Saturday, September 3, 2011

Introducing the Cahiers Series

Booksellers take great pride and pleasure in introducing readers to books they may otherwise overlook. Sure, we love the latest buzzed-about blockbuster, but there's a special place in our heart for the underdog: the overlooked small press gem, the unjustly neglected classic, the locally produced 'zine.

So while the deservedly hyped Ready Player One is our guaranteed choice for September's "Book of the Month" (more on this in an upcoming post), I want to take a moment to introduce a series of pamphlets published by Sylph Editions in conjunction with the Center for Writers & Translators at the American University of Paris: the Cahiers.

A page from Cahier 5

The Cahiers Series, totaling sixteen published volumes with another on the way this fall, is aimed at exploring the interstices and intersections between writing and translation. With beautifully illustrated essays (etc.) by noted translators (Richard Pevear and Lydia Davis, for example), poets (Alan Jenkins), and novelists (Laszlo Krasznahorkai and Nobel Laureate Gao Xingjian), the series is off to an exciting start that only seems to be getting better as it goes along.

My favorite cahier, in fact, is the most recently published (no. 16): George Craig's Writing Beckett's Letters. Craig is a contributing editor to the ongoing Letters of Samuel Beckett series published by Cambridge University Press (Volume 2 is due out this fall!), and this cahier provides his meditations on the task of translator, and includes photographs of Beckett's notoriously difficult handwriting--in itself worth the very reasonable price of admission. (Each volume is $15.)

James Joyce consulted Samuel Beckett, then 22 or 23, on Greek

You can find the Cahiers Series on Sylph Editions' website or in just three bookstores in the U.S., only one of which (ahem) is west of 10th Ave. in NYC. For more information, please visit our website.