Thursday, January 6, 2022

the last book I ever read (Admiring Silence by Abdulrazak Gurnah, excerpt ten)

from Admiring Silence by Abdulrazak Gurnah, the 2021 winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature:

‘What is it that the project will translate?’ I asked. ‘You still haven’t told me about the details yet.’

‘The great books of the world,’ he said, I think with some relief and certainly not with a triumphant bark of appropriation, but in a voice of mildly beseeching modesty. ‘We want to make the profound thoughts they contain available to ordinary people. Of course, the project will work out its own priorities but I would’ve though it would probably want to begin with Shakespeare, Marx, Tolstoy and Hemingway. As perhaps you know, the Rais of our Federal Republic is very fond of Hemingway, and he is himself a translator of Shakespeare. Marx we need so that people can have a firmer understanding of the democractic socialism which is the governing ethos of our state, and Tolstoy for his sympathy with the peasants and the masses.’

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