Jeff VanderMeer has a good post up about style. You should read it.

I, being endlessly excited by the topic, responded with a comment as long as the post itself. I didn't really mean to do that, and was embarrassed upon posting it to see just how much I'd written, but I was in a hurry and didn't have a chance to write concisely. But I wanted to offer a comment/question about translation -- specifically the fact that some great writing survives some really bad translation -- and see what folks did with it, if they did anything other than just groan and ignore me. Which might be the best response. Nonetheless, the post itself is worth considering...

Meanwhile, I was tempted to write a long post here about the blazing idiocy of John Mullan's "12 of the Best New Novelists" thing at The Guardian, but other people are on it.

Really, though, I know what you most want from me: cute wombats!


  1. I notice over at Ecstatic Days you left a comment about the translations of The Brothers Karamazov and how you read two of them. Which did you prefer? Which do you prefer for Dostoevsky translations in general? I emptied the Dostoevsky books I had from my library because they were Garnett translations and the Anglicization was really obvious.

  2. The two Karamazovs that I've kept are the Oxford World's Classics translation by Ignati Avsey and the Andrew MacAndrew translation from Signet Classics. I've also read big chunks of one of the early ones, probably Garnett (it was 10+ years ago now...), and skimmed around in the Peavear & Volokhonsky, but though I enjoyed the P&V translations of Crime & Punishment, Gogol's stories, and Anna Karenina, I'm somewhat skeptical of their technique and the hype that surrounds them -- see, for instance, this, this, and this.


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