English translations of Anna Karenina and breaks down their nuances of word choice and accumulated meaning for The New York Times Book Review, and along the way she questions the novel’s most famous line: just how alike are happy families? How can we know?
“According to the biography, Hadden designed the fact-checking system with the thought that putting a male writer and a female researcher together in a quasi-adversarial situation would create a sexual dynamic that could lend energy to the process.” Calvin Trillin’s memories of the Time offices in the early 1960s are at times more Mad Men than Mad Men.
Two ways of looking at a book: “Had I been still more articulate, I might have said that there’s a special readerly pleasure in approaching a book as you would a box. In its self-containment lies its ferocious magic; you can see everything it holds, and yet its meagre, often hackneyed contents have a way of engineering fresh, refined, resourceful patterns. And Emily might have replied that she comes to a book as to a keyhole: you observe some of the characters’ movements, you hear a little of their dialogue, but then they step outside your limited purview. They have a reality that outreaches the borders of the page.”
“Avoid using the term generically and without definition, however, because it is not well known and the term may exist primarily as a public-relations device to make its supporters’ actual beliefs less clear and more acceptable to a broader audience. In the past we have called such beliefs racist, neo-Nazi or white supremacist.” The Associated Press addresses the term “alt-right.”
Recommended Reading: Robert Macfarlane at The Guardian on what it means to be living in the Anthropocene age–in which human influence on the planet is permanent and profound–and how our writers and artists are responding to the crisis.
Luddites rejoice! If you still use a manual typewriter, you already know that they’re superior to laptops for writing. Now comes proof that they’re also better at making art than text-based computer art programs like ASCII and its “colored cousin,” ANSI. The video’s narrator tells us, in German, that many of the subjects autographed their typewriter-generated portraits, and the Pope sent a thank you note — and cash!