Happy Friday, Asymptote!
All translation is approximate, but we don’t always like to think so. “Approximate Translation” is a performance that grapples with intelligibility, performing sections of Ouyang Jianghe’s poem Between Chinese and English. And speaking of canny approximation, the Los Angeles Review of Books‘ “Multilingual Wordsmiths” series continues with Ann Goldstein, past journal interviewee and translator of Italian fever-phenom Elena Ferrante.
Translators and non-translators alike throw around the term “World Literature” like all literature isn’t already of the earth. What might it mean to re-world “World Literature”? And though it’s the fourth-most populous nation in the world, we hardly—if ever—encounter Indonesian literature in English translation. Why is that, and how can we change this? (Side note: check out Asymptote‘s Indonesian translations in the archives).
Asymptote’s contributors are up to (lots of) good. This month, Song Cave publishes a chapbook of Galina Rymbu’s poems, translated from Russian by Jonathan Brooks Platt and featured in our April issue. And Elisabeth Jaquette, featured in Asymptote for her translation of Mustafa Khalifa’s The Shell, recently published her translation of Egyptian writer Basma Abdel Aziz’s The Queue with Melville House Books—and the novel has been getting a great deal of buzz. Also recommended: Jaquette’s own blogs about the translation process. And Ryan Mihaly, former blog editor and current interview features editor, interviewed former blog contributor and master German translator Susan Bernofsky at the Massachusetts Review blog.
Last month, the folks over at LitHub celebrated “translation month” (oops—it’s June now) with these translation-focused pieces. That means there’s an essay about translating Infinite Jest into 20 different languages, a look at the state of foreign fiction in the United States, a newly translated Pushkin short story titled “The Duel,” a list of ten Chinese female writers who need to be translated—and more. Guess you’ve a lot to catch up on in June.
In Germany, the Stiftung Buchkunst (for Book Arts) has announced the 25 prettiest books published in the past year. Go ahead and judge a book by its cover.