1.1 Welcome to Colony, co-edited by Rob Doyle.
1.2 Rob has a short story, ‘On Nietzsche,’ in the current Dublin Review.
1.3 Rob has been interviewed by tn2 magazine.
1.4 Rob offers ‘bad writing’ advice to The Stinging Fly: “As an artist of any kind, all you really have are your obsessions, fascinations and perversions, and the way to artistic self-definition is to be trenchantly faithful to them. All the rest is dreary obligation: in other words, community service.”
2. S.J. Fowler’s Fjender project exhibits Morten Søndergaard’s Wordpharmacy (Broken Dimanche Press). More on the Fjender project here.
2.2 Steven comperes an evening of poetry from The Quietus and Blue Pavillion writers, 18 March 2014, 30 Broadway Market, London.
3.1 Darran Anderson’s chapbook, A Hubristic Flea has been published by Blue Pavillion press.
3.2 Darran was on the BBC NI’s Arts Show talking about poetry and the resurrection of The Honest Ulsterman.
3.3 Darran on the Gustave Doré exhibition, Master of Imagination, at the Musée D’Orsay.
6. Desmond Hogan has an essay on Giorgio Bassani’s The Garden of the Finzi-Continis in the current issue of the London Library Magazine.
7. gorse interviewee Adam Thirlwell is in conversation with Stuart Hammond and Joe Dunthorne, as part of Visual Editions’ Literary Explosions, Ace Hotel Shoreditch, London, Wednesday 2nd April at 7.00pm.
8. David Winters reviews Lydia Davis’ The End of the Story in the Quarterly Conversation.
Adam Thirlwell interviewed by Susan Tomaselli.
In the British literary establishment (and let’s face it, named Granta Best Young Novelist not once but twice is ‘establishment’), Adam Thirlwell is something of a Trojan horse: ‘Good novelists (or, maybe more honestly, the novelists I like) are often not just avant-garde in terms of technique; they are morally avant-garde as well.’ His novels – Politics (2003), The Escape (2009) – use Milan Kundera and Philip Roth as templates, and feature digressions on Osip Mandelstam, the Bauhaus and Saul Bellow, to name but a few. With their narratorial interventions and other unconventional stylistic quirks, they flaunt the rules of sexual comedies. But Thirlwell is a master of turning ideas upside down and inside out, no more so than in his novella Kapow! (2012), a response to the Arab Spring that uses typography, fold-out pages and wordplay to mimic the noisy confusion of events as they emerged on Twitter and YouTube. It is the missing link between Tristram Shandy and the Lissitzky designed For the Voice. Thirlwell has always been interested in the international and the experimental, and his Miss Herbert (2007), named for an English governess who may or may not have been Flaubert’s mistress, and may or may not have helped him translate Madame Bovary, is his understanding of the possibilities of translation through a miniature history of the novel (or, an ‘anti-novel, with novelists as characters,’ as he puts it). It’s a theme he continues to explore in Multiples (2013), a ‘project for multiplying novels in any language,’ inspired, partly, by Augusto Monterroso.
The Stinging Fly have posted my essay from their summer translation issue (June 2013). Using Dalkey Archive’s Best European Fiction series as a starting point, the essay takes in the recently translated Georges Perec‘s La boutique obscure as well as the 65th anniversary edition of Raymond Queneau‘s Exercises in Style, and also Lauren Elkin and Scott Esposito’s excellent The End of Oulipo? (the title of my essay is a play on Ouvroir de littérature potentielle, workshop of potential literature). One of the most exciting translation projects this year had to be Adam Thirlwell‘s Multiples project:
According to Paul Klee genius is the error in the system, a sentiment Adam Thirlwell shares. ‘There are no perfect translations, just as there are no perfect styles,’ he says. ‘Something is still translatable, even if its translation is not perfect.’ The first imperfect French translation of Laurence Sterne’s The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman was made by Joseph Pierre Frénais in 1776. Imperfect, for not only did Frénais omit Sterne’s stylistic tricks (looped lines, diagrams, blank pages, and so on) he left out sentences that bored him, restructured paragraphs and tampered with Sterne’s ‘impolite’ jokes. The translation was not without its merit. In it, Frénais invented the word dada as an equivalent to Sterne’s word ‘hobby-horse’, later plucked from the dictionary by Hugo Ball and Tristan Tzara in search of a name for their anti-art movement of assemblage and readymades.