A collection of essays on translation, foreign languages, Proust, and one French city, from the master short-fiction writer and acclaimed translator Lydia Davis
In Essays One, Lydia Davis, who has been called “a magician of self-consciousness” by Jonathan Franzen and “the best prose stylist in America” by Rick Moody, gathered a generous selection of her essays about best writing practices, representations of Jesus, early tourist photographs, and much more. Essays Two collects Davis’s writings and talks on her second profession: the art of translation. The award-winning translator from the French reflects on her experience translating Proust (“A work of creation in its own right.” —Claire Messud, Newsday), Madame Bovary (“[Flaubert’s] masterwork has been given the English translation it deserves.” —Kathryn Harrison, The New York Times Book Review), and Michel Leiris (“Magnificent.” —Tim Watson, Public Books). She also makes an extended visit to the French city of Arles, and writes about the varied adventures of learning Norwegian, Dutch, and Spanish through reading and translation.
Davis, a 2003 MacArthur Fellow and the winner of the 2013 Man Booker International Prize for her fiction, here focuses her unique intelligence and idiosyncratic ways of understanding on the endlessly complex relations between languages. Together with Essays One, this provocative and delightful volume cements her status as one of our most original and beguiling writers.