Essays Two

Lydia Davis
Published in 2021
by Farrar, Straus and Giroux

In her 2019 book, Essays One, Lydia Davis offers her insights on craft and the writing life, while this follow-up volume concentrates on her expertise as a translator. Essays include observations on learning foreign languages, translating Proust from the French, and how her travels across the city of Arles in France influenced her writing. “The translation problems that you have struggled with the hardest, perhaps never satisfied with your solutions, will stay with you for a long time—you can count on it,” Davis writes. In eleven unique sections, including “Learning a Foreign Language: Dutch,” “Translating from English into English,” “Translating Michel Leiris,” and “On Translation and Madame Bovary,” Davis lets the reader in on her idiosyncratic way of approaching translation. Her clear and incisive prose carries all those invested in the mysteries and relationships between languages.