Translation: Oneself As Another

French writer and translator Frederic Boyer on the art of translation:

Any literary translation is an appropriation that produces something original. I have translated (the Bible, Shakespeare, Saint Augustine, the Song of Roland …) in order to become someone else, to grab and transform the heritage that was allegedly reserved for me. My need to translate was not primarily cultural or linguistic but rather a need for an internal rupture.


To translate is to confront the authority of a text, of its language and culture, and of previous translations that often wield the power of legal precedents.

Every culture has its ghosts, and to translate is to lure those ghosts back to life and back to our world, to make the past speak in the present. For me, translating is never simply to receive something and to pass it on or transmit it, but rather, in some vital way, to recall it, to appropriate it, to join forces with it, to become one with it for a time and to subject my writing to the test of this other horizon.


For me, the act of translation is a quasi-shamanistic act linking different worlds and different times.

Public Books — Translation: Oneself As Another.

Storybook Plutocracy: Thomas Frank reviews George Packer’s ‘The Unwinding’

Thomas Frank (Harper’s, Founder of The Baffler) says this in reviewing George Packer’s National Book Award-winning book The Unwinding:

George Packer’s The Unwinding is a minor masterpiece of the social-disintegration genre—a beautifully written, clinically observed story of the slow-rolling economic transformation that has, over the last 30-odd years, made vast parts of America into a destitute wasteland while lifting a fortunate few to a kind of heaven on earth…

Public Books — Storybook Plutocracy.

Mapping Open Access, or the lack thereof

Just how many scholars and researchers are running into paywalls as they go about their work? A new initiative, the Open Access Button, is in the process of making it very clear.

Launched on Tuesday, the Open Access Button is a browser bookmarklet  to be used like so: whenever a researcher encounters a paywall, they click the button, and their individual moment of frustration and denial is added to a world map.

As Joseph McArthur, one of the creators, says:

We created The Open Access Button to collect these separate experiences and to showcase the global magnitude of the problem.

Mapping Open Access, or the lack thereof | MobyLives.

McBride, Packer win big at the 2013 National Book Awards

Winners, 2013 National Book Awards:

  • Fiction: The Good Lord Bird, by James McBride
  • Nonfiction The Unwinding, by George Packer
  • Poetry: Incarnadine, by Mary Sybist
  • Young People’s Literature: The Thing About Luck, by Cynthia Kadohata

Winner/Poet Mary Sybist provides the night’s winning quote: “There’s plenty that poetry cannot do, but the miracle of course, is how much it can do, is how much it does do.”

McBride, Packer win big at the 2013 National Book Awards | MobyLives.