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What are we reading?

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Alma

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Reply #1635 on: October 04, 2020, 06:23:09 AM
Warning to all white men with aspirations in this world:

Since this may be my last message, I may as well "come clean”: the translation of the Oresteia of Aeschylus I posted on 3 September 2020 is mine.

I think I may have retired from life. My life was ruined over the weekend. This new book, my eleventh written book but my first published volume -- finally published after many years of struggle, of not giving up -- was destroyed unnecessarily in an international publication (The London Review of Books) simply because I am a white male. The injustice is out of this world, and all through the night last night I fought off it being my last. All I've ever done is to try to do good in this world. I've written (as yet all unpublished) books about the positive aspects of immigration in America ca. 1790-1820 and about the harrowing black experience in America in that same time; and my new 2020 novel is about a female character whom my agent said was "too smart" -- so I fired her. And the thanks I get is to be ruined, so crudely and so unfairly, simply for being a male, and by a woman who knows nothing -- nothing -- about me. A woman who has everything, a female author who is at the top of her profession, and instead of helping along a first-time published author, even with the gentlest of encouraging words, she ruined me. Ruined me simply for being a man. She has everything, but it's not enough; she needs to destroy everything in her path as well. Her name is Dr. Emily Wilson.

Why am I telling you this? To warn all of you. And because I really don't have any friends. And some of you have been nice to me over the years, and I thank you for it. I wish all of you all the best, and all the good luck available to you.


Although it sounds really painful, it's important to remember that this review, like all reviews, is just one person's opinion. I also wouldn't necessarily see it as indicative of the fate of "white men" in the world. Obviously more people liked your translation than didn't, as it was published in the first place. You got your book published, and to see your name in print! That's so cool, and something you should be very proud of.


Drenk

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Reply #1636 on: October 04, 2020, 10:19:11 AM
I understand the crushing disappointment, and this seems certainly unfair to compare you with scholars uniquely because you are white (I don’t know your sociological background, but that’s enough information to sense some gap in access to publication) but in no way does the article seek to destruct your work personally. It does precise, also, that translation is difficult, and that being a woman doesn’t necessarily gives you more qualification to write and/or translate.

That may sound harsh to be reduced to data, but that means you were read and studied and incorporated, fairly or not, into a corpus. You exist.

https://www.lrb.co.uk/the-paper/v42/n19/emily-wilson/ah-how-miserable
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polkablues

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Reply #1637 on: October 04, 2020, 11:30:01 AM
Thanks to Drenk and Alma for making the points I wanted to make in much more calm and compassionate tones than I would have taken (the phrase “for fuck’s sake” definitely would have come up).

Bleep, I get it. Bad reviews suck. They feel unfair. But your translation didn’t get reviewed badly because you’re a white male. It got reviewed badly for all the reasons that the reviewer went on to elucidate in very specific detail. I’m sure it was painful for you to read! But it will be more painful to continue to live with your head up your ass, so I suggest you extract it and move on. This review will not define the course of your life, but how you choose to react to it might. Choose better.
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WorldForgot

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Reply #1638 on: October 19, 2020, 06:33:08 PM
Only just began it but I find this an interesting case of public domain. Quite cool.
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eward

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Reply #1639 on: October 19, 2020, 06:55:39 PM
I just started it too!!! Really digging it so far. Big Bruce Wagner fan. His most recent interview on BEE and the one he did five years ago are both well worth checking out.

The story behind his ultimately deciding to go public domain with this one is its own very current brand of maddening.
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