We think of books being lost over time, as they fall out of popular taste or academic fashion. We think, in other words, of the intervention of history. But history is a by-product of geography. The fate of a book, and by extension of a literary oeuvre, depends to an alarming extent on where it is published, with books emanating from New York and London dominating the global literary scene. That’s one reason why writers and readers owe an endless debt to translators. Take the case of Borges, who might have been lost to English-speaking readers if not for a French translation that introduced his work to Europe, and thence to the anglophone world.
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'The authors do not shrink from spelling out the scale of the killings when the Rhodesians made long-distance raids on guerrilla camps in Mozambique and Zambia.'
Xan Smiley on how Rhodesia became Zimbabwe.
'Thirkell was a product of her time and her class. For her there are no sacred cows, barring those that win ribbons at the Barchester Agricultural.'
The novelist Angela Thirkell is due a revival, says Patricia T O'Conner (£).