Tag Archives: Literary translation

Writing Through Memory and Digging Through Secrets of the Past: Mykola Bazhan’s “Quiet Spiders of the Hidden Soul,” edited by Oksana Rosenblum, Lev Fridman, and Anzhelika Khyzhnia

The poems included in Quiet Spiders precede a tragedy in Ukrainian history, the Holodomor, or famine of 1932-1933, and the period known as the Executed Renaissance when a generation of Soviet writers and artists were wiped out by Stalin’s regime.

Nostalgia as Oblivion in Nelson Simòn’s “Itinerary of Forgetting,” Translated from Spanish by Lawrence Schimel

By Cal Paule It’s funny, but I forgot where I left my copy of this book. It’s lost for now, but luckily I have a pdf version. If, though, it were the memory of the exact color of my mother’s hair, or the angles of a roofline above my hometown, I might not be as […]

Marina and Me: Nina Kossman’s “Other Shepherds: Poems with Translations from Marina Tsvetaeva”

If you know Tsvetaeva well, it’s hard not to reconstruct the original mentally while reading the translation.

Translators and Their Ghosts: Iginio Ugo Tarchetti’s “Fantastic Tales,” Translated from Italian by Lawrence Venuti

Iginio Ugo Tarchetti’s Fantastic Tales (Archipelago Books, 2020) is a reprint of the 1992 original Mercury House edition translated from Italian by Lawrence Venuti, one of the most influential scholars of translation today.

Translating Silence: Giuseppe Ungaretti’s “Allegria,” translated from Italian by Geoffrey Brock

By Elena Borelli When translating Giuseppe Ungaretti’s first volume of poetry, originally published in 1919 and subsequently reissued in various editions, Geoffrey Brock has chosen to leave the title in the original Italian. The  translation of the word allegria as “merriment” or “mirth” would be misleading for the reader, especially because in the very first […]

Translation is a Performance of Language: An Interview with Translator and Poet Will Schutt

I’m not sure there’s an Italian word for microaggression. If there is, it is probably lifted from americano.

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 Truth that Lies Behind the Lies

Elena Ferrante’s new novel, The Lying Life of Adults, is intense and bitter.