Thursday, November 05, 2009

Introducing "Quotation of the Week"

This new blog feature stems from my sense of inadequacy when a friend contacted me last week hoping/expecting that I'd be able to help her out with a writing-related quotation. Despite my great love for bite-sized morsels of writing wit and wisdom, I was unable to do so.

So partially as a task of self-education, and partially as an effort to inspire all of you, I'm launching a new "Quotation of the Week" feature here on Practicing Writing. Please look for it on Tuesdays or Thursdays.

To kick things off, let's turn to this gem from Paul Auster, which pretty much sums up how I feel about literary translation:
Dostoevsky, Heraclitus, Dante, Virgil, Homer, Cervantes, Kafka, Kierkegaard, Tolstoy, Hölderlin, and scores of other poets and writers who have marked me forever - I, an American, whose only foreign language is French - have all been revealed to me, read by me, digested by me, in translation. Translators are the shadow heroes of literature, the often forgotten instruments that make it possible for different cultures to talk to one another, who have enabled us to understand that we all, from every part of the world, live in one world.
Source: Foreword to To Be Translated or Not to Be: PEN/IRL Report on the International Situation of Literary Translation, edited by Esther Allen, available at


Anonymous said...

I agree! Last year I learned that Edith Grossman, Gabriel Garcia Marquez sometimes-translator, was on faculty at Columbia School of the Arts. So I wrote her a letter thanking her lavishly. Talk about an unsung hero, Grossman's translation perfectly captured the lushness and humor of Marquez, and without her I'd be a poor soul indeed. And yes, she wrote back.

Erika D. said...

I bet she treasures that letter!

Anonymous said...

I met Edith Grossman at the Columbia Univ Latin American Seminar. She was fascinating. I agree with all everyone has said