June 20, 2012
Because of my online lectures on Hemingway, Fitzgerald, and Faulkner, I’ve been getting inquiries about these authors from Asia, Europe, South America – many viewers of the Open Yale Courses are outside the US.
This week I got an email from Cosac Naify, a Brazilian publisher. Tender is the Night is going to be translated, it’s going to be in the “World Prose” series, keeping company with Tolstoy, Beckett, Flaubert — and with Jens Peter Jacobsen and Gyula Krúdy.
I had to look up those names, of course. Jens Peter Jacobsen was a Danish author who died young (age 36), whose 1876 novel, Fru Marie Grubbe, based on a seventeenth-century Danish noblewoman, apparently anticipated many of the themes of Lady Chatterley’s Lover. Gyula Krúdy, meanwhile, was a writer who, beginning with his 1911 novel, Sinbad’s Youth, would go on to write many other works with this special connection to The Arabian Nights. According to the New York Times, he was the “Hungarian Proust.”
So much for my knowledge of world literature. And it doesn’t stop there. Cosac Naify also happens to be a major publisher of children’s books; among those they publish is William Faulkner.
I had to look that one up as well. Yes indeed: in 1927 Faulkner did write The Wishing Tree, though it wasn’t published till 1964. It’s about a young girl being whisked away for a magical adventure on her birthday. On Goodreads I found a surprisingly large number of comments, including this in Portuguese: “Edição primorosa, todo colecionador deveria ter. A história é interessante, mas não funciona mais para nossas crianças. Gostei de ler pois é curtinha, mostra a cara do escritor em um momento de descontração (ele escrevia histórias infantis para presentear filhos de amigos. Meu filho mais velho teria odiado certamente, ele está na fase do presente = brinquedo), tem design nota 10.”
What can I say?