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January, 2010

Work and Play: A Conversation with Warren Motte

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Warren Motte is among the most vibrant and resourceful critics of French contemporary fiction in the world today. Professor of French and Italian at the University of Colorado, Boulder, he received his PhD from the University of Pennsylvania in 1981 with a dissertation on Georges Perec, which eventually…...

Kleist and the Confusion of Affects: New Translations

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Goethe, a literary father-figure to Heinrich von Kleist, may have sensed an Oedipal bloodlust in the emerging poet and playwright: "With the best will in the world towards this poet," he wrote, in a review of The Broken Jug, "I have always been moved to horror and disgust by something in his works, as…...

4 Gentle Persuasions: An Annotated List of 4 Quotations from the Works of Georges Perec (2)

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2) We should learn to live more on staircases. But how? (species of spaces 38)   Perec’s actual and hypothetical leaping up and down, forward and backward, and diagonally and sidewise, etc. —sometimes all at once— between projects, as if his field of operations was an enormous…...

“The Patience Stone” by Atiq Rahimi

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In Afghanistan—where, eight years after the toppling of the Taliban by US and allied troops, women are still routinely arrested and jailed for “running away” or for adultery, where current law does not recognize the crime of rape, and where 70 to 80 per cent of marriages are forced—any…...

Reading “Life A User’s Manual”

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In The Pattern in the Carpet, her recent memoir cum history of the jigsaw puzzle, Margaret Drabble pays tribute to Life A User's Manual by Georges Perec, an enormous experimental novel also concerned with jigsaw puzzles. Long experimental French novels don’t usually attract me, and Drabble…...

4 Gentle Persuasions: An Annotated List of 4 Quotations from the Works of Georges Perec (1)

 1)  I write…               I write: I write…               I write: “I write…”              …...

From the Magazine: Quim Monzó

Quim Monzó's "The Fork" and "Thirty Lines" Quim Monzó's contribution of two stories to January's International Flash Fiction issue have been translated from Catalan by Lisa M. Dillman. Monzó's shorter narrative fiction was compiled for 2004's Eighty-six Stories,…...

Today in International Lit: Early Murakami, Idlewild Books, and late Guy de Maupassant

Murakami Bootlegs No More Haruki Murakami's major works have long been available in the United States, but the author has refused too allow distribution of his first two novels, Hear the Wind Sing and Pinball, 1973, both of which are narrative precursors to A Wild Sheep Chase, well-known to readers…...

Statement of Intent, by Georges Perec

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When I attempt to state what I have tried to do as a writer since I began, what occurs to me first of all is that I have never written two books of the same kind, or ever wanted to reuse a formula, or a system, or an approach already developed in some earlier work. This systematic versatility has baffled…...

Classics in Translation: Georges Perec

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When I began reading Words Without Borders some years ago my first reaction was always "who the hell are these people?"  - the writers, that is, all these authors I'd never heard of. Well my mother always said a stranger is just someone you don't know yet, but we all know sometimes…...

The Task of the MLA

At MLA in Philadelphia, the theme was translation, the community was out in force, and the Benjamin evoked was Walter, not Franklin. Here the discussion of translation focused not only on technique or publication, butalsoon teaching and training: how to incorporate foreign literature in the curriculum,…...

Smara: The Forbidden City

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Listening to NPR over breakfast last month, I was surprised to hear a story from Western Sahara, a country that doesn’t make the news very often. Formerly a colony of Spain and occupied since 1976 by Morocco, Western Sahara doesn’t take up much space on the bookshelf. Yet it is the focus…...

film icon Poeboes Podcast with Jamie McKendrick

In the latest in his Poeboes podcast series for Words without Borders, André Naffis speaks to poet and translator from the Italian Jamie McKendrick. Jamie McKendrick (1955 - ) lives in Oxford and has published five collections of poetry. He edited The Faber Book of 20th Century Italian Poems in…...

From The Magazine: Yoav Avni

"Trumpet Lessons," by Yoav Avni Featured in this month's International Flash Fiction issue is a high-velocity, highly compressed piece by accomplished Israeli writer Yoav Avni. "Trumpet Lessons," translated by Margalit Rodgers, begins with a line that is repeated near the end: "Now he’s cold…...

Today in International Lit

Tolstoy Film to Appear this Week 2010 marks the centenary of Tolstoy's death at a provincial train station in Russia. This Friday, in New York and Los Angeles, a film about the author's last days will be in limited release. But The Last Station, directed by Michael Hoffman and adapted from the…...

Marías in America

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It is significant, we learned from Javier Marías's U.S. publisher Barbara Epler recently at the New York Public Library, that he was in America. Marías refused to come to the United States for the eight years Goerge Bush was in office, much, I'm sure, to his publisher's chagrin…...

Translate This Book!

Perhaps it’s unnecessary to draw attention to Translate This Book! at The Quarterly Conversation — after all, The New Yorker has already done so — but I wanted to point out two African volumes in the list: Aynfelale or “Let Us Not Separate,” written by Alemseged Tesfai and…...

How To Be Human*

A couple of weeks ago, I traveled to Chicago to meet the distinguished economist Deirdre McCloskey. The reason for the meeting was research for my new novel. I wanted to know more about economists. A mutual friend had introduced us and Deirdre McCloskey was kind enough to answer my initial request by…...

Welcome to the New Words without Borders

On behalf of the staff of Words without Borders, I’d like to welcome you to our new site. As you can see, the changes are fairly dramatic. Not only does it look amazing, but the navigation is far more intuitive, and content from both the current issue and from our archives is much more at the forefront.…...

Around the Web: Marías, Bolaño, Best Translated Book Long-list

I'll be reporting here a bit more about Javier Marías, but ran across this today (when reading a letter to the editor of TLS by the wonderful writer Gabriel Josipovici) and think it will be of interest to Marías fans: Marías’s mentor Sir, – Reviewing Your Face Tomorrow 3 by Javier…...

December, 2009

Today in International Lit

Liu Xiaobo Sentenced, PEN Press Conference to Follow A message from The PEN American Center:   As you have heard, the Chinese government has sentenced our colleague Liu Xiaobo to 11 years in prison in China. This Thursday, we will hold an outdoor press event in midtown Manhattan to protest the verdict…...

Today in International Lit

Yesterday on the New Yorker's Book Bench, Elizabeth Clark Wessel served up a condensed version of the Quarterly Conversation's "Translate this Book", an incredible feature published earlier this month. As Wessel wrote, the list of recommended books from translators, writers, editors, and publishers…...

Madmen and Exiles

I was late to the Madmen, Exiles, and Savage Detectives: Latin American Poetry panel at the Philoctetes Center this Tuesday. I was late because I was puttering around the fourth floor poetry section at the Barnes and Noble in Union Square here in New York City. Among the shelves, out of place, was a…...

film icon Binhad Nurrohmat at Manggarai

This film was shot at Manggarai train station in central Jakarta. Ujang, the person who reads Binhad Nurrohmat’s poem (“The People on the KRL”) works on the train line which runs from northern Jakarta (Kota) to its final station in the south, Bogor. Ujan sells crackers on the train,…...

Dispatches: Fault Lines by Meena Alexander

I covered a few events at this year's PEN World Voices festival, and when I arrived at a storytelling event sponsored by The Moth I was lucky enough to be seated next to the poet and author Meena Alexander. She was among those blogging about the event for PEN itself. We talked about an extensive…...

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