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Dirty’s Story

Mark Polizzotti, 28 November 1996

The Collected Writings 
by Laure, translated by Jeanine Herman.
City Lights, 314 pp., $13.95, August 1995, 0 87286 293 3
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... When André Breton proclaimed in 1922 that poetry ‘emanates more from the lives of men – whether or not they are writers – than from what they have written or from what we might imagine they could write’, it is unlikely that Laure, then 19 and cloistered in the bourgeois family estate, would have got wind of it. Yet in many ways she was the embodiment of Breton’s pronouncement ...

The Politics of Translation

Marina Warner: Translate this!, 11 October 2018

This Little Art 
by Kate Briggs.
Fitzcarraldo, 365 pp., £12.99, September 2017, 978 1 910695 45 6
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Translation as Transhumance 
by Mireille Gansel, translated by Ros Schwartz.
Les Fugitives, 150 pp., £10, November 2017, 978 0 9930093 3 4
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Sympathy for the Traitor: A Translation Manifesto 
by Mark Polizzotti.
MIT, 168 pp., £17.99, May 2018, 978 0 262 03799 0
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The 100 Best Novels in Translation 
by Boyd Tonkin.
Galileo, 304 pp., £14.99, June 2018, 978 1 903385 67 8
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The Work of Literary Translation 
by Clive Scott.
Cambridge, 285 pp., £75, June 2018, 978 1 108 42682 4
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... zeal, are needed from translators. In their recent books about translation, Mireille Gansel and Mark Polizzotti come close to playing the role of scouts – Polizzotti is interesting on the interconnections of translation and intelligence, and surveys a number of translators who were information-gatherers for their ...

Earthworm on Zither

Paul Grimstad: Raymond Roussel, 26 April 2012

Impressions of Africa 
by Raymond Roussel, translated by Mark Polizzotti.
Dalkey, 280 pp., £10.99, June 2011, 978 1 56478 624 1
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New Impressions of Africa 
by Raymond Roussel, translated by Mark Ford.
Princeton, 264 pp., £16.95, April 2011, 978 0 691 14459 7
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... the re-enactments. In an informative introduction to his translation of Impressions d’Afrique, Mark Polizzotti describes in some detail his effort to arrive at an English comparable to Roussel’s near mathematically concise French. The author of a biography of Breton, a short book on Bob Dylan’s Highway 61 Revisited, and a translator of ...

I want to be queen

Michael Wood: Rimbaud’s High Jinks, 19 January 2023

The Drunken Boat: Selected Writings 
by Arthur Rimbaud, translated by Mark Polizzotti.
NYRB, 306 pp., £16.99, July 2022, 978 1 68137 650 9
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... in his saying he is a master in (‘maître en’) such things rather than of them, which Mark Polizzotti catches well with his ‘I am a master at phantasmagoria.’Do boats talk about how they feel when their haulers have been killed and their crews have vanished, leaving them to float down rivers to the sea and an unimaginable freedom? Do they ...

Happy Babble

Christopher Prendergast, 7 March 1996

Revolution of the Mind: The Life of André Breton 
by Mark Polizzotti.
Bloomsbury, 754 pp., £25, September 1995, 0 7475 1281 7
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... representation in major ways. But the real achievement of its self-styled leader (the subject of Mark Polizzotti’s biography) is questionable. It is difficult not to find oneself writing biliously about so self-righteously bilious a man as André Breton. It is perhaps no accident – another way of formulating Breton’s opaque notion of ‘objective ...

How stupid people are

John Sturrock: Flaubert, 7 September 2006

Bouvard and Pecuchet 
by Gustave Flaubert, translated by Mark Polizzotti.
Dalkey Archive, 328 pp., £8.99, January 2006, 1 56478 393 6
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Flaubert: A Life 
by Frederick Brown.
Heinemann, 629 pp., £25, May 2006, 0 434 00769 2
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... Of the three books that Gustave Flaubert was able to write only after a lengthy cohabitation with his sources, Bouvard et Pécuchet is by some way the most approachable. The other two are exhibition pieces, admirable for their form but keeping their distance, full as they are of the rare knowledge he had come to by his reading. In La Tentation de Saint Antoine, the desert-dwelling anchorite of that name – an antisocial paragon to whom Flaubert felt sufficiently drawn to go on writing and rewriting the book for thirty years – endures a punishing series of night-time intrusions from various biblical, classical and other phantasmal interlocutors, until the sun comes up and the saint can go back to his solitary prayers ...

Paper Grave

Kevin Okoth: On Scholastique Mukasonga, 14 December 2023

The Barefoot Woman 
by Scholastique Mukasonga, translated by Jordan Stump.
Daunt, 160 pp., £9.99, April 2022, 978 1 914198 08 3
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by Scholastique Mukasonga, translated by Mark Polizzotti.
Daunt, 155 pp., £9.99, October, 978 1 914198 58 8
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... his khaki shorts are ‘like a schoolboy’s kabutura’. (In the original French, and in Mark Polizzotti’s faithful translation, Kinyarwanda words are left untranslated.) The villagers even joke that ‘old white professors are like infants’ who need to be treated with special care. Mukasonga’s aim here isn’t to ridicule the pursuit of ...


Harry Mathews, 2 November 1995

‘Maldoror’ and the Complete Works of the Comte de Lautréamont 
translated by Alexis Lykiard.
Exact Change, 352 pp., £11.99, January 1995, 9781878972125
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... a duplicitous defence of the reasonable. In a recently published booklet, Lautréamont Nomad, Mark Polizzotti recommends reading the two works together ‘in the perspective of an infinite movement of evasion and disappearance’, and comments that the Poésies ‘protect Maldoror (and the entire opus) from being re-appropriated by the distributors ...

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