Thursday, November 22, 2012

"Proust, Blanchot and a Woman in Red" by Lydia Davis

A chapbook that is beautifully designed and elegant.  Very much like the author Lydia Davis, who is known for her short stories but also for her English translations of rather difficult works in French.   in other words, I adore her.   The Cahiers Series is a collection of chapbooks all concerning the nature of translations or translating literature.   A subject matter close to my heart, due that my press TamTam Books is pretty much focused on works from the French language  translated into English.

As an editor and publisher I really appreciate Davis' take on the role of the translator, especially when it concerns the works of Marcel Proust, Maurice Blanchot, and my personal fave, Michel Leiris.  Only 44 pages long, but as they say, size doesn't matter.   Its the contents that is important, and Davis tearing apart the prose of Proust and comparing it with other translators of the same work (Swann)  is a fascinating procedure in looking into language -especially from such a stylish writer like Proust.

The other two chapters focus on the work of Blanchot and Leiris.  Fleeting thoughts on those two authors, but what is fleeting to the average, is somewhat an essential aspect of Davis' style and thinking.   This whole series looks great, and going into the world of Lydia Davis is not a bad thing at all.

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