Literary Translation, Translation

New Words #7.5: It’s (Almost) a Book!

My first book-length translation will be released in exactly one month. It’s time to get excited!

Text: SONGS FOR THE GUSLE / Prosper Mérimée / Translated by Laura Nagle. Image: A person clad in a blue garment with gold embroidery is holding a narrow stringed instrument. Snow-capped mountains are visible in the distance.
Look! It’s got a cover and everything!

It took nearly 200 years for this French classic to be available in English translation in its entirety, but it’s available for pre-order (at 20% off the cover price) now.

From my publisher, Frayed Edge Press: First published in 1827, La Guzla purported to be a collection of folktales, ballad lyrics, and travel narratives compiled and translated into French by an anonymous traveler returning from the Balkans. Before long, though, it was revealed that both the stories and their “translator” were the fictional creations of a young civil servant, Prosper Mérimée, who would later become one of the most accomplished French writers of his generation. In these dramatic tales of love, war, and encounters with the supernatural, Mérimée has given us both a treasure trove of “fakelore” and a satirical portrait of a self-appointed expert blissfully unaware of how little he understands the cultures he claims to represent.

From me: Folks, this deeply weird book has a little bit of everything. It’s got vampires! It’s got ghosts! It’s got the evil eye! It’s got a world-class nincompoop for a narrator! You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll say “YUCK” out loud!

Sometime between now and publication day, I’ll write about why I chose to work on this project and how I approached it, but for now, I’ll just add my voice to the chorus of authors and translators on the internet chanting the magic words: Please pre-order my book.