Proust? Ha!

Michael Hofmann

It’s been some time since I felt much optimism about the prospects for foreign literature in English translation, but for the last three years or so, I’ve been in open despair. In the Eighties, there was still room for the kind of felicitous miscalculation that made the appearance of certain books in English possible – it seems to me these things were only ever done by mistake. The period we are now embarked on is quite possibly terminal. After it, we may expect a deluge – a deluge of nothing.

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