Watch the animated trailer for his latest book, Sandalwood Death, and read the section introduction by translator Howard Goldblatt.
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Mo Yan’s English translator, Howard Goldblatt, was thrilled when he heard the news that the author he had so long translated was to be the recipient of the 2012 Nobel Prize in Literature. Not only
had Goldblatt translated seven novels and a collection of short fiction by the author, but as a long-term friend and fierce critical advocate of his work, this recognition was both hard-fought and much appreciated. The award also meant that Goldblatt would have the opportunity to travel to the Nobel ceremony in Sweden, where he would share the moment with Mo Yan’s other translators from around the world, an experience that Goldblatt paints in positive if also humorously ambivalent tones.
While Mo Yan thanked his translators during his banquet speech, stating that, “without you, there would be no world literature,” and “your work is a bridge that helps people to understand and respect each other,” translation is an unstable cultural space prone to being overlooked and often underappreciated. Yet despite this, and though Mo Yan has other champions in the West, his fiercest literary advocate has always been his English translator, Howard Goldblatt.
In 1084 AD, the Chinese poet Su Dongpo visited Mount Lu in Jiangxi Province, where he composed a verse that has since been memorized by innumerable readers. . .