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Blanchot translator Lydia Davis interviewed by Jason McBride at the Poetry Foundation:


Many of Lydia Davis’s best stories involve problems of language, its insufficiencies and irregularities, how lives can be undone—or remade—by a preposition or pronoun. A sound. Punctuation. Misunderstandings pivot on the misapplication of an adjective or the absence of one. Quite literally, tenses make people tense. The page-long story “A Mown Lawn” was included in Best American Poetry 2001. Its opening lines: “She hated a mown lawn. Maybe that was because mow was the reverse of wom, the beginning of the name of what she was—a woman.”

Davis is almost as well known for her translations (of, among others, books by Michel Leiris, Maurice Blanchot, and Marcel Proust) as for her fiction. William Gass has described translation as reading (“of the best, the most essential, kind”), but for Davis it’s the obverse, a kind of writing: “everything but the invention.” The work of translation is indeed, on one hand, very Davisian labor, a way of creating and engaging with entirely new problems of language as well as new solutions (more ...)

Readers Comments

  1. Davis fans, and/or those interested in translation, may wish to listen to this interview conducted with Lydia on Proust at last year's Blue Met Writers Festival here: http://nigelbeale.com/?p=526

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