Those who wish to explore a world of literature outside of the traditional English language canon will be thrilled by Yale’s Margellos World Republic of Letters series.
Launched in January 2009, the series identifies works of cultural and artistic significance previously overlooked by publishers, canonical works of literature and philosophy needing new translations, and important contemporary authors whose work has not yet been translated into English. The series is designed to bring to the English-speaking world leading poets, novelists, essayists, philosophers, and playwrights from Europe, Latin America, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, to stimulate international discourse and creative exchange.
Here in Our Auschwitz and Other Stories
The Fully Restored Text – Coming Soon
Tadeusz Borowski was a talented twenty-one-year-old poet when he was arrested as a political prisoner in Poland and, though not Jewish, was deported to Auschwitz in 1943. He emerged at the end of the Second World War to become one of the most influential writer-witnesses to the Nazi concentration camp system. This book offers the most complete and authoritative translation of Borowski’s prose fiction, including numerous stories that have never appeared in English before. These are the chilling writings of a man who has experienced horrifying brutality and sees no possibility for human redemption. Borowski believed that no one who survived at Auschwitz for any length of time was innocent, and he refused to present the suffering and brutalization of the camp inmates as ennobling. Alone among Holocaust witness-writers, he wrote savagely about the post-war period: his ‘after-Auschwitz’ stories reveal a frozen soul that can discern nothing worth celebrating in the peacetime return to ‘normal’ existence. Borowski’s haunting works are central to Holocaust literature, and this volume at last brings to English language readers his major writings and previously uncollected stories. More
In his “ABC of Reading”, Ezra Pound begins his short list of nineteenth-century French poets to be studied with Theophile Gautier. Widely esteemed by figures as diverse as Charles Baudelaire, the Goncourt brothers, Gustave Flaubert, Oscar Wilde, Henry James, and T. S. Eliot, Gautier was one of the nineteenth century’s most prominent French writers, famous for his virtuosity, his inventive textures, and his motto ‘Art for art’s sake’. His large body of verse, however, is little known outside France. This generous sampling, anchored by the complete Emaux et Camees, perhaps Gautier’s supreme poetic achievement, and including poems from the vigorously exotic Espana and several early collections, not only succeeds in bringing these poems into English but also rediscovers them, renewing them in the process of translation. More
Born in Syria in 1930, Adonis is one of the most celebrated poets of the Arabic-speaking world. This volume serves as the first comprehensive survey of Adonis’ work, allowing English readers to admire the arc of a remarkable literary career through the labours of the poet’s own handpicked translator, Khaled Mattawa. Experimental in form and prophetic in tone, Adonis’ poetry sings exultantly of both the sweet promise of eros and the lingering problems of the self. Adonis: Selected Poems positions the work of Adonis within the pantheon of the great poets of exile, including Cesar Vallejo, Joseph Brodsky, and Paul Celan. More
Romain Gary Writing as Emile Ajar
By the early 1970s, Romain Gary had established himself as one of France’s most popular and prolific novelists, journalists, and memoirists. Feeling that he had been typecast as ‘Romain Gary’, however, he wrote his next novel under the pseudonym Emile Ajar. His second novel written as Ajar, Life Before Us, was an instant runaway success, winning the Prix Goncourt and becoming the best-selling French novel of the twentieth century. The “Prix Goncourt” made people all the keener to identify the real ‘Emile Ajar’, and stressed by the furore he had created, Gary fled to Geneva. There, Pseudo, a hoax confession and one of the most alarmingly effective mystifications in all literature, was written at high speed. Writing under double cover, Gary simulated schizophrenia and paranoid delusions while pretending to be Paul Pawlovitch confessing to being Emile Ajar – the author of books Gary himself had written. In Pseudo, brilliantly translated by David Bellos as Hocus Bogus, the struggle to assert and deny authorship is part of a wider protest against suffering and universal hypocrisy. Playing with novelistic categories and authorial voice, this work is a powerful testimony to the power of language – to express, to amuse, to deceive, and ultimately to speak difficult personal truths. More
Mozart’s Third Brain
Winner of the 2006 Nordic Council’s Literature Prize, Swedish writer Goran Sonnevi is undoubtedly one of the most important poets working today. In Mozart’s Third Brain, his thirteenth book of verse, he attempts ‘a commentary on everything’ – politics, current events, mathematics, love, ethics, music, philosophy, and nature. Through the impeccable skill of award-winning translator Rika Lesser, Sonnevi’s long-form poem comes to life in English with the full force of its loose, fractured, and radiating intensity. Through Lesser’s translation and preface, and an enlightening foreword by Rosanna Warren, English readers will finally gain access to this great masterpiece. More
Five Spice Street
“Five Spice Street” is a novel about a street in an unnamed city whose inhabitants speculate on the life of a mysterious Madam X. The novel interweaves their endless suppositions into a work that is at once political parable and surreal fantasia. Some think X is 50 years old; others that she is 22. Some believe she has occult powers and has thereby enslaved the young men of the street; others think she is a common trickster playing mind games with the common people. Who is Madam X? How has she brought the good people of Five Spice Street to their knees either in worship or in exasperation? The unknown narrator takes no sides in the endless dialectic of visions, arguments, and opinions. Exploring the collective consciousness of this little street of ordinary people, Can Xue penetrates the deepest existential anxieties of the present day, whether in China or in the West, where the inevitable impermanence of identity struggles with the narrative within which identity must compose itself. More
This is just a small selection of books available in Yale’s Margellos World Republic of Letters series. The full list can be viewed here.