For the road, I recommend you grab a bottle of Egils Appelsín, the classic orange soda that bears the name of Egill Skallagrímsson, one of the most beloved characters of the sagas. Egil’s Saga is full of poetry, loss, sorrow, feasts and fighting so it is no wonder that the soda factory, which also produces beer, earned its hundred years of fame under the title ‘The Egill Skallagrimsson Aleworks’. We can’t know exactly what the Vikings drank back in the day, but we do know that Egill attended his first drinking party at the age of three and later went on to puke in people’s faces and poke out their eyes.
Find more of Sigurbjörg Thrastardóttir’s essay on the Icelandic Sagas only at Asymptote.
A banquet speech upon the presentation of the Nobel Prize, I take it, usually consists of pleasant and polite platitudes. In his extremely brief banquet speech, however, Coetzee makes two striking statements. Those statements are made by Coetzee himself, not by his character Elizabeth Costello. We are freed from any discussion about what statements by characters in his novels say about the ideas of the author himself, or about the authority which the reader must attribute to the narrator. We are freed, for the moment, of that horrible, ever-recurring question: does he really mean this?
—Arnon Grunberg on Coetzee, in his essay ‘A Door Remains a Door,’ translated from the Dutch by Sam Garrett, which you can read at Asymptote
Dissonance, if you are interested by Rosmarie Waldrop
The University of Alabama Press (2005)
About the book (from the publisher’s website):
Incisive essays on modern poetry and translation by a noted poet, translator, and critic.
As an immigrant to the United States from Germany, Rosmarie Waldrop has wrestled with the problems of language posed by the discrepancies between her native and adopted tongues, and the problems of translating from one to the other. Those discrepancies and disjunctions, instead of posing problems to be overcome, have become for Waldrop a generative force and the very foundation of her interests as a critic and poet.
In this comprehensive collection of her essays, Waldrop addresses considerations central to her life’s work: typical genres and ways of countering the conventions of genre; how concrete poets have made syntax spatial rather than grammatical; and the move away from metaphor in poetry toward contiguity and metonymy. Three essays on translation struggle with the sources and targets of translation, of the degree of strangeness or foreignness a translator should allow into any English translation. Finally, other essays examine the two-way traffic between reading and writing, and Waldrop’s notion of reading as experience.
Moroccan author Abdellah Taïa in conversation with Dale Peck
In Asymptote April 2012: ‘Mlle Lambercier’s Comb’ by Marek Bieńczyk, translated from the Polish by Agata Lisiak
If it were possible to erect a new monument to Jean-Jacques [Rousseau] today (for example, in Warsaw’s Skaryszewski Park), I imagine that it might take the form of the “Man of Glass,” L’Homme de verre, the statue that greeted visitors to the main hall of the Paris World’s Fair in 1937. Illuminated by a shaft of light from above, it reaches into this brightness with a glass hand that flows with artificial blood; it tenses its glass torso, in which one can count all the ribs; while the glass legs, with their tangled muscles and glass arteries, hold the trunk in a straight posture, firmly planted, yet ready to raise it lightly, even to launch it into the air.