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08/26/2008

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Robert Chandler

A statement like this makes depressing reading for a translator like myself. What is to stop you admiring (or criticizing) the product of the COMBINED skills of the writer and their translator? As for the lack of "much useful information about why this writer has been translated or why that writer is important", please take a look at my volumes of Vasily Grossman and Andrey Platonov from NYRB Classics. I have supplied a great deal of information, and I know that at least some people have found it useful!
Best Wishes,
Robert Chandler

Campaspe

In English literature classes I was a close reader as well, and I'm always aware of the drawbacks you state. I realized the other day, though, that my shelves have many books I love that are translations: La Regenta, Tolstoy, Dostoevsky. I remember Philip Roth talking about Dostoevsky as an influence and Martin Amis commenting on that with points similar to yours, but at the same time I believe Mr. Chandler has a point too. And sometimes translations are very great achievements on their own. I know that Fitzgerald's translation of Khayyam isn't reckoned to hew all that closely to the original, but it's beautiful to me all the same.

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