French Books USA: Week in Review
Modiano in The New Yorker
"Modiano’s driving compulsion," Alexandra Schwartz writes, "is the need to know — to dig up information long concealed or lost." The Nobel laureate's meticulous search for forgotten documents, fragmented leaflets, missing persons reports, and occupation-era papers is what drives the oscillation between fact and fiction in his winding, mysterious stories.
How Do You Translate Bababadalgharaghtakamminarronnkonnbronntonnerronntuonnthunnt-rovarrhounawnskawntoohoohoordenenthurnuk?
Translation is sometimes a thankless job, but to our literary interpreters of language, we say: You rock! In honor of World Translation Day (September 30th), have a look at the most widely translated books of all time. The Little Prince comes out on top, having been published in more languages than I can name. A special shout out to the brave soul with the unenviable task of translating Finnegans Wake into Mandarin Chinese.
On the subject of infographics, Livres Hebdo has assembled the data concerning the dozens of autumnal literary awards and broke down the numbers into several graphs that reveal some interesting information, like most nominations coming from outside the biggest publishing houses, and writers born in the 1970's quadrupling their competitors born in the 80's. As for new announcements, the nominations for the Grand Prix du roman de l’Académie française were released today.
The Living Museum
Some people are fortunate enough to be at the intersection of time and place to such an extent that their lives dip into the cultural milieu that comes to define an entire era. One such person, in New York, Paris, and London, was Peggy Guggenheim. In Francine Prose's new book (Prose will be at the Festival Albertine this November), Peggy Guggenheim: The Shock of the Modern, we see the heiress in the Paris of Picasso and Dali, as well as in the context of her tumultuous affairs with Marcel Duchamp, Yves Tanguy, and Max Ernst. Moreover, and more importantly, we witness a woman who, despite the weight of her name, lived a bouncing, frantic life in the aesthetic lightness of art.
50 Years of Leisure
Commemorating the 50th anniversary of the the École des loisirs, the musée des Arts décoratifs in Paris kicked off an exhibition for the children's book publisher. Among the guests was French president François Hollande, who said, "This tribute to children's literature is a tribute to creation that can awaken feelings and consciences." On this side of the pond, we're having our own celebration of the renowned publisher with a month-long exhibit of art and books.
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