March 2, 2008

João Guimarães Rosa

July 2008 update. See details of the Third Bank flaps here.

In their most recent print catalog, Archipelago announced a new translation of The Devil to Pay in the Backlands by João Guimarães Rosa (see my post about that book here). They will use the Portugese title, Grande Sertão. This is exciting news, especially because Archipelago works only with the finest translators (they haven't yet announced who will translate their edition). I'll update this post as more information becomes available.

I've scanned the other works by Rosa in English translation, both from Knopf. Check out the illustrated flaps from The Third Bank of the River.

July 2008 update. See details of the Third Bank flaps here.

If you are impatient to read Rosa, his story "My Uncle, The Jaguar" is contained in the anthology Masterworks of Latin American Fiction, along with stories by Marquez, Infante, Mutis, Carpentier, Cortazar, Felisberto Hernandez, and Ana Lydia Vega. It can be found for pennies (or rather, pennies plus shipping).

1 comment:

  1. I've never read the old translation of 'Grande Sertão: Veredas', but one of the complaints I've heard from those who know it and are familiar with the original is that it focuses too much on the 'plotness' of the story, transforming the book into something like a Western. That's too bad, because the book is so rich - as a matter of fact, one of the richest in the Portuguese language, with a gigantic vocabulary and dozens, if not hundreds, of neologisms. Translating it is surely a nightmare.

    There's a grand reworking of the Faustian legend going on, plus a theological argument, a couple philosophical discussions here and there, all using the very specific language of the sertanejos, the people of the Sertão of the title.

    I imagine John Gledson to be the new translator. He's pretty much the man for the job, considering what he's done with another Brazilian classic, The Posthumous Memories of Bras Cubas. I really hope this new translation does justice to the original, and that it reignites international interest in Rosa's works. The man is an unread titan in the anglophone world.