Princeton University Press has acquired Translating Myself and Others, a collection of essays about literary translation from Jhumpa Lahiri.
Anne Savarese, executive editor, acquired North American, UK and Commonwealth rights, including audio, from Eric Simonoff at William Morris Endeavor. Publication is slated for spring 2022.
Translating Myself and Others will include several essays, both previously published and unpublished, that reflect on Lahiri’s experiences with translation, self-translation, and writing across languages. One will use Lahiri’s teaching of the "Echo and Narcissus" myth to reflect on the meaning of translation. Another will describe her decision to translate her own fiction from Italian into English and one will ask "Why Italian?", in which the author will reflect on what attracts her to writing in the language and the reactions she has received from native speakers. The book will also include a forward-looking essay on Lahiri’s ambition to translate Ovid’s Metamorphoses.
In the introduction to the book, Lahiri notes: "Translation has transformed my relationship to writing. It shows me how to work with new words, how to experiment with new styles and forms, how to take greater risks, how to structure and layer my sentences in different ways. Reading already exposes me to all this, but translating goes under the skin and shocks the system, such that these new solutions emerge in unexpected and revelatory ways. Translation establishes new rhythms and approaches that cross-pollinate the process of contemplating and crafting my own work. The attention to language that translation demands is moving my writing not only in new directions, but into an increasingly linguistically-focused dimension."
Lahiri is the director of Princeton University’s program in creative writing and the author of novels, short stories, and essays in English and Italian, including The Lowland (Bloomsbury, 2013), a finalist for the Man Booker Prize and the National Book Award in fiction, and Interpreter of Maladies (Flamingo, 2000), winner of the Pulitzer Prize.
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