Despite using a pseudonym, Ferrante has made clear how readers should understand her work. Should critics listen?
Literature in Translation
Editors: Bonnie Chau & Bécquer Seguín
Past Editor: Stephen Twilley
How to Read like a Translator
To work as a translator is to encounter a text with an active desire in mind, a desire that both constitutes and modifies the way that text is experienced.
How War—and Racism—Makes Monsters out of Men
In both World Wars, France used West African “colonial conscripts.” Deployed on the front lines, they were often the first to be killed.
When Poetry Summons the Dead
The dead, the disappeared, and the forgotten—these Iberian poems make clear—can never be safely put away.
A Collapse No One Story Can Tell
Ten years since the 2011 Syrian uprising, there has been a veritable literary boom of fiction writing from Syria. What does it reveal?
What Will Be Impossible?
Why excavate these Reformation characters—the preacher and the werewolf—now? What do they have to teach us?
Four Ways to Ruin Dante—and One to Save Him
Why would Dante need help? Because if the poet’s only readers are Dante scholars, then we’ll all lose out. Dante deserves better, and so do we.
What’s in a Bookstore?
For more than five centuries, equilibrium between profit and passion has remained elusive to book buyers and sellers.
Past Dictators Never Die
What happens when a regime founded upon exclusion, racism, nationalism, and an authoritarian leader ends? In Spain, such a regime never really ended.
Precarity and Struggle: Kafka, Roth, Kraus
In their writings, Kafka, Roth, and Kraus rejected the ideology of rootedness that was rapidly encroaching upon early 20th-century European consciousness.
Re-embodying Palestinian Memory
A recent flourishing of Palestinian literature reckons with complications in historical memory caused by settler colonialism.
What Can Latin American Journalism Teach the U.S.?
In Latin America, high levels of violence threaten journalists today, and dissent has been effectively marginalized in the past.
Who Killed Nordic Noir?
Scandinavian crime novels once showed how society failed its citizens. Today, the genre innovates differently—by depicting more violence.
Dirty Essays, Clean Essays
Recently translated essay collections underscore how sanitized ethical language has become in the last 60 to 70 years.
Leïla Slimani’s Taboos
Franco-Moroccan writer Leïla Slimani reveals the dirty underside of bourgeois domesticity. Is her taboo breaking worthy of praise?
Translating Italy, Translating Blackness
For two Black womxn translators, bringing Afro-Italian stories into English is an act of radical self-love and resistance.
Isolation and the Incomplete
Assemblage in search of insight is the guiding ethos at the heart of two dynamic recently published books by Mexican authors.
Surviving Hard Times with al-Hariri
Forget traditional “heroes.” The protagonists of some centuries-old stories are social climbers and tricksters, even cheats and cowards.
Ferrante Breaks the Frame
A defaced family photograph—with an ancestor cut out—reveals to Ferrante’s new protagonist how women are erased by the words and deeds of men.
“There’s a passage early on in Book 2 that’s so smug, so macho (in a literary way), that’s so—ugh! I can’t explain it.”