Franz Kafka

Friday, March 29, 2013

Interview with Kurt Vonnegut

In this rare, short interview the great American writer talks about his family's history and personal background, and the early days of his career as a fictional story maker for glossy magazines' publishers in post WWII America. Stay tuned for an upcoming post by LiteraryJoint on Kurt Vonnegut's latest book, Look at the Birdie, a collection of short stories that was publish posthumously in 2009.

We heartily encourage to  visit the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library in Indianapolis, IN.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Martín Fierro, by José Hernández (unabridged full version)

Martin Fierro, Cover

The Martín Fierro is an epic poem by Argentine writer  José Hernández, originally appearing in two parts: El Gaucho Martín Fierro (1872) and La Vuelta de Martín Fierro (1879). The poem portrays the  historical contribution by the "gauchos" to the national development of Argentina and its independence from the Spanish crown. The poem is one of the pinnacles in Argentinian literature and a cornerstone of its literary national identity, like a Don Quixote or a Divine Comedy, to put it in due perspective. 

The poem's hero, Martín Fierro, is a poor, free spirited gaucho (a term describing residents of the South American  Pampas or Patagonian grassland, akin to the North-American cowboy) who is forcibly drafted to serve at a border fort defending against the indigenous, native Indian attacks. He eventually deserts, and becomes a gaucho matrero, an outlaw...

Aquí me pongo a cantar,
al compás de la vigüela
que al hombre que lo desvela
una pena estrordinaria,
como la ave solitaria
con el cantar se consuela.

First strophe of the Martín Fierro.

Full version, in Spanish and on Gutenberg.

Friday, March 8, 2013

El Inmortal, de Jorge Luis Borges, versión completa, The Immortal, by Jorge Luis Borges, Original Version in Spanish

"Salomon saith. There is no new thing upon the earth. So that as Plato had and imagination, that all knowledge was but remembrance; so Salomon giveth his sentence, that all novelty is but oblivion."

Jorge Luis Borges

The tale is portrayed as an autobiographical story narrated by a Roman soldier, Marcus Flaminius Rufus, in the ancient Egyptian town of Thebes, under the reign of the emperor Diocletian. A sleepless night, an obscure man, shredded in mystery, wounded, finds refuge in his camp, and on his death bed tells Rufus about a river whose waters bestow immortality on whoever drinks from it. The river is nearby a place called the City of the Immortals. Determined to find it, Rufus sets out with his soldiers. The harsh conditions of the trip cause many of his men to desert and eventually Rufus flees and wanders through the desert, to escape his own man's mutiny and plot to kill him.
Suddenly, as Rufus wakes up from a nightmare, he finds himself constrained in a small crevice on the side of the mountain. Down below, runs a polluted stream and Rufus jumps down to drink from it, after which he falls asleep with exhaustion. Over the next few days, Rufus begins to explore the surroundings, discovering the legendary City of the Immortals. While the city itself is abandoned, a community of cave-dwellers troglodytes inhabits the outskirts. The City of the Immortals is an incommensurable labyrinth with dead-end alleys and passages, inverted stairways, and many puzzling, nonsensical architectural constructions. Rufus, horrified and repulsed by it, describes the city it as "a chaos of heterogeneous words, the body of a tiger or a bull in which teeth, organs and heads monstrously pullulate in mutual conjunction and hatred."

Original Version in Spanish:

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Trieste, by Umberto Saba, English Translation

Original manuscript by Umberto Saba, from “Trieste and a woman” (1910-12)
One of the most well-known lyrics by Umberto Saba, "Trieste" is a testament to the author's love for his city, as it recounts his quest for harmony, the effort to find his own way, his own nook in the world, and call it home.

I traversed the entire town.
Then I climbed a steep slope,
crowded at first, deserted further up,
closed by a low wall:
a nook where I sit

alone; and it seems to me that where it ends
the town ends too.

Trieste has a surly
grace. If one likes it,
it is like a rascal, harsh and voracious,                                              
with blue eyes and hands too big

to offer a flower;
like a love

with jealousy.
Up from this slope every church, any street
I discover, whether it takes to the huddled beach,
or to the hill where, onto the rocky

top, a house, the last one, clings.
All around

circles all things
a strange air, a tormented air,
the native air.

My town that is in every of its part alive,
has a nook made just for me and my life,
pensive and reserved.

from “Trieste and a woman” (1910-12)
Translation in English by LiteraryJoint, Copyright © LiteraryJoint by Alessandro Baruffi  
Available as e-book on Amazon Kindle, iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch NOOK Book and on Lulu. 

Original text in Italian: 

Friday, March 1, 2013

"A Spider Sewed at Night", by Emily Dickinson, Italian, Spanish, French, Portuguese version

Emily Dickinson (1830–1886)

Ms. Dickinson is widely regarded as one of the founders of a uniquely truly American poetry. Her first work was published posthumously in 1890.

Below you will find one of her many poems inspired by the wonders of nature, "A Spider Sewed at Night", both with its original text and its translated versions in Italian, Spanish, French and Portuguese, offered to the community of readers and lovers of  the poetry work of Emily Dickinson, scattered all over the globe.

We warmly encourage, if you happen to pass by Amherst, Massachusetts, to visit the Museum and The Homestead, where the poet was born and spent most of her life.

From "Complete Poems",  1924

A Spider sewed at night   
Without a light   
Upon an arc of white.  
If ruff it was of dame   
Or shroud of gnome,           
Himself, himself inform.   
Of immortality   
His strategy   
Was physiognomy.   

Translations in Italian, Spanish, Portuguese and French, by LiteraryJoint