Some of you may recall my visit to the innovative Parisian publishing house of Le Bruit du Temps and it’s founder, Antoine Jaccottet, during my recent visit to Paris, during the cold, cold, cold snap of last February. I also spoke at the American University in Paris, and visited friend and colleague Daniel Medin.
Here’s a podcast that entwines them both: Daniel interviews Antoine Jaccottet at “That Other Word,” a series of podcasts on literature and translation, the result of a collaboration between the Center for Writers and Translators at the American University of Paris and San Francisco’s Center for the Art of Translation.
Said Daniel: “It surprised me to learn that it was a small press in France doing the complete works of Zbigniew Herbert … that it was a small press in France doing the completeIsaac Babel, a volume even larger than the [Peter] Constantine one that appeared a decade ago in English , and that it was a small French press discovering books like the Julius Margolin‘s gulag memoir, and bringing them to life. And I wanted to meet this editor, because of the interesting books he was selecting, because of the variety.” Now you will have a chance to meet him, too.
But first, you’ll get Daniel’s quick overview of this month’s Book Expo America in New York City, where “Russia was the country of honor this year,” he said. He and Scott Esposito discuss a range of contemporary authors and books, including Mikhail Shishkin‘s Maidenhair, which will appear in English this October; Polish author Marek Bieńczyk’s Transparency; Julius Margolin’s gulag memoir, Voyage au pays des Ze-Ka; and Dalkey Archive Press’ Contemporary Georgian Fiction.
Their interests do not lie entirely east of the Vienna: they also discuss Éric Chevillard’s Prehistoric Times and his Demolishing Nisard.
Then, on to Antoine Jacottet. On the perils of translation, the French publisher said: “You do well what you know a little. I worked myself as a translator. I might mention my father [Philippe Jaccottet] was – is still – a well known translator. For me, it has always been very important to be attentive to the quality of translations. When we began the press, my idea was: if you are a very small press and if you want to publish works that you think are masterpieces, one way of doing it is to order a new translation, and then you have to find a good translator for it. It’s not always easy, but I think it’s the part of my job that fascinates me most.”
The podcast is here.