Advertisement

Letters & Essays: 1980s

Letters & Essays of the Day

Sventa

By Maxim Osipov

Once you fight your way to the glass door, you find that it’s locked—and beyond it, on the street, there’s another crowd. But this one is more diverse, made up of both men and women. A policeman is stationed by the door. He’s holding a vessel of some kind. Of course: an oil lamp. Well, it took you a while. It’s Holy Saturday. The crowds are waiting for the Holy Fire to land.

from a new translation of Marcel Proust's In Search of Lost Time

By Richard Howard

The great works are ageless, but their translations date; indeed, as Walter Benjamin remarks, the subsequent translations of great works mark their stages of continued life. In most cases, even the case of so extensive a work as War and Peace, translations appear at intervals of about a generation. The Tale of Genji, for all its length, has lately found a second translation, for none is definitive (not even Arthur Waley’s).