AUDIO: Two Voices Salon with Ottilie Mulzet Discussing Seiobo There Below by Laszlo Krasznahorkai

Ottillie-MulzetOn October 9, 2014, it was our pleasure to host, via Skype, Ottilie Mulzet at the Two Lines Press offices in San Francisco. Mulzet is perhaps best-known as the translator of Seiobo There Below by Laszlo Krasznahorkai, winner of the 2013 Best Translated Book Award. In addition, Mulzet is the translator of AnimalInside, also by Krasznahorkai, as well as upcoming works by Krasznahorkai, a book-length memoir by the Hungarian poet Szilard Borbely, and other upcoming projects.

The Salon begins with a discussion of recent translation news: Patrick Modiano’s Nobel Prize in Literature (announced that very day), plus new works in translation. From there we start the conversation with Mulzet, who focuses on Seiobo There Below and her working relationship with Krasznahorkai and his Hungarian prose. The conversation also ranges among his literary influences, the reception of Seiobo in Hungary, Mulzet’s upcoming projects, and even Krasznahorkai’s collaborations with filmmaker Béla Tarr.

00:00 Introductions

00:50 Opening conversation

  • 1:10 Nobel Prize Award to Patrick Modiano
  • 5:00 A Thousand Forests in One Acorn, edited by Valerie Miles (Open Letter Books)
  • 7:15 The Man Between: Michael Henry Heim and a Life in Translation, edited by Esther Allen, Sean Cotter & Russell Scott Valentino (Open Letter Books)
  • 8:37 The Last Lover by Can Xue (translated by Annelise Finegan Wasmoen) (Yale University Press)
  • 9:10 I Remember by Georges Perec (translated by Philip Terry) (Godine)

10:10 Introductions to Ottilie Mulzet and Seiobo There Below by Laszlo Krasznahorkai

11:15 How Mulzet came to translation Seiobo and how she discovered Krasznahorkai’s writing

17:20 Mulzet’s description of Seiobo

22:00 Mulzet discussing how Krasznahorkai’s Hungarian functions, and how she rendered it in English, with examples read directly from Seiobo

39:35 Mulzet’s level of interaction with Krasznahorkai when resolving the many ambiguities inherent in the Hungarian original of Seiobo

43:20 The reception of Seiobo in Hungary

46:13 Mulzet discusses Destruction and Sorrow Beneath the Heavens, her next Krasznahorkai translation, available from Seagull Books in 2015

51:30 Krasznahorkai’s ambition vis a vis Satantago

52:15: Krasznahorkai’s work with Béla Tarr

56:40 Literary influences on Krasznahorkai

59:05 The absence of gender in the Hungarian language

1:02:50 Mulzet’s upcoming translations: a book by the Hungarian poet Szilárd Borbély, another book by Krasznahorkai, and others

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