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November, 2007

Akutagawa—the Writer, the Works

As we near the end of our discussion of Ryunosuke Akutagawa's The Mandarins this month, Michael Orthofer dwells a little on our ideas of the author and his work. Earlier posts can be found here: a look at the titular story, Mandarins; the approach to storytelling in Evening Conversation; a conversation…...

Miami Part Two—The Agent Buzz Panel

Miami Part Two—Buzz Panel suggestions It's almost 60 degrees and sunny here in New York City, the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade is in full swing (welcome Shrek, Abby Cadabby, and to the joy of schoolgirls everywhere, "Hello Kitty Supercute"), and the Broadway stagehands are still on strike. Something…...

High Noon in Linz

I grew up without weapons. While nobody in my family was a vegetarian—or ever thought of becoming one—I was taught that hunting was a pastime for those who despised science and art. The philosopher Roger Scruton would have vehemently disagreed with my education, but no matter. When I was…...

Ka-pow! It’s Literature!

Love classic literature but wish it had a little more visual flair? Big fan of nuanced story-telling and solid dialogue, but wish more of it came in speech balloons? Well, then head on over to Again with the Comics, where they bring Crime and Punishment back to life (in all its camp glory), re-imagined…...

Miami, Part One

Miami Book Fair International/Translation Market Was it only last weekend that I dove into an outdoor pool surrounded by gorgeous palms at twilight? As I floated on my back, gazing up at the slowly darkening, famous Miami sky shot through with glints of goldenrod, copper, and violet, I luxuriated in…...

The Guardian on Translation

Richard Lea in the Guardian uses the Society of Authors' annual translation prize as a springboard to explore the current state of translation publishing.

Literary Influences and East Meets West

Michael Orthofer continues with yet another post for this month's book club, on the next of the stories from Ryunosuke Akutagawa's collections Mandarins. We began the month with an introduction to Akutagawa's works; a look at the titular story, Mandarins; and the approach to storytelling in Evening Conversation.…...

Huang Xiang and City of Asylum

Head on over to You Tube and take a look at this video by Jose Muniain on City of Asylum, Pittsburgh and poet Huang Xiang, a former artist in residence at the Sampsonia Way centre. The video highlights the work that the Cities of Refuge projects do in providing safe harbour to artists whose lives or…...

Dos Obras

2 Obras, the monthly art and literature publication founded in Buenos Aires is now soliciting the help of interested translators in their international art and letters project. 2 Obras collaborator and translator from the Spanish, Alexis Almeida lays it out for us in this post. You can find out more…...

An Evening Conversation

Plowing ahead, we have the next post in this month's book club discussion on Ryunosuke Akutagawa's Mandarins. In this post, Michael Orthofer discusses the discursive narrative of Akutagawa's An Evening Conversation.—Editors I think it's worth lingering over An Evening Conversation,…...

What’s with the title?—and a look at “Mandarins”

Michael Orthofer kicks off discussion of Ryunosuke Akutagawa's short-story collection Mandarins in this post with a discussion of the titular story from the collection and a rumination on the murky provenance of its name. You can find Michael's earlier introductory post over here. So take a look, follow…...

New Issue of VQR

The new and very special issue of the

November Book Club—Ryunosuke Akutagawa’s “Mandarins”

We're very pleased to bring you the first installment in this month's book club, dedicated to Ryunosuke Akutagawa's Mandarins. This month, discussion will be headed by Michael Orthofer, managing editor from the Complete Review and its Literary Saloon. We hope you'll follow along and jump into the fray…...

A Foot Patrol in Oruzgan, Afghanistan

Recently I flew from Afghanistan to the Netherlands along with some Dutch troops going on R&R for two weeks. A day later, I traveled to Paris to promote a book. The difference could not have been bigger. Seated in the apartment of my French publisher on the Boulevard Saint-Michel, I had a conversation…...

October, 2007

French/American and Florence Gould Foundation Translation Prize

The French American and Florence Gould Foundations have just announced their annual prize for translation. The prize (which comes with a 10,000-dollar bonus on the side) rewards a recent translation of a work of fiction or non-fiction from French into English. Excluded categories include children's literature,…...

Arthur Philips on “The Rebels”, “Embers” and Gyula Krúdy

Arthur Phillips was born in Minneapolis in 1969 and educated at Harvard. He has been a child actor, a jazz musician, a speechwriter, a dismally failed entrepreneur, and a five-time Jeopardy! champion. His first novel, Prague, a national bestseller, was named a New York Times Notable Book, and received…...

All the Bad Young Literary Women

Last Sunday's NYT Book Review has a front page feature on Edith Grossman's new translation of The Bad Girl by Mario Vargas Llosa. The review looks at the influence of Flaubert at play in Llosa's book. A great admirer of Flaubert's, Llosa casts his titular bad girl as the familiar love 'em…...

David Leavitt Responds to Mark Sarvas in Our Book Club

Renowned novelist David Leavitt (The Indian Clerk, The Body of Jonah Boyd) doubles as the editor of Subtropics, the literary journal of the University of Florida. In Issue 3, Leavitt included the opening chapter of The Rebels, and I invited him to talk here a little about why he chose it. 1) How did…...

Returning to Afghanistan

While publishers, agents and some authors were heading for Frankfurt for the annual book fair I decided to return to Afghanistan—or to be more precise Oruzgan, a small province in the south—where some 1,600 Dutch soldiers are trying to rebuild the country. A year ago I stayed at Kandahar Air…...

Mark Sarvas Talks about Fathers and Sons in “The Rebels”

Leading a book group discussion on Sándor Márai's The Rebels, one is faced with an interesting dilemma, one to which Arthur Phillips politely alluded to in his excellent New Yorker review. To begin, he told us: Sándor Márai keeps getting younger. Twelve years after he committed…...

Free Aung San Suu Kyi!

As the feeding frenzy that is Frankfurt Book Fair gets into full swing, a more mindful energy is fuelling the monks leading the people power revolution against the Military Junta in Burma. Last Saturday, thousands of demonstrators marched from Millbank, looped across the River Thames, and ended up in…...

Celan’s Schneepart

A short while ago Patrick Kurp wrote a piece on Primo Levi's conflicted perspective on the work of Paul Celan. More recently, James Buchan at the Guardian's Book Blog discusses Ian Fairley's translation of Celan's Schneepart, and in the process, sheds light on the role of the darkness and obscurity that…...

October Book Club—“The Rebels” by Sándor Márai

This October, we're delighted to host a new installment in the WWB-Reading the World Book Clubs with a feature on Hungarian author Sándor Márai's The Rebels. Discussion will be headed by Mark Sarvas from The Elegant Variation, with contributions from David Leavitt and others. The Rebels…...

Reading Bioy Casares

I had never heard the name Adolfo Bioy Casares until I read a lengthy review of his diaries in Times Literary Supplement What Eckermann was to Goethe, Mr. Bioy was to Jorge Luis Borges. He aspired to be him. Mr. Bioy's diaries are 1644 pages (even in the edited version), but based on the review,…...

September, 2007

The 2007 Nobel Prize in Literature: Our Office Pool

Between the World Cup and the World Series comes high season for world literature: time to place your bets on this year's candidates for the Nobel Prize in Literature. You can read two of the usual suspects, Adonis and Ko Un, right here, as well as 1988 laureate Naguib Mahfouz and, of course, any number…...

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