Literature

The Nuances of Irish-English Translation

Tim Robinson— More talked about than read, for over threescore years Cré na Cille has been the buried treasure of modern Irish-language literature. Our aim in this translation is modest: to give the Anglophone reader the most accurate answer we can provide to the question, What is in this book?

Continue reading…

On a Hot Summer’s Day

Avner Holtzman— Warsaw, August 1900. Two very young men, Yosef Hayim Brenner and Uri Nissan Gnessin, later to be known as the giants of modern Hebrew literature, were staying in Gnessin’s rented room in 21 Dzielna Street. Both were swept by the intensive atmosphere of Hebrew literary life in Warsaw,

Continue reading…

William Shakespeare: Political Commentator

Peter Lake— It is, of course, notoriously difficult to say anything novel, or even arrestingly interesting, about Shakespeare. In fact, I never intended to write a book about Shakespeare at all. But I fell into a set of questions and interests that resulted in a book, if not simply by accident, then at

Continue reading…

The Women Who Made the Modern Children’s Book World

Timothy Young— The history of children’s books is still being written. While there are important writers working in the field, much needs to be done to bring the rigor of mature literary, sociological, and historical investigation to this relatively young field of study. One of the challenges to research is

Continue reading…

The View from the Postcolonial Caucasus

Rebecca Gould— High in the mountains running along the border between Azerbaijan and Georgia, in the garrison town of Zaqatala, former outpost of the famed Imam Shamil who in the mid-nineteenth century led the longest resistance to Russian rule, I meet an elderly woman crossing the street. “Come inside and

Continue reading…

The Lesser-Known Works of Miguel de Cervantes

Roberto González Echevarría— Twelve brilliant short novels, packed with compelling plots and fascinating characters, redolent with literary games of the greatest variety and sophistication, were the author of Don Quixote’s response to his suddenly acquired fame. It was a new kind of book, never seen before in the Spanish language,

Continue reading…

A Closer Look at Contemporary Greek Fiction

Today, we’re highlighting two works of contemporary Greek fiction published in English through our Margellos series: Thanassis Vatinos’s Orthokostá and Zyranna Zateli’s At Twilight They Return. First released in 1994 to a storm of controversy, Orthokostá defied standard interpretations of the Greek Civil War. Through the documentary-style testimonies of multiple narrators, among them

Continue reading…

Bob Dylan: Reluctant Prophet

David Yaffe— The biggest misconception about Dylan, among the unbelievers, is that his cawing derision is somehow an impediment to appreciation. The second biggest (and this is among the believers) is that he is a poet before he is a lyricist and a performer, and that the latter two represent

Continue reading…

Foreigners and Strangers: Irène Némirovsky’s Jewish Protagonists

Susan Suleiman— The French word étranger means both “foreigner” and “stranger,” meanings that overlap but are not synonymous. One can be a stranger to a community or group without being a foreigner, while some foreigners are not strangers to a given individual or group—many people have foreign friends. But both

Continue reading…

Writing Children’s Stories in Wartime

The following entries are excerpted from War Diaries, 1939-1945 (Yale University Press, 2016), a transcription of the personal diaries of Astrid Lindgren, author of the Pippi Longstocking books. Illustrated with family photographs, newspaper clippings, and facsimile pages, Lindgren’s diaries provide an intensely personal and vivid account of Europe during the Second World War. ∞

Continue reading…