Monday, March 28, 2016

Contra Mundum Press: New Website, New Offerings, Sale!

Hello Friends of Books, Friends of Musil, Friends of Mine, Friends of the Avant Garde, Modernism, Translation, Small Presses, Fellini, Godard, Sandor Tar, Szentkuthy, Foreman, Villa, usw,
Contra Mundum Press (which published my Musil translation, Thought Flights)has a new website, featuring many great new titles (I am particularly excited about the forthcoming letters of Otto Dix). And they are having a sale,
offering a $5.00 discount on every book when ordering directly through the press. The coupon code is: CntMn278(it can be added to the coupon code box above the "buy now" button for each book).
So, if you don't yet have a copy of Thought Flights (how can you even get up in the morning without one?),if you haven't seen the most recent edition of Hyperion (On Mallarmé) or if need some other stimulating literature to spice up your Spring, check out the offerings here:
Happy Spring to All of You!
Most Fondly,

Friday, March 18, 2016

Burton Pike Podcast on Virtual Memories

I wonder on what system or non-system the books are arranged.

Gil Roth has interviewed Burton Pike on his series Virtual Memories, and it is a fascinating and moving conversation ranging from discussions of translation, teaching, cultural differences, language, surprises, Musil, Rilke, Meier, Proust, music, New York City, Cornell University, and more. It lasts for an hour and 34 minutes, so get comfortable with a cup of tea or glass of wine and enjoy Burton Pike's wise, witty, erudite, and warm presence!

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Burton Pike on Translation

On the occasion of receiving the Friedrich Ulfers Prize for translation, the wonderful Burton Pike provides some wise words on translation and rhythm: 

Translator Burton Pike Accepts 2016 Friedrich Ulfers Prize

 And Shelley Frisch reflects on her decades-long friendship with the great translator, teacher, and scholar: 

Shelley Frisch Reflects on Translator Burton Pike as ...

Congratulations to Burton Pike, who deserves all the awards as far as I am concerned!

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Two New Musil Studies

I have received a notice of a fascinating piece by Thomas Harrison on Musil's essayism, which I am happy to pass on to you all. Harrison is one of my favorite Musil scholars.Enjoy!

And, in other Musil publication news,  Karl Corino, Musil's eminent biographer, has a new book about Musil and Italy out, illustrated with photographs and documents from his voluminous archive. In German, of course. With Martha Musil's  self-portrait on the cover, also of course. 

Friday, May 15, 2015


 The new edition of Hyperion: The Future of Aesthetics is out (or "up"). And it is really astonishing. Not only does it include my translation of Hofmannsthal's own answer to his Lord Chandos Letter, "Letters from a Returning One," but also a marvelous essay by Nancy Kline on translating Eluard and Char, a fascinating introduction and translation by Rainer J. Hanshe of Blaise Cendrar's "I Killed," an essay by Andrey Bely on Friedrich Nietzsche, and a translation by Fulya Pekar of the Turkish author,  Ferit Edgü, but also excerpts from Contra Mundum's forthcoming edition of Otto Dix letters, plus much much more (I am only beginning to explore its riches). It is beautifully designed and edited, and the theme of translation and of the challenges and pleasures of verbal communication runs through the whole like a red thread, illustrated by these two epigraphs:

Les beaux livres sont écrits dans une sorte de langue étrangère. Sous
chaque mot chacun de nous met son sens ou du moins son image qui
est souvent un contresens. Mais les beaux livres, tous les contresens
qu’on fait sont beaux. — Proust, Contre Sainte-Beuve

For a translator, the supreme authority should be the author's
personal style. But most translators obey another authority: that of
the conventional version of “good French” (or good German, good
English, et cetera), namely, the French (the German, et cetera) we
learn in school. The translator considers himself the ambassador
from that authority to the foreign author. That is the error: every
author of some value transgresses against “good style,” and in that
transgression lies the originality (and hence the raison d'être) of his
art. The translator's primary effort should be to understand that
transgression. This is not difficult when it is obvious, as for example
with Rabelais, or Joyce, or Celine. But there are authors whose
transgression against “good style” is subtle, barely visible, hidden,
discreet; as such, it is not easy to grasp. In such a case, it is all the
more important to do so. — Milan Kundera, Testaments Betrayed

Here is the link. Enjoy! And do shower Rainer with accolades when you are finished. It can be a strangely silent world, the world of words, and it always helps to hear a murmur, an echo, a stammer or stutter of recognition from the wide, wide world.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Book Launch Party and Reading

Please Join us for a book launch party and reading of my new translation of Robert Musil's small prose, Thought Flights (Contra Mundum Press, April, 2015) at the glamorous Zinc Bar, at 82 West Third Street, New York New York, on Sunday, May 10th, at 5 p.m., accompanied by Stephen Callahan reading from Seities, his collection of prose pieces in progress.