Join the discussion about politically sensitive terms and translation on machtsprache.de!

Lucy Gasser

Scholar of literary studies and editor of poco. lit.

Audre Lorde
Zami: A New Spelling of My Name

Audre Lorde’s biomythography Zami: A New Spelling of My Name relates this iconic writer’s personal, poetic, political and sexual coming-of-age. Lorde was a self-described “Black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet” and this recording of her early life is a powerful piece of writing. The book is a must-read for anyone interested in the lived experiences of intersectional marginalisation, as told by one of the most strident and talented voices to talk about these realities.

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What’s in a foreword? On translator’s notes

Translators make decisions that have an enormous impact on how texts arrive in linguistic contexts beyond the language they were written in. Especially in literary translation, many of these decisions are related to questions of aesthetics and style. But these are also, as our macht.sprache. project is making increasingly clear, decisions with political undertow and ramifications. The translator’s note is often a moment that allows translators to communicate to their readers the considerations that went into their decision-making.

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Jhumpa Lahiri
The Namesake

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jhumpa Lahiri’s debut novel tells the story of the Ganguli family: Ashoke and Ashima, originally from Bengal, migrate to the North-eastern United States in the 1960s. They have two children there, and the novel follows the experiences of their firstborn son. It’s a novel about living in between places, cultures and assigned identities.

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Whose is the world in world literature? On world literature and postcolonial studies

So many texts on the subject of world literature at some point indicate Goethe’s coining of Weltliteratur in 1827 as its origin story. This is to start the conversation within a European framing. But one could choose another point of departure. For instance: In 1907, Rabindranath Tagore, an enormously respected figure of Bengali literature, was asked to give a lecture on comparative literature. He chose instead to speak on vishwa sahitya.

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Colson Whitehead
The Nickel Boys

In a grazing pasture on the North side of what was once the campus of the Nickel Academy for Boys, an archaeology student from the University of Florida stumbles across a field of bones: unmarked graves. She and her cohort are there to excavate the official graveyard of the school before the lands are developed into an office park. The small bones in the known cemetery are already suspiciously often fractured, suggesting breaks and injuries before death: what history of abuses does the field of unmarked bones testify to? Thus begins Colson Whitehead’s prizewinning novel The Nickel Boys.

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Sharon Dodua Otoo
Adas Raum

Adas Raum is ambitious and epic in scope, gripping and intelligent in execution, and somehow both unforgiving and funny. It will let you meet Ada in her different iterations through the ages, as well as God in a number of irreverent and charismatic guises

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