Monday, September 10, 2007

Monday links

Lee Rourke reviews Tom "Remainder" McCarthy's second novel and also my current reading Men In Space.

This coming weekend Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson has This Feeling of Exaltation, an open series of poetry readings, panel discussions and music celebrating the 80th birthday of John Ashbery.

The Existence Machine responds, in part, to my essay on The Frank Bascombe Trilogy.

Joan Acocella reviews the final volume of the Hollanders' superb translation of Dante's Divine Comedy (link via). I've already added this to my Wishlist along with the next item.

The 27th of this month (or the 22nd) marks the centenary of the birth of Maurice Blanchot. The single event in English that comes close to coinciding (though it's scheduled for November) is the publication of Blanchot's Epoch, a collection of essays edited by top UK Blanchot scholars Michael Holland and Leslie Hill. The title suggests Blanchot's time is over, but the book description says otherwise:
The twentieth century ... may be thought to have been Blanchot's epoch. As he himself was aware, however, no epoch is properly contemporary with itself. If he speaks of his own age from a place firmly embedded in the struggles and transformations which marked it, therefore, he also writes from a place which exceeds the confines of that epoch, and where history in the received sense gives way to a totally different mode of time.


  1. Steve, I have a question about Dante. I've been meaning to begin reading the Divine Comedy for a while, and years ago I bought Michael Palma's translation of the Inferno. At the time, I was under the sway of the "readability" school of translation, and in comparing it to several of the others, I thought it was more readable (I shy away from prose translations of poetry). However, I don't think I'd noticed that Palma did not translate the second and third parts. I'd rather not switch translators midway, but I'm curious what you think of the Palma in that context (I saw that you'd written about it elsewhere). Do you think I would be better off reading the Hollanders’ version from the beginning? Thanks. (Also, thanks for the link.)

  2. I don't think it matters switching translators. It matters to get a good translation - the Hollanders' and Robert Durling's in particular.

  3. Anonymous10:11 pm

    Are you actually competent to judge translations, "Steve", seeing as you don't read any languages other than English?

  4. Yes, funnily enough, as they're translated into English. After reading so many, I think I am competent to recommend good versions to other English readers who have not read much Dante, if any.

    Also, those editions I've recommended have also been praised by Dante scholars (the Durling in the TLS for example) and by a Dante expert friend who reads the Italian. So I feel confident they are good translations.

    If you don't think I'm competent, that's your judgement. But how competent are you to judge my judgement? Perhaps not at all, seeing as you're too afraid to use your own name "anonymous".



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