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The Delighted States; A Book of Novels, Romances, & Their Unknown Translators, Containing Ten Languages, Set on Four Continents, & Accompanied by Maps, Portrait
Having slept with a prostitute in Egypt, Gustave Flaubert begins his first novel, Madame Bovary, which influences the minor French novelist douard Dujardin, whose novel is read by James Joyce, whose own novel Ulysses will move the Italian novelist Italo Sveno, and later Gertrude Stein, in radical ways. This carousel of influence shows how we devour novels in translation, while often believing that style does not translate. But the history of the novel is the history of style. The Delighted States attempts to solve this conundrum while mapping an imaginary country, a country of readers: The Delighted States. As a companion, this book comes with a new translation into English of Vladimir Nabokov's 'Mademoiselle O.' Adam Thirlwell was born in 1978. His first novel, Politics, was translated into thirty languages. In 2003, he appeared on Grantas list of the best British novelists under forty. His second novel, The Misprint, will be published next year. He lives in London. Having slept with a prostitute in Egypt, a young French novelist named Gustave Flaubert at last abandons sentimentality and begins to write. He influences the obscure French writer douard Dujardin, who is read by James Joyce on the train to Trieste, where he will teach English to the Italian novelist Italo Svevo. Back in Paris, Joyce asks Svevo to deliver a suitcase containing notes for Ulysses, a novel that will be viscerated by the expat Gertrude Stein, whose first published story is based on one by Flaubert. This carousel of influence shows how translation and emigration lead to a new and true history of the novel. We devour novels in translation while believing that style does not translate. But the history of the novel is the history of style. The Delighted States attempts to solve this conundrum while mapping an imaginary country, a country of readers: the Delighted States. This book is a provocation, a box of tricks; it is also an intelligent and original work from a young writer and translator. Thirwell unravels the heredity of more than a dozen great works, showing what influenced literature that still influences today. 'The Delighted States shoves its delirious way around and through four centuries of great novelists, tumbles them down one trapdoor and hauls them out of another; it provokes as much as evokes . . . As he swirls together his international troupe of writers, along with a fine prodigality of portraits, anecdotes and quotations, Thirlwell argues and sometimes goads at a universal mutual connection and influence. That leads to the question of translation. Though he gives many examples of what is lost, he insists that even a mediocre translation will convey a writer's essence; his style, in other words. Style, he writes, citing Proust, is a matter of vision, not language . . . And then, as a reward to us and to pre-quirk Nabokov, he gives us his own translation of the short story 'Mademoiselle O,' first published in French in 1936, translated into English in 1943, then to Russian, then back to English . . . and revised continually by Nabokov, as if art were not simply long but alive and still growing. Thirlwell's version translates the unaltered original, and it is a treasure.'Richard Eder, The New York TimesOstensibly devoted to the problem of literary translation, this provocative treatise rambles through the Western canon from Cervantes to Bellow, treating novelists less as subjects than as characters in a sprawling intercontinental epic. Thirlwell revels in the anecdotal (Italo Svevo studied English with James Joyce) and the serendipitous (the French word dada was invented as an equivalent for hobby-horse, in Tristram Shandy); presents indexes whose entries include hamburgers and squiggles; and lauds digression as the best means of capturing the serious nothings of life. While acknowledging the difficulty of conveying the perpetual giggle of Akaky Akakievich Bashmachkins name in any language other than Gogols Russian, Thirlwell insists that translation is possible and, to that end, offers his own version of Nabokovs Mademoiselle O, evoking the storys trilingual origins in fittingly verdant prose.The New YorkerThat Mr. Thirlwell digresses from the standard university syllabus is another sign of his good sense: Overlooked worthies such as Witold Gombrowicz and Italo Svevo, who wrote mostly in obscurity, hear speak clearly, finally drawing level to their more recognized colleagues . . . The Delighted States truly raises questions that are vital to novelists and their readers; it will be hard for anyone with an interest in the subject to keep from defiling the margins with notes.The Wall Street JournalThirlwell has distilled the wisdom from what amounts to a lifetime of reading onto his pages . . . An expansive, unbound critic, Thirlwell makes a series of unexpected connections between writers of vastly divergent styles and eras.The Boston GlobeThirlwell serves up a gumbo of choice gossip, boyish contradictions, and delicious quotes. So what if these novelists often had to read one anothers novels in translation? The gist came through clear enough to be appropriated.John Leonard, Harpers MagazineHowever error-ridden and technically troubling a translation might bethe syntax clumsy, the vocabulary misleading, the dialogue woodentranslations have nonetheless managed, somehow, to convey their sources sufficiently for their originals survive, not to say thrive, far from home. That somehowa compelling mysteryis explored in a fine new book by British writer Adam Thirlwell . . . What is most unusual about Thirlwells bookin addition to the quality of his bookshelfs contents, for the writers he chooses to discuss are, as a group, as excellent as they are unfashionably canonicalis the lightness of his formal approach. Typically, treatises on translation, especially the better onesgiven all the talk of fidelity that the subject generateshave tended to the tendentious, while the worse onesgiven the inherent wonkiness that the subject entailstend to skew ponderous or pompous. Thirlwell manages to elude these expectations, while crafting a substantive and resolutely entertaining tour of the subject.Wyatt Mason, Sentences (Harpers Magazine)'A Thoughtful, and frequently hilarious, study of the nature of literary translation. It is also a work of art, a new form.'A.S. Byatt, Financial Times (UK) A scintillating figure-of-eight skate around, inter alia, Flaubert, Proust, Joyce, Kafka, Gombrowicz and Nabokov, on the theme of style and translation, a one-off like a novel with everything cut but the digressions, and an interesting fact on every page.Tom Stoppard, The GuardianA welcome engagement of unjustly marginalized issues . . . Entertaining to read all the way through, and this is no small virtue in an age in which most works of criticism are about as much fun as a visit to the proctologist.Robert Alter, The New RepublicThirlwell romps through European literature: Joyce, Gogol, Flaubert, Maupassant, Chekhov, Tolstoy, Hrabal, Kafka and others . . . The anecdotes he chooses are delightfully obscure. The photos and illustrations (squiggles and flourishes meant to show the irrational wanderings of the human mind) are playful and evocative . . . he has a good time, which is (ahem) always fun to watch.Susan Salter Reynolds, Los Angeles Times'At a time when literary criticism is getting the boot in print media, and factually challenged wags on countless book blogs seethe with score-settling enmity, 30-year-old Adam Thirlwell is a refreshing throwback to the thoughtful man of letters who hides is radical heard behind the worn lapels of a tweed jacket. Thirlwell's book The Delighted State
Contrary to clichs about the end of feminism, Deborah Siegel argues that younger women are reliving the battles of its past, and reinventing it--with a vengeance. From feminist blogging to the popularity of the WNBA, girl culture is on the rise. A lively and compelling look back at the framing of one of the most contentious social movements of our time, Sisterhood, Interrupted exposes the key issues still at stake, outlining how a twenty-first century feminist can reconcile the personal with the political and combat long-standing inequalities that continue today.
Though 'Internet for Seniors in Easy Steps' is now updated for Windows 7, the emphasis of this excellent book remains on the tasks that seniors want to carry out over the Internet, rather than the technology and equipment used. Activities discussed include: searching the Internet, solving puzzles and quizzes, playing games of skill such as chess and bridge, planning and booking vacations online, exploring arts and crafts, researching your family tree, publishing websites and blogs, receiving RSS feeds, socia