Kate Briggs’ meditation on the art of translation meanders around her experience of translating some lectures given by Roland Barthes in (I think) the 1970s, her deep interest in the translations by Helen Lowe-Porter of Thomas Mann, and the relationship between Andre Gide and his besotted translator Dorothy Bussy. I’m not interested in Barthes, but … Continue reading This Little Art
Now that I'm no longer applying for jobs in academia, I feel free to say this: I don't like what the Virginia Woolf industry has done to the scholarly study of women writers. I should also say that, while I don't much like her novels, Woolf's essays have influenced me, and I reread them for … Continue reading The Virginia Woolf industry is a problem
The Vondel Translation Prize - a bi-annual prize established by the Society of Authors - has been awarded to the American translator David McKay, the translator of Stefan Hertmans' novel Oorlog en Turpentijn / War and Turpentine. It's set during before, during and after the First World War, in Flanders and is based on the … Continue reading The 2017 Vondel Prize
This is the penultimate issue of Penguin New Writing, from 1950, and I think John Lehmann is losing his grip (again). He actually opens the art section with two paintings by a woman, Wilhelmina Barns-Graham: this has never happened before. Other notable contributors include Paul Bowles, Cecil Day-Lewis, Kathleen Raine and Tom Hopkinson. Lehmann's 'Foreword' … Continue reading Penguin New Writing 39: woman sighted
There is full-on puffery in John Lehmann's Foreword to Penguin New Writing in this 1949 issue. It's been only a few issues since he sent out a plea for someone to contribute something funny; he's lost all sense of proportion now. His Foreword begins with the question of how can we know 'if a man … Continue reading Penguin New Writing 38: John Lehmann loses his judgement
Last week I became a company director, of the Handheld Press, because I'm going to publish books. I've been working flat out for several months, doing two jobs at once. Setting up a publishing company takes a lot of administration, as well as starting work, right away! on the first books. I've done pretty much … Continue reading May I introduce you to the Handheld Press?
The science fiction novel that moved my reading tastes from adolescent dragon wonder to feminist space opera was Sassinak (1990), by the then immensely prolific Anne McCaffrey and the fairly unknown Elizabeth Moon. I had been a teenage McCaffrey completist, but once I’d read Sassinak – an engrossing space opera about planet pirates, orphan enslavement, naval … Continue reading Collaborating with Anne McCaffrey: An interview with Elizabeth Moon