Comparative Literature & English

The American University of Paris


Literary @ AUP

Translation by Jan Steyn (Comparative Literature and MACT alumnus) shortlisted for the Best Translated Book award

worksEdouard Levé’s experimental novel Works, brilliantly translated by AUP alumnus Jan Steyn (now completing a PhD at Cornell University) has been long-listed for the Best Translated books award.

Among the judges for this award are AUP’s Daniel Medin, and AUP Alumna Madeleine LaRue (editor, writer, and associate editor of the literary review Music and Literature). It sounds like favoritism, but it is rather evidence of the success and reach of AUP students and professors in the world of contemporary literature and translation.

Jan Steyn’s honour adds to a list of recent successes by MACT graduates, including the award won by Jesse T Lichtenstein’s translations of Guadalupe Nettel (she writes about her translations in Asymptote magazine), and the strong reviews of Emma Ramadan’s translation of Anne Garréta’s Sphinx, which has just been published by Deep Vellum Press.


Young writers and translators, reading at AUP on Monday 27 April 2015

Creative Writing in the Department of Comparative Literature and English and the MA in Cultural Translation would like to invite you to a reading, in the series of Young Writers and Translators events curated by Jeffrey Greene.

Continue reading “Young writers and translators, reading at AUP on Monday 27 April 2015”

New Translation from MA in Cultural Translation alumna Emma Ramadan

Sphinx Garreta cover

Emma Ramadan, who graduated from AUP’s MA in Cultural Translation program last year, has published her translation of Anne Garréta’s Sphinx. You can read an extract, or order the book from its publisher or from the usual suspects. The translation is a formidable exploit, as it manages to bring the constraint of the novel – a love story between two characters, the gender of neither of whom is revealed in the book – into English (a language in which gender operates according to an entirely different logic) while maintaining the tone and life of the language. Continue reading “New Translation from MA in Cultural Translation alumna Emma Ramadan”

Lia Jamburia – new visiting scholar in the department, Spring 2015

Lia JamburiaLia Jamburia will be a visiting scholar in the department this semester – working on her research and in dialogue with our colleagues here. We asked her to introduce herself:

I am a PhD student at the Institute of Comparative Literature at Ilia State University, Tbilisi, Georgia; my PhD thesis is entitled ‘Individual against the system in Soviet and American postmodernist novels’. At the beginning of my doctoral studies, I focused on Soviet Studies: I was interested in the lives and works of the writers (both Georgian and Russian), who survived the great terror of 1930’s and continued to work under and against the totalitarian regime. Following the advice of my supervisor, my project turned into comparative studies and I chose to compare literary works created in the Soviet Union and the United States at about the same period. Despite the differences in circumstances, there are themes that unite these writers, such as the antagonism between system and an individual, the relationship between writer and state, and the means of survival in authoritarian systems and war.
My other experience includes starting and running a non-commercial translation project called Radarami, which focuses on bringing bestselling non-fiction books to Georgian readers. I organized discussions around important issues raised in these books, concerning the financial crisis, economics of developing countries, global warming etc., and translated one of the books published by the project: Globalization and its Discontents by Joseph Stiglitz. While most of the authors were unfamiliar to the Georgian audience, the project has attracted a large number of readers and still continues to elicit controversy, which has been our primary goal from the start.
I have also published literary translations, mostly excerpts from the works of the well-known American writers Joseph Heller and Kurt Vonnegut. They were among the authors that have not been translated into Georgian up to now, since translations had been strictly censored and restricted during the Soviet period. Georgia is currently trying to fill the gap, and I hope to be able to contribute to this process.

Brenton Hobart on la Boétie

BoetieBrenton Hobart has recently published an article for the website Cornucopia on Étienne de La Boétie’s Discourse of Voluntary Servitude: a mid-sixteenth-century text that questions how millions of unconstrained individuals, “simply enchanted and charmed by the name of one man”, could miserably and voluntarily chose to serve him—a man “whose power they need not fear, since he is alone, and whose qualities they should not love, since he is inhumane and savage toward them.”

While La Boétie’s Discourse was one of the readings for Professor Hobart’s FirstBridge course, The French: The Greatest People in the World, in fall 2014, it is also currently among the texts studied for the French literature section of France’s national competitive examination, the Agrégation.

Professor Hobart’s article is a study of the numerous uses of the various forms of the word Frank/French in La Boétie’s Discourse, which he believes recall the liberties (the franknesses), both innate and acquired, of the French people themselves.

Dan Gunn – touring the US – alumni welcome

Dan Beckett wall

On Wednesday 25 February at 19:00, Dan will be presenting Samuel Beckett’s letters with Joseph O’Neill at Albertine in New York

On Tuesday 3 March, from 18:00-20:00, he will be in conversation with Jean-Michel Rabaté in Philadelphia at Slought Gallery

And on Friday 6 March at 19:00, he will be reading from and discussing his recent novel with Claire Messud at Porter House Bookshop in Cambridge, Mass

Or if you can’t be at these events you can watch him walking and talking about Beckett.

Russell Williams writing on contemporary French writing and politics

The recent violent events in Paris overshadowed what some had predicted would be a violent and scandalous literary event, the publication of Michel Houellebecq’s new novel, Soumission, which imagines a France in the near future ruled by a Muslim president. Russell Williams is a specialist in contemporary French literature and culture – particularly noise music and Houellebecq. He has new articles in French Slate  on the way that Houellebecq is perceived in the French academy, and in the MHRA journal on Houellebecq’s relation to the idea of transgression, particularly in the visual arts. A third recent article is here. He spoke to Quietus magazine about Charlie Hebdo after the recent attack.

The new issue of Quarterly Conversation is out, and full of AUP

QC-header-logo-webDaniel Medin is one of the editors who helps put together The Quarterly Conversation, a web-journal which is a go-to source for information about and analysis of new translated fiction.

The winter issue has just been published, and it is full of work by AUP alumni.

Continue reading “The new issue of Quarterly Conversation is out, and full of AUP”

Dan Gunn’s new novel, The Emperor of Ice Cream, published this month

emperor coverDan Gunn‘s new novel, The Emperor of Ice Cream, has just been published by Seagull Press.

It is an epic tale of Scots-Italians, the rise of fascism, and the pleasures of pistachio ice-cream. There was a great launch party last week, organised by the creative writing club and hosted by Andrew Davidson. And the extraordinary Lydia Davies discusses the novel in a long interview with Dan in Music and Literature.

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