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Literary Nation

Recent literary items of note in The Nation:

Benjamin Lytal reviews Knut Hamsun's Hunger, Mysteries, Pan and Growth of the Soil, the four key works translated by Sverre Lyngstad and published by Penguin, "in an ongoing project, including eight novels so far, that gives us a unified English Hamsun for the first time." (Lytal also gives due props to poet Robert Bly's translation of Hunger, saying it's superior to Lyngstad's: "Bly smoothed out Hamsun's tense changes and otherwise erred on the side of fluidity.") The article provides a concise but informative overview of Hamsun's career, including his very unfortunate, late-in-life embrace of Hitler and Nazism, which is the best example I can imagine of the "condemn the writer, not the writing" school of thought. Hamsun is such a fascinating, contradictory and maddening individual that the article also is compelling me to pick up Enigma, Robert Ferguson's biography of the author. Given my love of Hamsun's writing (again, if not the man himself), I'm sure I won't regret doing so.

Actor John Turturro discusses his current role in a staging of Samuel Beckett's Endgame, as well as his appreciation for Beckett in general. I found the disclosure that Turturro's best man read a sex scene from Malone Dies at Turturro's wedding to be particularly amusing.

And apparently my short-term, complimentary Nation subscription has now expired, because I never received their latest, The Spring Books Issue. Oh well. I can only handle The Nation in short doses anyway. I'll be ready again a year from now when, if the pattern of the past few years holds, they'll probably be making me the offer again.

May 28, 2008 in Books | Permalink