NYRB is issuing a new translation of Italian author Dino Buzzati’s 1940 novel Il deserto dei Tartari next month. In his afterword to this new edition, translator Lawrence Venuti points out that Buzzati’s original intended title, La fortezza, was rejected by the novel’s publisher Rizzoli, who expressed concerns that, with the outbreak of WW2, the title might be misunderstood by the reading public. The novel received an English translation by Stuart Hood twelve years later as The Tartar Steppe. Venuti restores Buzzati’s intended title in his new translation.
I started in on The Stronghold last night, just casually dipping into a few pages, as I try to do with all of these silly “book acquired” posts, and wound up reading the first fifty pages in one go, then picking it up again this morning. It quickly reminded me of Kafka’s The Castle and Ishiguro’s The Unconsoled—the kind of novel of endless deferrals, its alterity heightened by the concrete precision of the prose. Great stuff so far.
NYRB is also releasing an edition of Joseph Green’s translation of Buzzati’s later novel, A Love Affair. Their blurb:
Antonio Dorigi is a successful architect in Milan, nearing fifty, who has always been afraid of women. He has been a regular at an upscale brothel for years, even as he mourns the lack of close female companionship in his life.