The "Cahiers Series" is a set of short books which make available new explorations in writing, in translating, and in the areas linking these two activities. The Cahier Series is published in association with Sylph Editions and can be purchased via their website. Proceeds from the sale of the cahiers help to sponsor the Center’s activities.
Cahier Series - #25 | The Swan Whisperer
This playful, genre-bending cahier tells the story of pale, anxious creative writing student Kasper Olwagen and his strange encounter, through the person of a Swan Whisperer, with the phenomenon of translation...
Cahier Series - #24 | Angry in Piraeus
Angry in Piraeus is the story of the creation of a translator. In this cahier, Maureen Freely explores what it was in her childhood that led her to become a traveler across the spaces that exist between countries, languages, and forms...
Learn more about Angry in Piraeus
- Cahier #25 | The Swan Whisperer
- Cahier #24 | Angry in Piraeus
- Cahier #23 | Clarice: The Visitor
- Cahier #22 | The Tilted Cup: Noh Stories
- Cahier #21 | Nay Rather
- Cahier #20 | Shades of the Other Shore
- Cahier #19 | Diplomat, Actor, Translator, Spy
- Cahier #18 | Her Not All Her
- Cahier #17 | A Labour of Moles
- Cahier #16 | Writing Beckett's Lettersz
- Cahier #15 | Evasions
- Cahier #14 | Animalinside
- Cahier #13 | Ballade Nocturne
- Cahier #12 | Lost and Found
- Cahier #11 | In the Thick of Things
- Cahier #10 | Jozef Czapski: A Life in Translation
- Cahier #9 | Notes from the Hall of Uselessness
- Cahier #8 | When the Pie Was Opened
- Cahier #7 | Days Bygone
- Cahier #6 | Text on Textile
- Cahier #5 | Proust, Blanchot, and a Woman in Red
- Cahier #4 | Drunken Boats
- Cahier #3 | Circles of Silence
- Cahier #2 | Walking on Air
- Cahier #1 | Translating Music
by Marlene van Niekerk
This playful, genre-bending cahier tells the story of pale, anxious creative writing student Kasper Olwagen and his strange encounter, through the person of a Swan Whisperer, with the phenomenon of translation. Through brilliantly imagined letters and recordings, van Niekerk recounts Olwagen's discovery of a vagrant who, without uttering any even remotely intelligible words, summons swans from Amsterdam's canals. Through the story of Olwagen's experience, van Niekerk probes south and north, language and living, stories and truth. A story of doubles, cadence, and, yes, swan whispering, The Swan Whisperer delves into the playfulness of sound in the Afrikaans language and the necessity for listening in all translation
William Kentridge’s black-and-white prints form a fantastical accompaniment to van Niekerk’s peculiar fable. Birds, mammals and human figures are thrust into loose spatial arrangements, struggling, like Olwagen, to orient themselves in a newly rearranged world.
40 pages, 10 illustrations | 240 x 150mm |Sewn paperback with dust jacket | ISBN 9781909631106 |
by Maureen Freely
Angry in Piraeus is the story of the creation of a translator. In this cahier, Maureen Freely explores what it was in her childhood that led her to become a traveler across the spaces that exist between countries, languages, and forms. She offers rich descriptions of her itinerant upbringing in America, Turkey, and Greece, vividly evoking what it means to be constantly commuting between worlds –geographical, conceptual, linguistic, and literary – in search of a home, or a self, that is proving elusive. She tells of her transition from novelist to translator – specifically, the English translator of Nobel Prize-winner Orhan Pamuk – and of how eventually she found it necessary to give up translating Pamuk in order to return to her own fictional worlds.
Freely's meditations are accompanied by the playful collages of Rie Iwatake, a Japanese artist with her own experiences meandering between cultures. The resulting book is an unforgettable meditation on translation, writing, and life itself.
40 pages, 12 colour illustrations | 240 x 150mm | Sewn paperback with dust jacket | ISBN 978-909631-13-7
by Idra Novey
In this cahier, American poet Idra Novey explores multiple notions of translation through two sequences of poems. In the first sequence, ‘Letters to C’, she directly addresses the figure and the words of a writer she recently translated, Brazilian visionary Clarice Lispector. In the second, ‘Regarding Marmalade, Cognates, and Visitors’, Novey looks at the connections between language, translation, and the hosting of visitors, including her newborn son. Idra Novey’s texts are in conversation with images by the artist Erica Baum – images of books that seem both to invite and resist attempts to read them.
40 pages, 9 colour illustrations | 240 x 150mm | Sewn paperback with dust jacket | ISBN 978-1-909631-07-6 |
by Paul Griffiths
In this cahier Paul Griffiths effects a multi-layered translation, taking a series of eleven Japanese noh plays and turning them into stories in English. The reader will encounter spirit-beings set free, lovers lost and found, dreams and desires fulfilled, lessons learned from nature, and always a longing for the infinite, as the long, slow drama of each noh play is transformed into a short and moving tale. Interspersed and contrasting with the stories are ten photographs of contemporary Japan by John L. Tran which further explore the relation between theatricality and narrative, while offering hints of a very different vision of infinitude.
44 pages, 10 colour illustrations | 240 x 150mm | Sewn paperback with dust jacket | ISBN 978-1-90963102-1 | Publication date: December 2013
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by Anne Carson
This cahier unites two texts by celebrated Canadian poet Anne Carson, encouraging readers to experience them alongside and illuminating each other. ‘Variations on the Right to Remain Silent’ is an essay on the stakes involved when translation happens, ranging from Homer through Joan of Arc to Paul Celan; it includes the author’s seven translations of a poetic fragment from the Greek poet Ibykos. ‘By Chance the Cycladic People’ is a poem about Cycladic culture where the order of the lines has been determined by a random number generator. The cahier is illustrated by Lanfranco Quadrio drawings and gouaches, inspired by his reading of Anne Carson’s texts.
44 pages, 16 colour illustrations | 240 x 150mm | Sewn paperback with dust jacket | ISBN 978-1-90963103-8 | Publication date: December 2013
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Shades of the Other Shore has come about through a collaboration between writer Jeffrey Greene and artist Ralph Petty. The two, writer and artist, share rural American beginnings, but have since discovered a new life in France, in sparsely populated French areas of Burgundy and the Ardèche, respectively. Their cahier offers a deep mapping of their adopted regions: Greene’s sequence of sketches and poems explores imagined correspondences between personal and historical ghosts tied to the seasons; Petty’s watercolours records a journey to the source of a local river. The result is a rich artistic translation, through their American sensibilities, of the landscapes of their chosen homes.
36 pages, 15 colour illustrations | 240 x 150mm | Sewn paperback with dust jacket | ISBN 978-0-9569920-6-2 | Publication date: April 2013
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In recent years theories about translation have proliferated. Yet surprisingly little has been written about what it actually feels like to be a translator: to spend one’s days devoted to the words of another. Bernard Turle’s Diplomat, Actor, Translator, Spy seeks to address certain prevailing translation theories, but above all to give a sense of the true task of the translator – a daily grind that is anything but abstract. Through twenty-six alphabetically organised recollections, anecdotes, fantasies, and dreams, he vividly conveys what it is that drew him to becoming a translator, evoking the delights as well as the frustrations of his chosen profession.
44 pages, 25 colour illustrations | 240 x 150mm | Sewn paperback with dust jacket | ISBN 978-0-9569920-5-5 | Publication date: March 2013
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Her Not All Her is a play about, from, and to the great Swiss writer Robert Walser, by the great Austrian writer and Nobel Prize winner Elfriede Jelinek. It highlights what Jelinek calls ‘the fundamental fragmentation’ of Walser’s voice, revealing Walser as ‘one of those people who, when they said “I”, did not mean themselves’. Presented here in a prize-winning translation by Damion Searls, it shows Jelinek to be an impassioned virtuoso reader of classic European writers. The cahier contains an essay by the Director of the Robert Walser Centre, Reto Sorg, and thirteen paintings by the British artist Thomas Newbolt.
44 pages, 15 colour illustrations | 240 x 150mm | Sewn paperback with dust jacket | ISBN 978-0-9569920-4-8 | Publication date: October 2012
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‘I found myself in the thick of things. I shut my eyes experimentally, opened them again. If I was dreaming, the scene should change – but no, everything was exactly as it had been before.’ So begins A Labour of Moles, by one of South Africa’s most important writers, Ivan Vladislavic: a story which takes the reader into a realm utterly alien and at the same time as familiar as the letters forming the words on the page and the very building-blocks of fiction.
44 pages, 19 colour illustrations | 240 x 150mm | Sewn paperback with dust jacket | ISBN 978-0-9565092-8-4 | Publication date: December 2011
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by George Craig
For fifteen years George Craig has been translating into English the thousands of letters that Samuel Beckett wrote in French. To readers of this cahier he opens that experience, describing the challenges as well as the rewards, which can go from the difficulty of deciphering Beckett’s notoriously difficult handwriting to finding an English equivalent for one of Beckett’s numerous verbal jokes. Highly personal and at the same time informed by a lifetime of experience of movement between languages, this cahier offers an insight into the ‘task of the translator’ – when the writer being translated was himself a master translator.
40 pages, 12 colour images | 240 x 150mm | Sewn paperback with dust jacket | ISBN 978-0-9565092-7-7 | Publication date: May 2011
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In this cahier Harvard Professor Daniel Albright gathers parables, poems, dreams, translations, written during a three-year period following the death of his father. Together, these form a moving record of a time of trouble, a tribute to people and objects lost, as well as offering a way of deflecting or evading even greater and less knowable harm. Accompanied by artwork by the poet and artist Peter Sacks, the cahier builds towards an attempt, as the author puts it in his Preface, ‘to translate my private experience into something with public meaning’. Albright adds: ‘But I feel as if I were less the translator than the thing being translated’.
44 pages, 7 colour images | 240 x 150mm | Sewn paperback with dust jacket | ISBN 978-0-9565092-6-0 | Publication date: February 2011
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This cahier is the result of a collaboration undertaken specially for The Cahiers Series, between a writer and a painter. Hungarian novelist László Krasznahorkai, author of The Melancholy of Resistance and War & War, responds with fourteen texts to fourteen depictions of a strange and ill-formed creature made by his friend the renowned German painter Max Neumann. The texts speak from within the head of Neumann's creature that seems to be menacing existence itself; serving, as they do so, to confirm Susan Sontag's estimate of Krasznahorkai as ‘The Hungarian Master of Apocalypse’. All fourteen of Neumann's paintings are reproduced alongside the texts (translated by Ottilie Mulzet). The cahier is introduced with a preface by Irish novelist Colm Tóibín.
40 pages, 14 colour images | 240 x 150mm | Sewn paperback with dust jacket | ISBN 978-0-9565092-1-5 | Publication date: September 2010
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by Gao Xingjian
In this cahier Nobel laureate Gao Xingjian publishes for the first time his latest theatrical text, Ballade Nocturne. Originally written in French, it is a ‘woman’s manifesto’ that pursues Gao’s experimentation with artistic forms through a combination of poetry, dance, music, and drama. The play is translated by Claire Conceison, who adds a preface about Gao’s work and her experience of translating it. The text is complemented by five paintings by the author and by a booklet containing the original French version.
40 pages, 5 colour images | 240 x 150mm | Sewn paperback with dust jacket | ISBN 978-0-9558896-9-1 | Publication date: March 2010
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Alison Leslie Gold, known best for her work on Anne Frank and the Holocaust, here for the first time relates a personal memoir, centred on recent losses of loved ones and on various findings that to some extent offset the losses. Starting with her childhood experience of running her primary school ‘lost and found’ depot, she develops, through a series of letters, a meditation on ageing, friendship, and the sort of ‘translation’ required when writing to the dead. Her text is accompanied by 13 paintings from Charlotte Salomon’s masterpiece Leben? oder Teater?
40 pages, 13 colour images | 240 x 150mm | Sewn paperback with dust jacket | ISBN 978-0-9558896-8-4 | Publication date: February 2010
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by Vincen Cornu
In this cahier, Vincen Cornu, a Paris-based architect, attempts to ‘translate’ architectural sensation into words and images, in order to convey the inspirations behind his work and the ways in which buildings, and the spaces they create, can offer journeys of imaginative discovery. Writing for the enthusiast rather than for the specialist, he takes the reader back to early theories of architecture, through topics as diverse as skyscrapers, railway tracks, grain barns in Northern Spain designed to deter rodents, and the work of masters in the field such as Álvaro Siza, Hans Scharoun, and Louis Kahn. The text works alongside numerous full-colour drawings and architectural plans to give a glimpse into what architecture might mean to us today.
44 pages, 24 colour images | 240 x 150mm | Sewn paperback with dust jacket | ISBN 978-0-9558896-7-7 | Publication date: December 2009
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In this cahier the novelist, critic, translator, and editor of News from The Republic of Letters Keith Botsford presents the visual and literary work of the Polish painter and intellectual Józef Czapski. Botsford’s imagined brief autobiography of Czapski takes us inside the artist’s turbulent life, signalling the chief events which marked him, as well as the affinities which led to his creative flourishing. This cahier offers a chance either to get to know a neglected thinker or artist, or – for those already familiar with Czapski – a chance to come to know him better. The text is accompanied by 12 full colour reproductions of Czapski’s work.
44 pages, 12 colour images | 240 x 150mm | Sewn paperback with dust jacket | ISBN 978-0-9558896-4-6 | Publication date: April 2009
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by Simon Leys
Simon Leys, novelist, unflinching cultural and political commentator, Sinologist, and occasional illustrator, presents here timely meditations on the experience and hazards of literary translation. Preceding his essay are observations on everything from demented tyrants to musical geniuses who gain insights from vacuum cleaners. Written with wit and concision, this cahier offers English-language readers a chance to get to know a writer who is renowned for his wisdom and insight as much as he is for his linguistic and literary expertise.
44 pages, 6 images | 240 x 150mm | Sewn paperback with dust jacket | ISBN 978-0-9558896-3-9 | Publication date: November 2008
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by Paul Muldoon
This cahier presents new work by the celebrated Irish poet Paul Muldoon. After a preface in which the poet explains what for him is the importance of translating, there follow four original works, “The Windshield”, “Balls” (a five-sonnet sequence), “Quail”, and the title series of poems, “When the Pie Was Opened”. Interspersed with these are the poet’s translations: from the Latin of Ovid, from the Anglo-Saxon, from the Medieval Welsh of Dafydd ap Gwilym, from the Greek of Kostis Palamas, and from the Irish. The cahier is completed by drawings and an etching by the Sicilian artist Lanfranco Quadrio.
44 pages, 6 images | 240 x 150mm | Sewn paperback with dust jacket | ISBN 978-0-9552963-8-3 | Publication date: May 2008
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Four excerpts from Rachel Shihor’s novella Yankinton have been selected, and translated from the Hebrew for this cahier. These poignant and humorous tales are as much about the act of recollection as they are about the remembered Tel Aviv of the 1940s and 195os. In a playful and yet muted style, Shihor tells of the everyday life of a child beginning to grasp her surroundings. Six works by the painter David Hendler further explore the city.
44 pages, 6 images | 240 x 150mm | Sewn paperback with dust jacket | ISBN 978-0-9552963-7-6 | Publication date: February 2008
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Isabella Ducrot is a Roman textile artist and painter, who in this cahier presents reflections on the nature of textile and weaving which arise both from her major textile collection and from her close reading of mythology and art history. Her meditations are illustrated by her own art and are introduced by a specially-written poem by the celebrated Italian poet Patrizia Cavalli.
36 pages, 8 colour images | 240 x 150mm | Sewn paperback with dust jacket | ISBN 978-0-9552963-6-9 | Publication date: February 2008
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by Lydia Davis
The cahier comprises three linked pieces by the translator and short story writer, Lydia Davis. First is ‘A Proust Alphabet’, which gives an account of several words and issues of particular interest, encountered during the author's recent translating of Marcel Proust's Swann's Way. There follows a short article on the French thinker and novelist Maurice Blanchot, entitled ‘The Problem in Summarising Blanchot’. Finally comes a series of dreams and dreamlike moments, recounted in ‘Swimming in Egypt: Dreams while Awake and Asleep'. The text is accompanied by ten tritone photographs by Ornan Rotem.
48 pages, 10 tritone illustrations | 240 x 150mm | Sewn paperback with dust jacket | ISBN 978-0-9552963-5-2 | Publication date: November 2007
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by Alan Jenkins
The cahier comprises an introductory preface by Alan Jenkins, and his new translation of "Le Bateau Ivre" by Arthur Rimbaud (reproduced in French original with translation facing), along with two poems of his own which take their bearings from Rimbaud's as well as from images by the painter William Pownall. Two of Pownall's works are reproduced, as well as one drawing by Rimbaud and two by Paul Verlaine.
32 pages, 8 colour illustrations | 240 x 150mm | Sewn paperback with dust jacket | ISBN 978-0-9552963-4-5 | Publication date: November 2007
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by Jonathan Harvey & Jean Claude Carrière
This cahier, third in the series produced by the Center for Writers & Translators at the Arts Arena of The American University of Paris, is published to coincide with the Dutch premiere of the newly written opera Wagner Dream, directed by Pierre Audi and produced by De Nederlandse Opera.
The cahier includes an interview with Jonathan Harvey, the composer of Wagner Dream, and Jean-Claude Carrière, the librettist. It contains an essay by Jonathan Harvey on contemporary music and its relation to Buddhist thought and practice. Six photographs are reproduced from the world premiere of Wagner Dream, as well as a detail from Jonathan Harvey’s musical score, and a rare image of an ancient Indian ritual plaque.
40 pages, 8 colour illustrations | 240 x 150mm | Sewn paperback with dust jacket | ISBN 978-0-9552963-3-8 | Publication date: June 2007
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by Muriel Spark
This cahier, the second in the series produced by the Center for Writers & Translators at The American University of Paris, commemorates Muriel Spark by publishing nine short pieces, as well as one photograph, by her. To this it adds a preface by the editor, Dan Gunn, as well as several photographs deriving from his stay with Muriel Spark’s friend Penelope Jardine, during which the selection of texts was made.
Included in Muriel Spark’s texts are: one handwritten note on dream interpretation; one dream, recounted; two poems; an essay on Piero della Francesca and another on hotels; one note on translation; one short story; and several diary entries.
40 pages, 7 colour images | 240 x 150mm | Sewn paperback with dust jacket | ISBN 978-0-9552963-2-1 | Publication date: April 2007
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This cahier, the first in a series, marks the opening of the Center for Writers & Translators at the Arts Arena of The American University of Paris. It also marks the completion by its author Richard Pevear of his translation (done in collaboration with Larissa Volokhonsky) of Tolstoy’s War and Peace, which will be published later in 2007.
Readers will learn here of the intuitions and convictions that have steered the course of one of the most famous translators of our day, as well as of the particular difficulties and rewards of translating Tolstoy’s masterpiece. Also published here for the first time is Richard Pevear’s translation of a long poem by Pushkin (with Russian text facing) as well as drawings by Pushkin himself.
36 pages, 5 monochrome illustrations | 240 x 150mm | Sewn paperback with dust jacket | ISBN 978-0-9552963-1-4 | Publication date: April 2007
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