New Goytisolo Translation

March 31, 2009

The Literary Saloon reports that Dalkey Archive Press is publishing a new translation of Juan Goytisolo’s Juan the Landless, and provides a couple of quick comparisons of Helen Lane’s original translation with the Peter Bush one that will come out in July. They sound very different in tone — compare “the phallus, that is correct, the phallus” with “the cock, you got it, the cock.” I haven’t read the original yet — Goytisolo is a lamentable hole in my Spanish-language reading so far — so I can only assume that Bush is attempting to capture a playfulness and irreverence that Lane’s translation doesn’t. It could be, too, that the difference comes from the apparently substantial revisions that Goytisolo has done of his novel for this new version. The Saloon also mentions that the new version is somewhat pared down.

It may be that Bush’s is a measurably superior rendering of an excellent book. Still, though, in a zero-sum publishing climate, and with all the untranslated literature there is out there, it’s a shame that this will have inevitably pushed any number of other worthy projects out of the way. But it does put Goytisolo back on my radar, so maybe I’ll finally get around to reading some of his work.