The Commenter Known As Bathrobe recently sent me a collection of translation-related links, and I thought I’d share them here:
The TLS Translation Prizes 2007 (Anybody know anything about Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky, “a writer from the 1920s who has only recently been rediscovered in Russia”?)
British Council page on literary translation
Book Trust – Translated Fiction
And, as Bathrobe says, for the possible interest of Mr A.J.P. Crown: German literature translated into Norwegian
Coincidentally, the NY Times today published American Literature: Words Without Borders by Liesl Schillinger, on the international aspects of America’s National Book Awards, which reminds me that this would be a good place to link again to Words Without Borders, “The online magazine for international literature” (which I originally wrote about here).


  1. Yup, that’s the one; here‘s the English Wikipedia page (oddly, the English and Russian articles linked to each other, but the French was isolated from both; I’ve remedied that).

  2. That’s very kind of you both. Actually it would do me much more good to read in German.

  3. Quite right. You guys leave Crown alone. I’ve been infusing bits of untranslated German into my posts to him, to encourage rehabilitation.
    At the linked site belonging to the Norwegian Goethe Institute, the two German sentences at the top, out of a total of four on the page, are a delightful example of dignified superfluousness. One doesn’t often encounter such civil-servantesquerie these days:

    Bei der Vermittlung des geschriebenen Wortes stößt der Kulturaustausch über die Grenzen hinweg immer noch auf großen Widerstand. Ein wichtiges Mittel zur Überwindung der Sprachgrenzen ist daher nach wie vor die Übersetzung von Büchern und Texten.

    Cultural exchange across national boundaries, where it is the written word that is being conveyed, still encounters considerable resistance. Thus, in order to overcome language boundaries, it is still as important as ever to have books and texts translated.

    Via the Words Without Borders link, I found an interview with the translator Suzanne Jill Levine, who worked with Manuel Puig (I read Boquitas Pintadas years ago) and Cabrera Infante (Tres tristes tigres), among others. She also translated Borges. I unreservedly share her views on translating.

  4. @civil-servantesquerie:
    A very nice coinage. Google doesn’t know it yet and wants to correct it to civil-servant esquire. Also, it appears to me to signify a very German phenomenon. I think I need to find an equivalent German expression. It would likely be the only public service I’d perform today.

  5. Grumbly: Thanks for that interview with Suzanne Jill Levine; I’ve got her The Subversive Scribe, and obviously I should get around to reading it. I found this astonishing:

    I was doing the last novel of Puig’s. My editor at that time said to me, “there is a problem because we don’t know who is talking.” I explained that this was part of the style, but she said “Well, can’t we put names?” I said: “Definitely not,” and there was a huge battle, but I won. Because part of the point is that in the novel Puig is using film script format but without the names. It is very important how he plays with that, and it is up to the reader to find out who the speakers are. In a way you are what you speak.

    I would never have dreamed that editors at Simon and Schuster would act like movie producers. “Hey, can you make the elderly professor into a young woman, and get rid of the Holocaust angle? Too depressing!” Bah. Anyway, thanks for the link!

  6. Although i wouldn’t object to them putting the names in smudgy pencil in the margins so i can keep track of who’s talking.

  7. civil-servantesquerie … an equivalent German expression

  8. One doesn’t often encounter such civil-servantesquerie these days
    In scientific prose (or the kind of medical-scientific prose I often commit) introductory paragraphs of that sort are usually required:
    “Millions of people suffer from disease X. Disease X is growing in prevalence. There is a large and growing literature on the factors related to disease X. This paper looked at some of the factors related to disease X, so that disease X can be more effectively combated.”

  9. I’ve just read the Russian Wikipedia article on Кржижановский. The surname is well known all across russophonie and Poland in connection with “Варшавянка” – Warsowianka, a great revolutionary anthem. But it is by Maximilian Krzhizhanovsky, no relation.
    Wikipedia mentions the Soviet b/w silent film The Day of St Jorgen, “День Святого Иоргена” made in 1920. We used to pronounce Jorgen with the stress on the last syllable: Eyore-GHEN. S.K. wrote screenplay, but didn’t appear in credits. I remember watching the film in a Moscow cinema and on TV in the 60-s and later. Jokes and other references from the film were easily recognisable in conversations in the 80-90s.
    But the name, yes, it all but disappeared. I haven’t read anything by S.K. except, perhaps, translations from English or Polish when you don’t notice the name of the translator.
    It looks like he was one of those unsung heroes of cultural process, extremely important as a leader of his circle, but not recognised or remembered as an individual author. The key must be his connection with Tairov, the avant-gardist director of the Moscow Chamber Theatre, who survived the great purges of the 30-s, but was persecuted in the late 40-s, during Stalin’s anti-semitic campaign against ‘cosmopolitanism’.
    If you read the Russian article you will see that Krzhizhanovsky played an important role in making Shakespeare (and Bernard Shaw) a family read throughout the Soviet Union.
    Thanks for the links.

  10. ah, haste not, waste not – St Jorgen release date 1929 not 1920, sorry

  11. And he turns up here in the Barnes and Noble Review today:

  12. Nice review; here‘s the direct link.

  13. Krzhizhanovsky later at LH: 2021, 2022.

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