THAT OTHER WORD: Episode 3 | May 2012 | Benjamin Moser

“That Other Word,” a collaborative podcast between the Center for Writers and Translators at the American University of Paris and Two Lines Press in San Francisco, offers discussions on classic and contemporary literature in translation, along with engaging interviews with writers, translators, and publishers.

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In this rather German conversation, Daniel Medin and Scott Esposito discuss the melancholy and pleasure in the most recent collection of W.G. Sebald’s poetry to appear in English, Across the Land and the Water: Selected Poems 1964-2001. History is a found object in Sebald, and also in December, a wintry advent calendar of thirty-nine short stories by Alexander Kluge and thirty-nine photographs by Gerhard Richter. Robert Walser’s The Walk may induce laughing out loud at the wilderness, and the thirtieth anniversary of Julio Cortázar and Carol Dunlop’s Autonauts of the Cosmoroute should inspire some very leisurely drives from Paris to Marseilles.

In the second half of the episode, Scott Esposito interviews Benjamin Moser, author of Why This World: A Biography of Clarice Lispector. Moser has recently re-translated Lispector’s last novel, The Hour of the Star, and is currently editing a series of four of her earlier works for New Directions (Near to the Wild Heart, A Breath of Life, Agua Viva, and The Passion According to G.H.). He talks about falling in love with Lispector, his missionary urge to promote her work, The Hour of the Star’s stylistic strangeness and surprising pathos, and why online grammar forums make the work of translation less lonely.

Table of Contents

INTRO: Daniel Medin and Scott Esposito

1:50 W.G. Sebald’s Across the Land and the Water: Selected Poems 1964-2001
3:44 Alexander Kluge and Gerhard Richter’s December, including a reading from “6 December 1989”
9:54 Robert Walser’s The Walk
13:03 Julio Cortázar and Carol Dunlop’s Autonauts of the Cosmoroute, plus Cortázar’s From the Observatory
17:22 Daniel Medin introduces Benjamin Moser

FEATURE: Scott Esposito interviews Benjamin Moser

19:30 How the new translations of Clarice Lispector came to be
25:39 Writing Why This World and generating interest in Lispector’s work
30:52 Translating The Hour of the Star, Lispector’s unusual style, and working with four different translators to create one author’s voice
40:12 The origins and afterlife of The Hour of the Star
48:00 The tools of translation; discovering new authors