Crispin on Crispin

Over at the Book Standard, Jessa Crispin writes about what she’s missing out on: literature in translation.

Recently I noticed just how much I was missing out on when I saw how many works by Julio Cortazar (1914-84), one of my favorite writers, have not been translated into English. Archipelago recently released the first English translation, by Anne McLean, of The Diary of Andres Fava. I was so impressed by the novella that I wanted to get in contact with McLean to talk about the work of translation and the books of the masterful Belgian-born Argentine who is so well-known by Spanish and Latin American readers, but virtually invisible to English-speaking ones.

As a child, I read in Arabic and French (both in the original or from other languages translated into the Arabic or the French) and that state of affairs seemed completely normal to me. When I came to the States, I was surprised to find out how little of world literature people seemed to read. And things aren’t improving, with literature in translation being constantly curtailed to make room for the Da Vinci Codes and Harry Potters.

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