Saturday, February 8, 2014

Roundup on recent English translations

A shot from Carol Reed's The Third Man.

From John Gray's review of a new translation of Curzio Malaparte's The Skin:
If you want a vividly realistic picture of the state of Naples when it was liberated, you should turn to Norman Lewis’s Naples ’44 – another blackly comic book that is also luminously sane. If you want to enter into the delirium and cruelty of the period, it is The Skin you must read.
I like Gray's juxtaposition here of Lewis' greater accuracy with Malaparte's greater truth. An embellished account may be truer to life. This reminds me of a similar contrast between Blunden's Undertones of War and Robert Graves' Goodbye to All That: Blunden stuck closer to the facts while Graves, despite his greater freedom with the truth, gave us a book that better conveys what it was like (at times) to be there.

W. W. Norton & Company has issued Susan Bernofsky's new translation of Kafka's Metamorphosis. Here's an excerpt, and here's an essay that Bernofsky adapted from her Afterword. Rebecca Schuman reviews the new translation in Slate.

Schuman reviews two more books on Kafka (h/t LGH). And here are two reviews of Reiner Stach's Kafka biography: one by John Banville and one by Stephen Mitchelmore.

Robert Pogue Harrison reviews Zibaldone, a translation of Giacomo Leopardi's notebooks, all 2592 pages of them. The translation was produced by a team at the University of Birmingham. Joshua Cohen calls Leopardi's notebooks 'one of the greatest blogs of the nineteenth century'. Tim Parks on the translation of 'zibaldone': 'The word zibaldone comes from the same root as zabaione and originally had the disparaging sense of a hotchpotch of food, or any mixture of heterogeneous elements, then a random collection of notes....'

From Mark O'Connell's review of W. G. Sebald's A Place in the Country (Jo Catling's translation of which has just been released in North America by Random House):
Sebald has a way of viewing the world whereby seemingly minor misfortunes or cruelties are made to stand for catastrophes too terrible to be directly observed.
Here's an excerpt from Sebald essay on Robert Walser. Here's an interview of Catling and Anthea Bell on translating Sebald.

Alma Books publishes Sandor Marai's poems in English: 'This collection, the first and only edition of Márai's poems in the English language, presented in John Ridland's and Peter V. Czipott's brilliant verse translation, and with an introduction by Tibor Fischer, offers a comprehensive selection spanning the author's whole career.'

Zsófia Szilágyi on a newly discovered manuscript by Sandor Márai: 'Confessions of a Bourgeois is undoubtedly one of Márai’s most significant books, with one of the most beautiful endings in Hungarian literature, narrating the news of Franz Ferdinand’s assassination that reached the writer in an idyllic summer milieu. “Princip has aimed precisely. Exactly into the middle of our lives”, as Márai wrote elsewhere.'

David van Dusen on Miklós Szentkuthy's newly translated Marginalia on Casanova, which is 'Szentkuthy’s commentary on the German edition of a French memoir written by a Venetian librarian, Giacomo Casanova, in the 1790s.' Nicholas Lezard included Marginalia in his list of the best paperbacks of 2013. The translation was published by Contra Mundum Press. Rhys Tranter liked it.

Here's Rainer Hanshe on Szentkuthy's Towards the One and Only Metaphor.

Biographer Bengt Jangfeldt on “the battle for Mayakovsky”.

Amanda Lewis on Haruki Murakami and the Nobel Prize. Several more pieces on Murakami.

No comments: