Tag Archives: Literary translation

Unlived Lives in Natalia Ginzburg’s “Valentino” and “Sagittarius,” Translated from Italian by Avril Bardoni

By Eric Gudas One refers, as a commonplace, to “the unlived life”; but fiction excels at dramatizing people’s myriad unlived lives. Natalia Ginzburg’s fiction links stifled hopes and ambitions with suppressed speech. The narrators of Ginzburg’s Valentino and Sagittarius: Two Novellas (1957), which New York Review Books Classics has just reissued in Avril Bardoni’s decades-old […]

A Curse on All Dissidents? An Interview with editor and translator Anatoly Kudryavitsky

By Ainsley Morse The collection Accursed Poets: Dissident Poetry from Soviet Russia (Smokestack Books, 2020) presents a bilingual selection of late-Soviet-era work from eighteen Russian-language poets. The poets’ work is featured in alphabetical order: Gennady Aigi, Yuri Aikhenvald, Yuli Daniel, Vladimir Earl(e), Yuri Galanskov, Natalia Gorbanevskaya, Igor Kholin, Viktor Krivulin, Evgeny Kropivnitsky, Viktor Nekipelov, Vsevolod […]

“Lost and Found”: Franz Kafka’s “The Lost Writings,” Translated from German by Michael Hofmann

Anyone who is interested in Kafka—which is to say pretty much everyone who is interested in literature—will be curious to read the “lost writings” of a man who famously, at the time of his death, wanted all of his unpublished work destroyed.

“Drawing a Blank”: Hiroko Oyamada’s “The Hole,” translated from Japanese by David Boyd

By Alex Andriesse It’s not always clear what is happening in Hiroko Oyamada’s The Hole, but by the time the reader notices how little he understands, he is too immersed in the novel to put it down. Obviously, I am speaking in the third person about my own experience, but I doubt that this experience […]

On the Scale of Conflict, its Crimes and Traumas: Adania Shibili’s Minor Detail, Translated from Arabic by Elisabeth Jaquette

By Sheera Talpaz “Try to remember some details,” implores the speaker of one of Israeli poet Yehuda Amichai’s well-known poems (Amichai, 318). In translation, it’s impossible to tell that the original Hebrew recalls the Passover Haggadah’s Rabbi Yehuda (naturally), who proffered a mnemonic for the ten plagues, brutal punishments that God memorably rained down on […]

Halcyon Days: Adrien Goetz’s “Villa of Delirium,” translated from French by Natasha Lehrer

The novel falls within the greater readiness in French culture to reckon with the nation’s anti-Semitic past than its colonialism.

A Life of Ruptures: Frédéric Pajak’s “Uncertain Manifesto,” Translated from French by Donald Nicholson-Smith

A novel that traverses generic as well as geographic and historical boundaries, Uncertain Manifesto switches, from chapter to chapter, between autobiography, essay, illustrated novel, history, literary analysis and fable-like fiction.

“Children are Born Persons”: Toon Tellegen’s “I Wish,” translated from Dutch by David Colmer

By Kelsi Vanada Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird is, for me, a prime example of a book with a child narrator that’s often included in literature curricula for middle schoolers, but which in many ways speaks to an adult audience. I taught at a small K-8 school for a few years right out of […]

The Gospel According to Elena Ferrante

As she probes the association of God with forces of repression and domination, Giovanna condemns the patriarchal nature of her relationship with Andrea.

Alone With Language

By David Kurnick You could tell it like a fairy tale: a malevolent father who curses his daughter with ugliness; a comely prince who, some difficult years later, lifts the curse by praising the girl’s beauty. An enchanted bracelet, invested with mysterious power by the father’s hated and feared sister, who practices the “terrible arts” […]