Monday, 13 October 2008

Borges and di Giovanni

When I first read Borges as a teenager I was thrilled, enthralled, puzzled, inspired. Years later, a collected Borges was published and I thought it would be a good oportunity to reacquaint myself with the entire body of work. As I read on though, I found myself wondering why - despite the fact that the stories were clearly the stories I had read, and loved, thirty years earlier - the language consistently failed to thrill, enthral, puzzle and inspire me. I looked at the translator's name: Andrew Hurley. I went back to look at the name of the translators of the books I'd read as an adolescent: Anthony Kerrigan and, more often, Norman Thomas di Giovanni. Thanks to Scott Pack (from whom I've borrowed this photograph of Borges and di Giovanni) and Warwick Collins (who gives his own account of what he calls the 'greatest literary crime of the century' here), I know a little more about why Hurley's translations have replaced much better ones made during Borges' lifetime and with his collaboration and approval. Di Giovanni now has his own site, with a description of what happened and some previously unpublished texts by Borges. If you love Borges, you know where to go.

4 comments:

Scott Pack said...

Thanks Charles. I am hoping to spread the word about the di Giovanni situation. If enough people make a stink then perhaps we will have a chance to see the di Giovanni versions again.

Charles Lambert said...

Anything I can do to help, Scott. And thanks for pointing me to all the other good things on di Giovanni's site...

Willy said...

Charles,
What happened to Warwick Collins's blog about Borges and di Giovanni?
Your link to "the greatest literary crime of the century" (http://www.publicpoems.com/2008/04/greatest-literary-crime-of-century.html) is no longer valid.
Greetings from the Argentine Patagonia,
Guillermo (Willy) Martinez

Charles Lambert said...

You're absolutely right, Willy, it seems to have disappeared. I'll try to find out why. In the meantime, I suggest you go directly to di Giovanni's own site here: http://www.digiovanni.co.uk/index.php for his own account of what happened.