Translations

Not many peoples are able to read poems in their language written one thousand years ago, as Persian speakers in Iran, Afghanistan, and Tajikistan do today with Ferdowsi’s Shahnameh, meaning the ‘Book of Kings’. The Shahnameh is Iran’s national epic, a vast compilation of pre-Islamic Iranian myths, legends, and imperial history ...

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The Years by Annie Ernaux, translated by Alison L. Strayer

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March 2019, no. 409

The word indicible appears frequently in the work of French author Annie Ernaux. In English, it means ‘inexpressible’ or ‘unspeakable’. Yet saying the unsayable – or rather, exploring the crevice between what is discussed openly and the inexpressible within – is where Ernaux excels ...

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The Odyssey by by Homer, translated by Emily Wilson & The Iliad: A new translation by by Homer, translated by Peter Green

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December 2018, no. 407

For as long as I have studied Classics, first as a high-school student, later as an undergraduate and PhD student, and now as a professor, I have carried Homer’s poems close to me. The Iliad and, to a slightly lesser extent, the Odyssey are my touchstones. All that needs to be known can be found in them. I have taught them for more years than I care to remember. I still cry at certain parts. I see them, feel them, hear them. But I have never published a single article, chapter, or anything resembling scholarly criticism on them. They defy me. To contemplate translating them is so alien to me that I instantly admire any Classicist who has been brave enough to take on such a herculean task.

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Melodrome by Marcelo Cohen, translated by Chris Andrews

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November 2018, no. 406

‘I didn’t realise I was becoming untranslatable,’ Marcelo Cohen confessed after the publication of his eleventh novel, in an interview with Argentine newspaper Clarín. ‘And when I did realise, it was already too late.’ Given that Cohen is himself a renowned translator – the list of authors he has translated into Spanish ...

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Killing Commendatore by Haruki Murakami, translated by Philip Gabriel and Ted Goossen

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October 2018, no. 405

There is a running joke in Japan that autumn doesn’t start each year until Haruki Murakami has lost the Nobel Prize for Literature. Most recently, in 2017, he lost to Kazuo Ishiguro, who was born in Japan but is now a British citizen. To date, two Japanese writers have been awarded the prize ...

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How to Die: An Ancient guide to the end of life by Seneca, edited and translated by James S. Romm

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September 2018, no. 404

Studies of the ancient Mediterranean are increasingly popular. Once a privilege of the élite, whose schools prepared predominantly male students for tertiary study of Greek and Latin, Classics now has a much wider audience. This is partly the result of scholars such as Mary Beard (recently the recipient of a damehood) who ...

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The Story of Shit by Midas Dekkers, translated by Nancy Forest-Flier

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June-July 2018, no. 402

‘People who write books about shit are regarded with suspicion,’ declares Dutch biologist and writer Midas Dekkers. But like the dung- beetle-worshipping ancient Egyptians before him, Dekkers understands a fundamental truth: ‘The world is round and held together by shit.’ ...

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Berlin Alexanderplatz by Alfred Döblin, translated by Michael Hofmann

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June-July 2018, no. 402

Revered in Germany as one of the founders of literary modernism, the equal of Robert Musil and Thomas Mann, Alfred Döblin (1878–1957) has remained something of a mystery to English readers. Some are aware of Berlin Alexanderplatz: The story of Franz Biberkopf, translated by Eugene Jolas soon after its appearance ...

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No Place to Lay One’s Head by Françoise Frenkel, translated by Stephanie Smee

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Online Exclusives

When German forces invaded France on 10 May 1940, the French signed an armistice that facilitated limited French sovereignty in the south, the section of the country not yet overrun by German troops. On 10 July 1940 the French Parliament elected a new, collaborationist regime under former general Philippe Pétain ...

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Our Life Grows by by Ryszard Krynicki, translated by Alissa Valles

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May 2018, no. 401

This poem, cited in its entirety, is ‘My Poor Son’ by the Polish writer Ryszard Krynicki, who will be seventy-five years old in June 2018. Likely the finest poet in the generation after Zbigniew Herbert, the dazzling philosopher of modern Polish verse who died twenty years ago, Krynicki was born in a Nazi slave labor camp ...

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