Thursday, February 03, 2011

Dalkey's Blunder

A great not-so-little post at Three Percent from an author who had her story changed by the hands of an editor at the otherwise fantastic Dalkey Archive. Dalkey and Open Letter represent two of the better lit in translation sources, though there's a bit of bad blood under the bridge.

If you ask me, aside from New Directions, Dalkey is tops. They publish lost treasures and exciting new voices, champion the avant-garde, and insist that every book they publish stay in print forever. Their press boasts G. Cabrera Infante, Manuel Puig, Flann O'Brien, Carlos Fuentes, Dubravka Ugresic (though she's moved over to Open Letter), and a host of other notables. I am always excited to see new additions to their press and have a tall stack of their titles waiting to be read. (Retirement can't come quick enough.)

That being said (writ), this blunder looks bad. If this is Dalkey's regular practice and not a egregious error on the part of some editor (and Aleksandar Hemon, a Bosnian-American writer one would think sympathetic to such concerns, supposedly edits the annual collection of Best European Fiction), this does call into question the ethics of Dalkey. I understand they are small, busy, probably under-funded, but still, it's not too much trouble to send copy to the writer before printing, right? Let's just move on and assume this was a one time slip and that John O'Brien (who did once write a rather obnoxious essay about literature in translation) and Co. are better than this.