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Adam Thirlwell
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The Delighted States: A Book of Novels, Romances, and Their Unknown Translators, Containing Ten Languages, Set on Four Continents, and Accompanied by Maps, Portraits, Squiggles, Illustrations, and a Variety of Helpful Indexes
 
 
Author
Adam Thirlwell.
Publisher Picador  
Format paperback
Product Dimensions 8.75 x 5.6 x 1 inches
ISBN 9780312428297
Pages/Publication Date 592/2007
Daedalus Item Code 31973
List Price: $20.00
Sale Price: $4.98
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(Winner of a 2008 Somerset Maugham Award) Having slept with a prostitute in Egypt, Gustave Flaubert begins writing Madame Bovary, which influences the minor French novelist Édouard Dujardin, whose novel is read by James Joyce, whose own Ulysses will move Italian novelist Italo Sveno, and later Gertrude Stein, in radical ways. In such delightful carousels of influence, novelist and translator Adam Thirlwell traces the evolution of style in fiction, arguing that, despite errors of translation, style does indeed bridge languages. Underscoring his point, he includes his own English translation of Vladimir Nabokov's short memoir "Mademoiselle O," along with the original French.

"Ostensibly devoted to the problem of literary translation, this provocative treatise rambles through the Western canon from Cervantes to Bellow, treating novelists less as subjects than as characters in a sprawling intercontinental epic. [Adam] Thirlwell revels in the anecdotal (Italo Svevo studied English with James Joyce) and the serendipitous (the French word dada was invented as an equivalent for 'hobby-horse,' in Tristram Shandy); presents indexes whose entries include 'hamburgers' and 'squiggles'; and lauds digression as the best means of capturing the 'serious nothings' of life. While acknowledging the difficulty of conveying the 'perpetual giggle' of Akaky Akakievich Bashmachkin's name in any language other than Gogol's Russian, Thirlwell insists that translation is possible and, to that end, offers his own version of Nabokov's 'Mademoiselle O,' evoking the story's trilingual origins in fittingly verdant prose."—The New Yorker

 
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