Time to Say Good-Bye

Gerard ter Borch, Man on Horseback. Image Source

There is no better opportunity to announce the closing of The Untranslated than after climbing the K2 of world literature (i. e. Stefano D’Arrigo’s Horcynus Orca), for the place of Mount Everest will always be reserved for Finnegans Wake, while Zettel’s Traum is more like the Mariana Trench. If you have read my fifth-anniversary blog post, this announcement should not come as a complete surprise. Some of my readers have been genuinely puzzled about all the effort that comes into my reviews, and this realisation has finally caught up with me. I would like to find a different use for this energy, preferably more enjoyable and fulfilling for myself. I’ve realised that being a polyglot whizz kid who can read Ulysses-like books in multiple languages and write painstakingly detailed reviews of them is not a thing for me anymore. Especially considering the fact that I’m over forty now. Altogether, there is enough information here to keep busy scores of publishers and translators. I see no point in adding more titles that many of my readers are unlikely to read, and I do not fancy being a useful data collector and processor anymore. The moderate interest in my blog has shown that there is a gap in contemporary Anglophone literary magazines, which needs to be filled. I do not think that it is so difficult nowadays to commission reviews of significant foreign-language titles from scholars around the world. Many of them will be able to write in English, and if not, there are always translators. Knowledge exchange is as important for the humanities as it is for sciences: we shouldn’t be kept in the dark as to what is happening in other cultures and in other languages, for ignorance rarely leads to progress. This is not a job for one person, of course. What is required is a well-funded, institutionalised effort. My blog has just scratched the surface, but I hope that was enough to make my readers’ aware of what kinds treasures lie hidden in the enormous mountain of untranslated literature, which keeps growing every day.

For the time being, I am planning just to take a break. It is quite possible that I will start another blog with a more general theme, and chances are I may yet write about a couple of untranslated unreadable novels there, so the fans of those should not get utterly dejected. If I have a new blog, I will post the update here. Not much else is left to say. Thanks to all my subscribers and all my readers. If you haven’t read all my posts yet, perhaps now’s the time to browse the archives: I’m sure there will be something of interest for you there.

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52 Responses to Time to Say Good-Bye

  1. sorry to see you go! i always have the process of working through your blog and its cited works in my mind as a task to accomplish once i’ve concluded my phd research. you’ve done really great work here

  2. Lisa Hill says:

    Thank you for all you’ve done over the years… I do hope that by ‘closing’ you don’t mean deleting the blog… I would read some of your reviews and wish they *were* translated so that I could read the books. Maybe one day when they are translated, your reviews will have added resonance.
    As long as you don’t delete the blog!
    Enjoy your break and whatever new direction you decide to take.

  3. MOSHE PRIGAN says:

    I hope in your next blog you’ll write about the notable Australian author Gerald Murnane.
    Have a nice break.


  4. Andrei, so sad to see you going. Your blog has been essential reading for me and I shall miss it very much. I have discovered a whole lot from you and I am sure that there are many other worthwhile books out there waiting for you to discover. All the best for whatever you decide to do in the future. I bought Horcynus Orca in Rome some twenty-five years ago and must get round to reading it.

    • Thank you! Let me remind again, that all these years your site has been my golden standard. I am not planning to disappear from the cyberspace altogether, and perhaps I will cover some untranslated novels in the future somewhere else. I want my blog to remain as an erratic artifact, and, perhaps, inspire a similar effort from other people.

  5. Steven Moore says:

    Sorry to see you go, though I completely understand why. Thank you for your inestimable service to world literature.

  6. Thank you for all your work. I’m truly sorry to see that you’ve decided to stop working on it, but wish you the best in your future pursuits.

  7. It has been such an interesting project. Someday, when one of these novels moves into English, or any other language, for that matter, it ought to feel like a triumph.

  8. Manish Rai says:

    Thanks for all you have done all these years. I have been reading your blog for years and it is one of the best ever. Hope that we see you again doing something even more amazing.

  9. MarinaSofia says:

    I felt a real pang when I read this, but yes, it does not come as a surprise. However, you don’t need me to tell you how much you will be missed by a small section of the blogging community. Good luck with all your future ventures and hope we find a way to keep in touch.

  10. IronMike says:

    Sorry to see you go, but as you say, not totally unexpected. Thanks for all you do and have done!

  11. I’ve only recently discovered your blog and have been enjoying it very much. Sad to see you go, but hopefully this will give you the opportunity for new creative projects!

  12. Laure says:

    I apreciate the big effort you did and I hope you will return with another blog as interesting as this one.
    Be peaceful and goog luck for all your other activities !

  13. Dear Andrei, we have never exchanged a word – but, oh boy, you have given me a lot of joy with this borgean-dream-as-a-blog over the years. Thank you, thank you, and all the best.

  14. Josh says:

    Your blog is one of my favourite spaces to read. Thank you for all you’ve done – you brought to light books I don’t think I would have ever heard of otherwise, and it was after my first visit on your blog I started to seriously learn a different language. Good luck in all your future endeavours!

  15. nnyhav says:

    Thx again and adieu again, Tatz, and looking forward to the next iteration

  16. I am sad to see you go. I’ve only discovered your blog a couple of months ago, and it is one of my favourites. Your reviews will be missed!

  17. lnatal says:

    Please keep in touch, all the best!!

  18. Belletrist says:

    I discovered your blog from the Reddit post on r/lit about your shutdown. I hope you hang around. Will read much of it soon!

  19. languagehat says:

    Sorry to see you go, though I completely understand why. Thank you for your inestimable service to world literature.

    I second every word of this, and thank you also for the branch of hope extended in the final paragraph — I look forward to reading more of your thoughts, even if not in this format!

  20. George Salis says:

    Of course your fans, like me, will always want more, but your blog is an amazing accomplishment. I thank you for all the inspiration and the work you put into it. I look forward to continuing my dig into older posts and I also look forward to whatever you decide to do in the future.

    Best of luck my friend and enjoy a well-earned vacation, as it were.



  21. Melissa Beck says:

    I’m so sorry to hear this. I am a big fan of your writing! Thank you!

  22. Scott W. says:

    Andrei, I am sorry to see The Untranslated go. I’ve been away from the Internet for three weeks, and was just flummoxed by your announcement when I saw it this morning. Your blog has been among my favorite literary places on the web, and you’re to thank for this very long list of works I’ve noted down in anticipation that I may one day get to read them. And if I do one day get to read them, I’m sure no small thanks will be due to your having brought their untranslated-ness to attention of publishers and editors and translators.

    I wish you all best with the redirection of your energies and this well-deserved break, and I hope (for our sakes) that you’ll be back in the blogosphere soon and sharing your generous insights into whatever may next occupy your attentions.

    • Thanks so much for all the kind words, Scott! That means a world to me! Well, sooner or later that was bound to happen, but I hope something else will eventually emerge to fill the void. I’m still on Twitter, and, of course, from time to time I will check in on some of the great blogs I’ve been following, including Seraillon.

  23. Thomas says:

    My big, sad “Thanks for everything!” I will miss your work, but I can understand your decision very well.

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