... read online or view printable version
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For the longest time, I was unaware of the concept of translation. I was brought up in two languages, English and German, and the passage from one to the other was not, in my childhood, an attempt to convey ...

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I am not prone to incompletion. Leaving a meal half-eaten, a room half-tidy, a promise unkept, a trip interrupted on a whim, are not in my nature. In my library, however, things are otherwise. To begin with, no library is ...

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Writing Dreams

One day in 1842, the thirty-eight-year old Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote in his notebook: "To write a dream, which shall resemble the real course of a dream, with all its inconsistency, its eccentricities and aimlessness --

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Adam's Task - A Dictionary Story

We are condemned to loss. From the moment we come into this world, we lose everything we believe is ours, from the comfort of the womb to the memory of a lifetime. Circumstances change, desires wane, our ...

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When we settled in the French countryside, over a decade ago, my urban mother's first question was: "But what in the world are you going to be doing with yourself all day?" Little could she have known

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Reading The World

Those of us who love books in any shape or form, those of us who feel for the written word a curiously indefinable passion, attempt, whenever possible, within the limitaions of our tangled lives, to live among books ...

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The Uses of Reading

"Why should we have libraries filled with books?" asked a smiling young futurologist at a recent library convention...

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Working on A Return

Some time in the spring of 2009 (stupidly, I didn't mark the exact date in my journal), Oscar Strasnoy called me and asked if I'd like to work with him on an opera, commissioned by the Festival of Aix-en-Provence for the summer of 2010. I had worked with Oscar once before, five years earlier...

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  The Perserverance of Truth
A little over twenty-four centuries ago, in the year 399 BC, three Athenian citizens brought a public action against the philosopher Socrates for being a menace to society...
How Pinocchio learned to read
  How Pinocchio Learned to Read
I read Carlo Collodi's The Adventures of Pinocchio for the first time many years ago, in Buenos Aires, when I was eight or nine, in a vague Spanish translation with Mazzanti’s original black and white drawings...
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  Publishing Today
Sometime in the Age of Thatcher, Reagan and Mulroney, English-
speaking readers became ignorant. First, translation into English was
practically stopped: today, less than 0.1% of everything published in
English is a translation, and that includes Japanese computer manuals...
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  Art and Blasphemy
Two years ago, the publication of several caricatures of Mohammed in various periodicals around the world ignited the furious protest of various Islamist groups...
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Final Answers
On April 19 1616, the day after having been given the extreme unction, Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra penned a dedication of his last book, The Labours of Persiles and Segismunda, to Don Pedro Fernández de Castro...

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  In Defense of Metaphor
A few years ago, the papers announced that the government of South Africa was going to set up a programme to import and produce low-cost drugs to treat patients with AIDS...
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  Notes Towards a Definition of the Ideal Reader
The ideal reader is the writer just before the words come together
on the page.
The ideal reader exists in the moment that precedes the moment of
The ideal reader does not reconstruct a story: he recreates it. ...
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  Room for the Shadow
I wasn’t going to write. For years the temptation kept itself at bay,
invisible. Books had the solid presence of the real world and filled my
every possible need, whether read out loud to me at first, or later read silently on my own...