Language: Mongolian

Highlights from the Asymptote Winter Issue

Our editors recommend their favorite pieces from the latest issue.

First off, we want to thank the five readers who heeded our appeal from our editor-in-chief and signed up to be sustaining members this past week. Welcome to the family, Justin Briggs, Gina Caputo, Monika Cassel, Michaela Jones, and Phillip Kim! For those who are still hesitating, take it from Lloyd Schwartz, who says, “Asymptote is one of the rare cultural enterprises that’s really worth supporting. It’s both a literary and a moral treasure.” If you’ve enjoyed our Winter 2017 issue, why not stand behind our mission by becoming a sustaining member today?

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One week after the launch of our massive Winter 2017 edition, we invited some section editors to talk up their favorite pieces:

Criticism Editor Ellen Jones on her favorite article:

My highlight from the Criticism section this January is Ottilie Mulzet’s review of Evelyn Dueck’s L’étranger intime, the work that gave us the title of this issue: ‘Intimate Strangers’. Mulzet translates from Hungarian and Mongolian, but (being prolifically multilingual) is also able to offer us a detailed, thoughtful, and well-informed review of a hefty work of French translation scholarship. Dueck’s book is a study of French translations of Paul Celan’s poetry from the 1970s to the present day (focussing on André du Bouchet, Michel Deguy, Marthine Broda, and Jean-Pierre Lefebvre) and is, in Mulzet’s estimation, ‘an indispensable map for the practice of the translator’s art’. One of this review’s many strengths is the way it positions Dueck’s book in relationship to its counterparts in Anglophone translation scholarship; another is its close reading of passages from individual poems in order to illustrate differences in approach among the translators; a third is the way Mulzet uses Dueck’s work as a springboard to do her own thinking about translational paratexts, and to offer potential areas for further research. The reviewer describes L’étranger intime as ‘stellar in every way’—the same might be said of the review, too.

Chief Executive Assistant Theophilus Kwek, who stepped in to edit our Writers on Writers section for the current issue, had this to say: 

When asked to pick a highlight from this issue’s Writers on Writers feature, I was torn between Victoria Livingstone’s intimate exploration of Xánath Caraza’s fascinating oeuvre and Philip Holden’s searching essay on Singapore’s multilingual—even multivocal—literary history, but the latter finally won out for its sheer depth and detail. Moving from day-to-day encounters with language to literary landmarks of the page and stage, Holden surveys the city’s shifting tonalities with cinematic ease, achieving what he himself claims is impossible: representing a ‘polylingual lived reality’ to the unfamiliar reader. And as a Singaporean abroad myself, Holden’s conclusion sums it up perfectly: the piece is ‘a return to that language of the body, of the heart’.

Visual Editor Eva Heisler’s recommendation:

Indian artist Shilpa Gupta addresses issues of nationhood, cultural identity, diaspora, and globalization in complex inquiry-based and site-specific installations.  The experience of Gupta’s work is explored by Poorna Swami in her essay ‘Possessing Skies’, the title of which alludes to a work in which large LED light structures, installed across Bombay beaches, announce, in both English and Hindi, ‘I live under your sky too.’  Gupta’s work, Swami writes, ‘positions her spectator in an irresolvable conversation between the abstracted artwork and a tangible sense of the so-called real world, with all its ideologies, idiosyncrasies, and fragilities’.

READ MORE…

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A MESSAGE FROM THE EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

This year was a big one for us at Asymptote! We won the 2015 London Book Fair Award for International Literary Translation Initiative and became the only member of The Guardian‘s Books Network dedicated to world literature. For the second year running, we made it to Entropy’s Best Magazines of the Year list, for doing “particularly exciting & generous things.” This was also the year we were mentioned in The New York Times, interviewed by Lianhe Zaobao, and praised in Der Tagesspeigel.

With your support, we were able to continue publishing our quarterly issues, as well as a monthly podcast, a daily blog, and our brand-new fortnightly airmails (with Daniel Hahn’s very popular column, “Ask a Translator”). Apart from releasing our first-ever educator’s guide, enabling teachers everywhere to use us as a classroom resource, we also kept our promise and organized a second edition of our international translation contest (still ongoing!). Judges Michael Hofmann, Ottilie Mulzet and Margaret Jull Costa will help us award $4,500 to six emerging translators.

Now, we’re raising funds to hold our most ambitious series of anniversary events around the world yet.

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From January 2016 to April 2016, we are planning as many as 15 anniversary events around the globe, spread out over 5 continents. Confirmed participants include Ann Goldstein (translator of Ferrante), Forrest Gander (translator of Neruda), Natasha Wimmer (translator of Bolaño) and cult author Frederic Tuten in New York (Thursday, Mar 3, 2016), as well as acclaimed poet Caroline Bergvall in London (Wednesday, Mar 23, 2016). With our extensive experience (all previous 26 events documented here) we’re looking to curate a series of thoughtful readings and panel discussions in the name of promoting literary translation and world literature. All the money that we raise will go into organizing and publicizing these events, as well as marketing our fifth anniversary issue, so that even more readers can take advantage of our ever-expanding archive of world lit.

Junot Díaz, Yann Martel, Ingo Schulze and Sybille Lacan (daughter of the famous semiotician) have all contributed new and exclusive material to this milestone issue. And, for the first time in our pages, we will feature work from Uzbek, Mongolian, Guyanese and Sumerian, bringing our language tally up to 101—truly an achievement worth celebrating!

Reserve your tickets to our anniversary events with a donation now, if you’ve enjoyed what we’ve brought you this year. Support us so that we can bring our global conversation to a new city and give our fifth anniversary issue wings to reach more readers.

Furthermore the psychological boost that your donation represents (we’re all volunteers, remember) will help us carry on = PRICELESS.

Donate to Asymptote today.