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Reissues & New Translations


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Showing 1-25 of 41 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 30 Jul 2012 21:17:17 BDT
P. J. says:
I thought it would be worthwhile having a thread for discussion of out-of-print novels, news regarding reissues of out-of-print novels, and new translations of foreign language novels. Hopefully some of you will be able to contribute (hello monica) and also make some recommendations.

I'll start with the currently out-of-print The Devil To Pay In The Backlands by João Guimarães Rosa. For those who are unaware of it, it is a novel about Brazilian Jagunços, or bandits, told by one Riobaldo to an anonymous listener (who is, perhaps, the Devil). It is, for want of a more enlightening term, a modernist novel and is as experimental and complex as any of the major novels that that term brings to mind. However, the English translation is poor and there have been, apparently, numerous attempts to re-translate it. Renowned translator of South American literature Gregory Rabassa started one, but gave up declaring it an impossible task, and added that it could only be translated by James Joyce (a rather ridiculous notion that serves to excuse his own failure, if you ask me). As far as i know there are currently no plans to reissue it and there are no ongoing translations. A real shame, for despite the flawed nature of the current English translation, it is still a very special novel.

Posted on 30 Jul 2012 21:24:21 BDT
Oracle says:
Good idea for a thread, PJ!

A new translation of Solaris has been published in the past few months. This is the first Polish to English translation as the previous translation was Polish to French to English and supposedly missed a lot out. I've not started it yet but it's close to the top of my TBR pile.

Posted on 30 Jul 2012 21:29:08 BDT
P. J. says:
I was hoping someone would mention Solaris, Oracle. Is the new translation only available on kindle? If so, do you know of any plans for the release of a physical version?

In reply to an earlier post on 30 Jul 2012 22:57:15 BDT
Oracle says:
I read that it would be available on Kindle first and then paper some time later (around 4-6 months I think), but I can't find the article to confirm the timeframe.

Posted on 31 Jul 2012 20:18:14 BDT
monica says:
Am I that predictable, PJ? does this mean you want me to recommend a great Faroese crime novelist sure to be the next big thing?

Solaris was first thing occurring to me as well. Last time I checked, about a month ago, it was still available only as talking book/robobook. Newly translated books I've got recently are Cyclops, Ranko Marinkovic, and Atlas by Kai-cheung Dung, but I've ot yet read either.

Aside from periodic trawling of publishers' websites--Norvik, Ariadne, Melvill House, etc.--and receiving enewsletters from some of them (Archipelago v. good at sending posts w/ new books, Atlas is dire) the way I find out about new translations is by reading Orthofer's Literary Saloon.

For previously out-of-print novels in translation, Melville House has a subdivision called Neversink Library, though many of the books issued so far aren't particularly obscure. I'll try to remember key words in this thread and post as I come upon new translations of stuff that looks appealing, anyway . . .

Posted on 31 Jul 2012 23:55:03 BDT
Last edited by the author on 1 Aug 2012 08:35:15 BDT
P. J. says:
I think we probably find information from many of the same sources, monica, but it would be useful, to me at least, to have a place where this information is gathered together for easier reference. Also, i find that as i spend more time on my own projects i am able to spend less time on this kind of research.

Anyway, James E Woods is apparently working on a translation of Zettel's Traum by Arno Schmidt, the greatly undervalued German writer. Anyone hears anything about this let me know. (It's worth pondering what form the published novel will take. I own Evening Edged In Gold by the same writer. It cost me a ludicrous amount of money, arrived after a period of time greater than most wars, and is the size of a small African country).

A Horseman On the Roof by Jean Giono desperately needs re-translating. As does Auto-da-fe by Canetti, and Berlin Alexanderplatz by Doblin. In fact, Doblin's works have been shamefully treated in English. No sign at the moment of a fully translated November 1918 either. Uwe Johnson's Anniversaries, apparently one of the greatest German novels, exists only in a truncated (and unavailable) form too.

I'm eager to get hold of The Skin by Malaparte. Fingers crossed that New York Review of Books brings this back into print. And Platonov's Chevengur.

Posted on 1 Aug 2012 08:36:11 BDT
Last edited by the author on 1 Aug 2012 08:36:44 BDT
P. J. says:
A new translation, i think, of highly regarded, and currently out-of-print, Czech novel Marketa Lazarova by Vladislav Vancura out next year.

Posted on 26 Aug 2012 20:53:10 BDT
Last edited by the author on 26 Aug 2012 21:02:49 BDT
monica says:
I've come upon on a site of some--though not a great deal of--relevance: http://asymptotejournal.com/index.php. It seems to be translations of excerpts and short pieces that have not yet appeared here in book form. Worth having a look at for Jean Amery's suicide notes, at the least: I wonder whether anyone else has left final letters with so many literary references . . .

P.J., have now read Marinovic's Cyclops & though I might be dead wrong it seems like something you might enjoy. No idea how to describe it beyond saying that it's very rich and often very funny. Oh, yes, & it's long as well. (I note that translation was copyrighted last year; had thought it new because it appeared in bookshop only recently . . . )

I knew Malaparte's name but nothing about his books; thanks for mentioning him. Kaputt is certainly something I'll keep an eye out for. Apparently he wrote a novel based in one way or another upon Proust--does anyone know anything about it?

Posted on 1 Sep 2012 14:14:58 BDT
P. J. says:
I tried amazon and google for Marinovic but found nothing. If you have a link i'd be interested in having a look.

Kaputt is possibly the only book i have ever read that i feel genuinely conflicted about. I have never previously found myself making moral judgements about a writer's work but i found parts of it make me feel quite uncomfortable (the scene where he gets shown around a Jewish ghetto in particular). This is perhaps because i have not been able to decipher whether it is fiction or a memoir and therefore i am unable to see the narrator as anyone other than Malaparte himself. It is, however, wonderfully written and some of the scenes are spectacular (the frozen horse heads etc) and the whole thing is, in the main, marvelously odd..

The Skin by Malaparte will be reissued by NYRB next April.

In reply to an earlier post on 1 Sep 2012 14:59:27 BDT
Anita says:
Cyclops (Margellos World Republic of Letters)

Any chance it's this one?

In reply to an earlier post on 1 Sep 2012 18:23:29 BDT
Oracle says:
The sole review sold that one to me, but I'm going to wait for the price to come down a little as it's more than a tenner in all formats at the moment :)

Posted on 1 Sep 2012 19:24:49 BDT
P. J. says:
I think that may be the one Anita, thank you. And thank you too monica as it certainly does sound like something i would enjoy. I now have the book on order.

Posted on 3 Sep 2012 17:53:26 BDT
P. J. says:
The Wall by Marlen Haushofer to be reissued January 2013. German. A possibly post-apocalyptic world where only one woman (and a smattering of animals) has survived. Have long wanted to read it.

Posted on 3 Sep 2012 21:32:36 BDT
Last edited by the author on 3 Sep 2012 21:43:08 BDT
monica says:
Yes, thank you, Anita. Myself, I'm far too busy applying quadratic equations to character development in Jacobean drama to have time to bother with proof-reading my posts. P.J., I still could be dead wrong, but now that you've ordered it I can say that it had occurred to me that Cyclops was in fact right up your street. (Delighted to hear that you want it, Oracle the Cheapo, but don't rely on one review: Nothing I've read sums it up--all reviewers pick out certain aspects of it w/out being able to give an overall sense of it, which I suppose is one reason I called it 'rich'.)

I remember having looked into The Wall some time ago and deciding that it had too much potential to be a Person Re-connects With & Finds Meaning In Nature Because She's A Woman & Therefore Sensitive sort of thing to be worth chancing. But then, preoccupation w. algebra v tedious plays often leads to one's making snap judgements on little evidence.

But what is it with female Germanic writers and glass barriers? One of the books I've read this year is Gruber's Sphere of Glass, in which an isolated woman is cut off from the world by, er, a sphere of glass . . .

Posted on 4 Sep 2012 00:25:13 BDT
P. J. says:
It could be that kind of novel monica, but then it is German, and a feminist text, so it is far more likely to be more concerned with representing 'the isolation of women in society' than any tree-huggy nonsense. Doris Lessing liked it and although her own works have never impressed me much she did have great taste.

Posted on 5 Sep 2012 21:31:17 BDT
monica says:
'it is . . . a feminist text, so it is far more likely to be more concerned with representing "the isolation of women in society" '.

Must say that you're not exactly selling it to me . . .

In reply to an earlier post on 5 Sep 2012 21:33:07 BDT
Read Voicemail Received Silence is Deafening by Andrew Intesso, Bente trapped in a triangle love story

Posted on 6 Sep 2012 00:12:01 BDT
Last edited by the author on 6 Sep 2012 18:55:27 BDT
P. J. says:
It depends how it is done, monica. One could say the subtext of a lot of brilliant novels seem quite irritating once one isolates them. I'd say a very good writer is able to make a novel work regardless. See Ice by Kavan, which has an equally dreary feminist subtext, or House in The Country by Donoso which is brazen in its, quite intellectually unengaging, allegory.

Posted on 6 Sep 2012 06:41:51 BDT
M. Jolliff says:
Death Sentences has just gone on my wish list as it is the first translation of this japanese surrealist sci-fi cult classic that I came across a review of. One for Mon maybe?

Posted on 16 Sep 2012 21:23:26 BDT
monica says:
Jolliff, any novel whose author has even heard of A. Gorky is worth looking into. From amazon description, sounds like execution would be all: it could be intelligent, quirky, haunting or could be sophomoric, self-conscious, and clunky. And for all the crime fanboys/girls who, I am sure, turn to this thread each morning over coffee, there's The Thief. New & first translation of author into English, & bk won an apparently v. prestigious prize in Japan. (I'm no judge of books in the genre, but whilst it's not Simenon or J. Thompson, it's one I'll keep despite its having child who I think is meant to tug at heartstrings as secondary character.

More exciting to me is that Atlas have just issued Living are Few, the Dead Many, The and Roussel's last play, Dust of Suns, The. Goody goody gumdrops.

PJ, your post after the edit doesn't make me want to stand up and cry out 'Yes, but . . . !' as the first version (as I remember it) did. I'd say as perhaps you would as well that a good writer is able to make a novel work regardless of whether the reader ever notices that there's a Message in it. And I wonder too what extent & how often a message, ulterior motive, subtext is only a projection by the reader. Dunno--but you're both invited to my semiotics fancy dress party--bags on flowing robes & lycra wig of the signified, though.

Posted on 16 Oct 2012 00:15:58 BDT
P. J. says:
I want to come back to the question of whether a subtext or message is often imagined by the reader, monica. However, for now i'd like to mention that NYRB are reissuing The Skin by Malaparte next year (in April i think). Chevengur next, please.

Posted on 16 Oct 2012 09:35:14 BDT
I'd have to give a shoutout to the great books put out by Hesperus, both new translations and obscure short works. They didn't want my translation project, alas (though they told me I came damn close, and I've no reason to disbelieve them), but I've never read a book from them that I didn't enjoy.

Posted on 16 Oct 2012 16:01:06 BDT
Last edited by the author on 4 Nov 2012 18:49:52 GMT
You might be interested in Three Percent, a center/publishing company (Open Letter Books) affiliated with the University of Rochester (NY).

http://www.rochester.edu/college/translation/threepercent/index.php?s=about

"Three Percent launched in the summer of 2007 with the lofty goal of becoming a destination for readers, editors, and translators interested in finding out about modern and contemporary international literature.
The motivating force behind the website is the view that reading literature from other countries is vital to maintaining a vibrant book culture and to increasing the exchange of ideas among cultures. In this age of globalization, one of the best ways to preserve the uniqueness of cultures is through the translation and appreciation of international literary works. To remain among the world's best educated readers, English speakers must have access to the world's great literatures. It is a historical truism and will always remain the case that some of the best books ever written were written in a language other than English."

Posted on 29 Oct 2012 20:46:18 GMT
monica says:
So nice to see both those publishers mentioned, and I've thought about posting a long list of publishers who issue works in translation, but it would entail a lot of messing about w. folders & files and probably be of interest to no one. Helpful reviews on 3% site as well, and the Hesperus books I've got are quite attractive as books.

Jelinek wrote a play about Robert Walser, Her Not All Her, & it's just out as one of Sylph's Cahiers editions. (And someone commenting on a review told me that Krasznahorkai/Neumann, who collaborated on animalinside, have just had another published in the same series, but I can't find any mention of such a thing on Sylph site.)

P.J., please do return to the question when you like: The fancy-dress party led to the institution of Semiotics Thursdays, a weekly salon, and fancy dress not required for entry so long as one arrives bearing a traffic cone or 'Lift Not Working' notice.

Posted on 4 Nov 2012 17:28:03 GMT
monica says:
Provisional list of all literature translated into English (though I think in US only) this year is available here: http://www.rochester.edu/College/translation/threepercent/index.php?id=5002. (Three Percent, again.) Without links as it is, I don't find it terrifically helpful, but someone might . . .
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Discussion in:  fiction discussion forum
Participants:  11
Total posts:  41
Initial post:  30 Jul 2012
Latest post:  9 Mar 2013

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