Literature in Translation

Kafka Transformed

Franz Kafka’s Gregor Samsa has undergone numerous metamorphoses in English: into “a gigantic insect,” “a monstrous vermin,” “a monstrous cockroach,” “some sort of monstrous insect,” and “a monstrous bug” ...

Translators and Other Icons

Writers are sexy figures. Until recently, we tended to imagine them as drunk and glamorous, Hemingway at the bar in Cuba or Frank O’Hara partying with artists ...

Neruda’s Ghosts

Pablo Neruda’s only daughter, Malva Marina, was born in Madrid, in August 1934, and died a little over eight years later, in Nazi-occupied Holland, from the complications of hydrocephaly. She hadn’t ...

What’s in a Gaze?

Only one authenticated portrait of the three Brontë sisters survives. Completed by their brother, Branwell, around 1834, it was discovered atop a cupboard in 1914. Remarkable as a record of the ...

The Polyphonic Gospel

At one point in Umberto Eco’s novel Foucault’s Pendulum the narrator speculates about how the Gospels came to be written: “Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John are a bunch of practical jokers who meet ...

Japan’s Isolation 2.0

The taxi driver who took me from Tokyo train station to my hotel had turned his cell phone sideways, like a television, and propped it up on the dashboard of his car. He was watching a historical ...