Translation Recommendations from French and American Journals: A Literary Salon

November 14, 2014 | By FRENCH CULTURE BOOKS
Football: Great Writing About the National Sport (Library of America, 2014, 484 pages)

Earlier this month at French and American Journals : A Literary Salon, the writers and editors of dozens of French and American literary magazines had the opportunity to share texts they would like to see translated from French to English, and from English to French. The texts are listed below, along with a couple of sentences by recommenders explaining the merits of each piece.

RECOMMENDATIONS FROM FRENCH WRITERS AND EDITORS

Laetitia Atlani-Duault (Socio)  recommends Frères et Sujets: La France et l'Afrique en perspective by Dozon J-P. (Flammarion, 2003, 350 pages), noting that it won the prix de l’Académie française.

Jean Bourgault (Les Temps modernes) recommends the article « Les derniers défenseurs de l'Empire : quand l'armée française raconte ses Rwanda» by Etienne Smith :

"The article will be published in Les Temps Modernes’ October-December issue, whose topic is Rwanda. Smith takes a critical look at texts French generals wrote about the actions taken by the French army during the 1994 genocide of the Tutsis. Through his analysis, Smith demonstrates that these texts reveal the bias in France’s relations with Africa in general, and Rwanda in particular."

Laurent Dubreuil (diacritics) offered three recommendations:

Hayden White:
"The long introduction to his Metahistory is almost the only piece by White to be available in French (transl. by Laurent Ferri in Labyrinthe 33-2 in 2009). White is a central figure in the theory of history and epistemology, and his work has often been misconstrued in France, mainly due to a lack of first-hand knowledge to his writings."

Pierre Ducassé:
"His 1958 Les techniques et le philosophe is largely unknown, both in France and the US. A recent issue of diacritics (42-1 in 2014) published an excerpt in English (Robert Hughes transl.) as well as a long commentary by François-David Sebbah. Our time is just rediscovering the work on technique and science that some French philosophers accomplished in the 50s and 60s, and Ducassé still needs to be read."

Blake Butler’s Nothing: A Portrait of Insomnia (Harper Perennial, 2011, 366 pages)
"A remarkable, self-reflective and “undisciplined" work of art, both blending discursive conventions and challenging literary expectations"

Philipe Forest (La Nouvelle Revue Française) recommends “Une histoire parfaite” (La Nouvelle Revue Française, n°602– Des fantômes-October 2012), a chapter from his most recent novel, Le Chat de Schrödinger (Gallimard, 2013, 336 pages)

Raphaëlle Rérolle (Le Monde) recommends La Condition pavillonnaire by Sophie Divry ( Noir sur Blanc, 2014, 272 pages) :

“Her novel, La Condition pavillonnaire, embraces the life of an ordinary woman, her absolutely very ordinary daily life. If the fate of this woman interests us, even fascinates us, it is through language and style, and a very controlled narrative. This very ordinary woman, she is each and every one of us, and represents the usual fate that holds all human life.”

Oliver Rohe (Inculte) recommends La très bouleversante confession de l’homme qui a abattu le plus grand fils de pute que la terre ait porté by Emmanuel Adely (éditions Inculte, 2014, 128 pages) :

"This short book, an epic narrative in free verse, is an imagining of the daily life, thoughts, values, emotions, and actions of the US Navy SEALs unit charged with taking down Osama bin Laden. Through efficient and  funny writing that sparkles with the doxa and linguisitic tics of our time, this powerful story questions the foundations of the masculine military community and the bonds between what is real and what is representation”.

Patrick de Saint-Exupéry (XXI) recommend "Sur les ailes du dragon" by Lieve Joris (Actes Sud, 2014, 400 pages) :

« Did we not come here to discover that the world isn’t how they told us in our country?” she writes, plunging us into the world of trade between Africa and China.



RECOMMENDATIONS FROM AMERICAN WRITERS AND EDITORS

Sharon Marcus (Public Books) recommends the graphic novel Mauvais Genre by Chloé Cruchaudet (2013, 160 pages)


Karen Narefsky (Jacobin) recommends The Problem With Work: Feminism, Marxism, Antiwork Politics, and Postwork Imaginaries by Kathi Weeks (Duke University Press, 2011, 304 pages)

"It explores the role that work plays structuring our lives and posits the transformational demand of a world without work."

Sam Sacks (Open Letters Monthly) recommends Sergio de la Pava's A Naked Singularity (University Of Chicago Press, 2012, 688 pages)

"It's a wild, inventive sprawling postmodern novel with strong social conscience, and it gives a very acute picture of inequality in America and especially New York."

Christine Smallwood (Harper’s) recommends the collection Football: Great Writing About the National Sport, edited by John Schulian (Library of America, 2014, 484 pages):

“It's a wonderful history of football and football writing, and a way into thinking about American class, race relations, economics, etc. The book is also good context for current debates about traumatic brain injury, domestic violence perpetrated by NFL players, NCAA labor issues, etc.”

Rob Spillman (Tin House) recommends Loitering: New and Collected Essays, by Charles D'Ambrosio (Tin House Books, 2014, 280 pages):

 “From the fiction writer frequently in the New Yorker, his collected essays are beautifully written explorations about people on the margins. A perfect companion book to Leslie Jamison's collection The Empathy Exams.”

Lynne Tillman (Frieze) recommends Craig Owens's Beyond Recognition: Representation, Power, and Culture, eds. Scott Bryson, Barbara Kruger, Lynne Tillman, Jane Weinstock. Introduction by Simon Watney (University of California Press, 1994, 386 pages):

(If you missed the Literary Salon, you can watch video footage here.)

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