Apparently, someone has actually produced a Chinese version of Finnegans Wake. [via The Telegraph]
A new Chinese translation of Finnegans Wake, a book renowned for its linguistic complexity, has sold out its initial print run of 8,000 copies just three weeks. It is the first mainland Chinese edition of James Joyce’s 1939 novel, which took the Dublin-born author of Ulysses 17 years to write.
It took translator Dai Congrong, of Shanghai’s Fudan University, eight years to turn Joyce’s complex stream of consciousness style into Chinese, and publisher Wang Weisong, of the Shanghai People’s Publishing House, described the success of the book as being “totally unexpected”.
I can’t imagine how it would read. Someone find me a copy!
I’m feeling much better today and should be coming out of my bout of illness. So I was rather excited this morning as I checked my news feeds, but it was all really boring or sad: the same old debates and arguments in literature; nothing too exciting in music; some not-too-great pieces of criticism; depressing news about the reduction of arts funding in this place or that; and so on. So let’s put a song up here instead. Have a good day, everyone. [via YouTube]
(Phoenix’s new album is coming soon…ish!)
Natasha Wimmer talks about her current translation work, teaching, and Roberto Bolaño. [via Sampsonia Way]
Omnivore is a regular report on some of the things that I’ve been enjoying during the week (or thereabouts).
I finished up with Benjamin Stein’s The Canvas, and really enjoyed it. It’s the first book I’ve finished this year, and I’m basically proceeding at a much slower rate than usual. It has partly to do with my new schedule, which makes it difficult for me to read in the usual pockets of time. I’ll work something out. For now I’m just excited to be able to pick another book to dive into.
Here are the finalists for the Man Booker International Prize 2013 [via Three Percent]:
- U R Ananthamurthy (India)
- Aharon Appelfeld (Israel)
- Lydia Davis (USA)
- Intizar Husain (Pakistan)
- Yan Lianke (China)
- Marie NDiaye (France)
- Josip Novakovich (Canada)
- Marilynne Robinson (USA)
- Vladimir Sorokin (Russia)
- Peter Stamm (Switzerland)
Chad Post also points out that the press release is all rather condescending.
In conversation, I’m fond of telling people that the difference between a work of art and a mere product is that art ultimately aspires to contemplation, while a product aspires only to consumption. I suppose my anxiety about turning the classics into a checklist stems from my realization that “art” exists only through collaboration between the artist/creator/writer and an audience; that it’s not the work that should aspire to contemplation, but myself. And that, as a reader, that means I need to be willing to work hard. To approach the performance of reading with every bit as much seriousness and effort as I expect the writer to approach the performance of writing. Art can’t exist without an audience to take it seriously.
The wonder of a book like Dead Souls comes from its silence, the way it offers us a calm place to think. But that place is only as valuable as the reader makes it. A calm place to think is only worthwhile if the reader seizes the opportunity to do some thinking. Perhaps it’s not really guilt I fell about the classics but trepidation — because at the end of the day the classics need to earned. So now, it’s up to me to put in the effort to earn them.
In this lengthy article, Guy Patrick Cunningham discusses weighty Russian classics (Dead Souls in particular), Reality Hunger, and strangeness. [via The Millions]
2012, Chris Ware, Building Stories
This came in the mail today. It’s bigger than I thought it would be. It is also very lovely.
I was told that the postman was very unhappy as he delivered this. Perhaps it was the weight. Perhaps he is a chronically unhappy person. Perhaps we offend him with our mail. I will probably never find out.