Margellos World Republic of Letters

The Idea of Yugoslavia: Translating Miljenko Jergović’s “The Walnut Mansion”

The Walnut Mansion by Miljenko Jergović—translated by Stephen M. Dickey with Janja Pavetic-Dickey—is a grand novel that encompasses nearly all of Yugoslavia’s tumultuous twentieth century, from the decline of the Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman Empires through two world wars, the rise and fall of communism, the breakup of the nation, and

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Writing as Witness: A Conversation with Claudio Magris

Anne Milano Appel— Translating Claudio Magris’ Blameless was not the first time I had the honor and happy privilege of working with this magnanimous author (a word I use in the Aristotelian sense, which, according to its Latin etymology—magnus as “great,” and animus, “soul”—connotes a true generosity of spirit). An earlier conversation with

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A Closer Look at Contemporary Greek Fiction

Today, we’re highlighting two works of contemporary Greek fiction published in English through our Margellos series: Thanassis Vatinos’s Orthokostá and Zyranna Zateli’s At Twilight They Return. First released in 1994 to a storm of controversy, Orthokostá defied standard interpretations of the Greek Civil War. Through the documentary-style testimonies of multiple narrators, among them

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Patrick Modiano on Childhood

In the past year, Patrick Modiano has been hailed by American book critics for his Nobel Prize-winning literary art, rightly described as “elegant,” “haunting,” and “urbane.” In books such as Suspended Sentences, Paris Nocturne, and After the Circus, his immense gifts as a novelist—one who melds ambiguous autobiographical and impressionistic details into narratives

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Can Xue and the Difficulties of Love

John Donatich—  “Can modern man, in today’s society, still fall in love?” This seems to me the central question in the work of Can Xue.  Granted, this might come as a surprise—that a writer who is so rigorously experimental and unapologetically demanding is obsessed with such a personal concern. But

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Life during Argentina’s Dirty War

The Dirty War was a campaign by the government of Argentina to suppress left-wing political opponents. It is estimated that during the period from 1976 to 1983, 10,000 to 30,000 citizens were killed or taken by the government and never heard from again. It was against this backdrop of violence

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“Lily of the Valley” by Fady Joudah

Fady Joudah, Palestinian-American, physician, celebrated poet and translator of poetry, and winner of the 2007 Yale Series of Younger Poets Competition for his collection Earth in the Attic, discusses the inherent linguistic and subjective difficulties that each translator must face when presented with a work to be translated in his

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A Conversation with David Albahari

Award-winning translator Ellen Elias-Bursac recently had the chance to talk with Serbian writer and translator David Albahari about Globetrotter, her latest translation of one of Albahari’s novels. Ellen Elias-Bursac: How did you come up with the idea for the trilogy of Snow Man, Bait, and Globetrotter? Did you design the three

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Marian Schwartz on Translating Tolstoy

We had the chance to sit down with prolific translator Marian Schwartz to talk about her latest translation of Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina. She touches on the joys and challenges of Tolstoy as well as his lesser-known witty side. Yale University Press: Anna Karenina is a seminal work in literature. How

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An Interview with Mark Polizzotti

We had the privilege of sitting down to talk with Mark Polizzotti, who, among other things, has recently translated a trio of novellas from Nobel Prize–winner Patrick Modiano, Suspended Sentences, which publishes today. In our conversation, we talk about Modiano, the Nobel Prize, the art of translation, and the joy of

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