• Current Reads

      Life after Life Jill McCorkle
      This Is Your Captain Speaking Jon Methven
      The Starboard Sea Amber Dermont
      Snark David Denby
      Bring Up the Bodies Hilary Mantel
  • Popular Tags

  • Recent Reflections

  • Categories

  • Moleskine’s All-Time Favorites

  • Echoes

    sumithra MAE on D.H. Lawrence’s Why the…
    To Kill a Mockingbir… on [35] To Kill A Mockingbird…
    Deanna Friel on [841] The Price of Salt (Carol…
    Minnie on [367] The Rouge of the North 怨…
    travellinpenguin on [841] The Price of Salt (Carol…
    travellinpenguin on Libreria Acqua Alta in Ve…
  • Reminiscences

  • Blog Stats

    • 1,040,130 hits
  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 1,727 other followers

  • Advertisements

“Found in Translation”

Another thoughtful article in the New York Times about translated literature. The writer abandoned Chinese for Portuguese when his professor said it’d be 10 years before he’d be able to decipher a newspaper. When he started reading short Brazilian works, he stumbled upon Clarice Lispector, a writer so sensational that she was a household name in Brazil, but nobody knew of her outside of her country.

The very book in question is The Hour of the Star, a novella published in 1977. I. too, only stumbled upon Lispector’s works when browsing at an indie, The Book Soup in Los Angeles to be exact. While the heroine is a typist who lives in the slum of Rio, Lispector herself is the book’s most forceful presence. Reading the little book makes me want to know everything about her. Her books remained virtually untranslated until 1997. Lipsector faces the same obstacle all foreign writers do: they are not being read as there are so many English language readers.

In the United States and Britain, translations represent just 3% of the book market, in China 7% and in Russia 10%. I’m not surprised the book vendors who actually carry the most translated literature are the local indies, of which the staff are engaging in literary activism for the authors and works to be found by English-speaking readers.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: