Friday, June 07, 2013

Department of Literary Yields

Czech Crop for English Readers in 2013

So far it looks like The Devil's Workshop (my translation of Jáchym Topol's most recent novel, published yesterday in the UK by Portobello Books) and Lord Mord (by Miloš Urban, translated by Gerald Turner for Peter Owen Publishers) may be the only works of Czech fiction appearing in English translation this year.

Otherwise, according to the latest database of translations published by Chad Post on the Three Percent blog yesterday, there are no other books translated into English from Czech scheduled to appear this year. (Before anybody objects, I of course realize there is a Czech author on the list — Monika Zgustová — but she lives in Barcelona and wrote her novel The Silent Woman, due out in November, in Spanish.)

Major kudos to Mr. Post, by the way, for having had the foresight to start his lists. Without their existence, people like me would be less likely to do this kind of analysis, and the number of important debates and discussions they've given rise to is surely too many to count. Thank you, Chad! On the other hand, nobody's perfect, and there are a few Czech books missing from the list for 2013:
  • Grove Atlantic is slated to publish Ivan Klíma's mammoth memoir, My Crazy Century, translated by Craig Cravens, in November. (Although this is a memoir, not fiction.)
  • Twisted Spoon Press, in Prague, is supposed to bring out interwar giant Vladislav Vančura's classic novel Markéta Lazarová, in Carleton Bulkin's translation, although the originally scheduled pub date of spring (or March) 2013 has since been reported as May, then June, and it now seems to be due out in September. So we'll see.
  • Finally, Jantar Publishing, in London, is planning to bring out two works this fall: Kytice, by Karel Jaromír Erben (bilingual edition, trans. Susan Reynolds), and The History Teacher, by Tereza Brdečková, trans. Elsa Morrison and Jan Čulík.

For comparison's sake, here are the numbers of works of Czech literature translated into English in the past five years (again, data from Three Percent):
2012: 4  
2011: 2 
2010: 5 
2009: 6
2008: 5
I did some research and came up with a few more past publications:
2012: –1 + 5 + 2 
  • Harlequin's Millions, by Bohumil Hrabal, trans. Stacey Knecht, Archipelago Books, was slated for publication in April 2012 but is now listed as due out in April 2014 
  • Václav Havel: Leaving and The Memo, trans. Paul Wilson; The Increased Difficulty of Concentration, trans. Štěpán Šimek; The Vaněk Plays, trans. Jan Novák; The Pig, or Václav Havel's Hunt for a Pig, trans. Edward Einhorn; all Theater 61 Press 
  • A Bouquet of Czech Folktales, by Karel Jaromír Erben, trans. Marcela Malek Sulak, Twisted Spoon Press 
  •  On Flying Objects, by Emil Hakl, trans. Petr Kopet and Karen Reppin, Comma Press
2011:  +2 
  • Prague, I see a city . . ., by Daniela Hodrová, and The Angel-maker, by Michal Mareš, both trans. David Short, Jantar Publishing
2010: +1 
So the revised numbers would be:
2012: 10  
2011: 4 
2010: 6 
2009: 6
2008: 5
I did the best sleuthing I could, but if I've missed any books, I'll look forward to hearing about them! (P.S. I realize my labels are incomplete, but Blogger allows only a limited number of them.)